There is nothing subtle in the direction or script (written by James Vanderbilt) when it comes to WHITE HOUSE DOWN. Big crazy action mixed with self righteous patriotism and stereotype right wing villains. Maybe the movie is actually brilliant in that regard seeing that most villains/terrorists in action movies are one dimensional foreign stereotypes. It's about time someone got it right. Good for you WHITE HOUSE DOWN, I applaud you in your courage.
Capitol policeman John Cale takes his young daughter to the White House for a tour while he interviews for a job to become part of the Secret Service. Seeing that his daughter Emily is very enthusiastic about politics John hopes that his new job will win back the respect he lost since the separation from his wife. With a resume that doesn't live up to the qualifications of a agent to the Secret Service, John doesn't get the job. In lieu of telling Emily the truth he side steps it to go on the tour and not ruin the entire day with his daughter.
President Sawyer is planning a glorious foreign policy publicity stunt by ending the war and pulling the U.S military out of the war zone. The war is over. This is awesome news for everyone except for “Republicans” that have business ties with weapons manufactures. How are these bastards going to make a living if there is no war? So the villains of WHITE HOUSE DOWN are not foreigners but are indeed some of America's distinguished gentlemen. At first I thought this was a clever take on the genre but this interesting idea never got above freshmen college politics.
In coup d'etat fashion the White House gets taken over by mercenaries and disgruntled secret service. The Die Hard formula kicks in when John gets separated from his daughter and in a stroke of luck saves President Sawyer. The rest of the movie is a cat and mouse game with lots of action and suspense. Despite being more dumb than fun I give WHITE HOUSE DOWN a solid recommendation for action film buffs. I wanna note that action movie buffs should be able to tell that the filmmakers really cut the action down to a PG-13. Bloody mayhem never gets out of control and I think foul language gets the mute button in some particular sticky situations.
While WHITE HOUSE DOWN is indeed a better Die Hard movie than this years A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, Channing Tatum has a long way to go as an action movie star. He's no Bruce Willis that's for sure. I'll give him an A for effort with one scene that was straight homage to DIE HARD. In one scene a terrorist busts in and John Cale acts all scared and cries “please don't hurt me, I'm just a tourist”! Then in a bad ass moment shoots the terrorists dead to rights. It wasn't perfect like John McClane from DIE HARD would of done it, but it was a great homage.
The chemistry between Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx is another saving grace to WHITE HOUSE DOWN. The bond that is created by John Cale and President Sawyer trying to make it out of the White House alive is genuine and one of the best cinematic duos of 2013.
I stand by my recommendation of WHITE HOUSE DOWN but in my honest opinion it is no where near as good as OYLMPUS HAS FALLEN. Check your politics at the door and go enjoy a big dumb action movie with WHITE HOUSE DOWN!