Friday, July 19, 2013

White House Down Review

Wait... didn't this same movie come out already this year?

Well the movie is called White House Down...what more can you say really? With a title like that and following the premise of terrorists taking over the White House, you go into the theater already knowing you've handed over good cash for a stupid movie. The real question now is is it the kind of stupid movie you can enjoy? The easy answer? Yup!
extend this trailer for 2 hours and you've got the whole movie

So our real hero here is not the President, nope, we get Channing Tatum as Cale, a recently returned home war hero who is trying to impress his estranged politically fascinated daughter Emily - played by Joey King by applying for protection detail for President Obama-er I mean Sawyer, President Saw-yer(not Obama) played with dorky wonderfulness by Jamie Foxx. After a disastrous interview with his would be superior played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, right wing terrorists take the White House separating Cale from his daughter. Pretty much at this point, basically take the first 30 pages of the Die Hard screenplay, add some 21st century political messages and themes and you basically have the same movie only hysterically worse in all the best ways. They climb elevator shafts, dumb waiter shafts, there is a tech guy, there is the mastermind who can't control the minion that wants revenge since his friend died at the hands of our hero. Also there is a car chase on the White House lawn with machine guns and rocket launchers!

Directed by Roland Emmerich, the man responsible for such classics as 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla and Independence Day brings us this 2 hour farce. This is classic Emmerich in every way, trite paper-thin characters, uber patriotic imagery, with ridiculous action sequences pulled off with cheesy CGI effects. All of his best and worst tools are on display here in spades. If this is his lead up to Independence Day 2 then color me excited! This movie was so bad in all the right ways you can't help but get into it. It helps when the cast and crew are in on the joke. Everything is spelled out fairly quickly so if you're paying attention then you won't have any trouble staying about 20 minutes ahead of this thing. Which leads me to another point...

The politics of the movie, after someone told me of the plot - before today I hadn't seen a single trailer, just heard about it - it would be easy for people to take the plot measures of political extremists backed by evil corporations taking over the White House a little too seriously. Truly though, this movie is so low brow and inconsequential that to think this thing actually has any kind of real message is giving it far, far too much credit beyond what it is - entertainment. Sure it would be simple to make the bad guys Russians, Arabs, or Asians - but honestly I think that would have actually required the filmmakers to you know, do some work! The bad guys are paper thin cutouts and really shouldn't be looked into too deeply. If you leave this movie angry at its brand of "politics" then to be quite frank - you've got your political watch wound way to tight to keep accurate time. This movie is Dumb. Fun, but DUMB. Plain and simple.

You know where this movie is going even before a foreshadow or a plot point is presented. It's good dumb summer fun. It's loud, has tons of action with super cheesy effects and its never a dull moment. The cast is top notch, playing their roles with gusto. Tatum is doing a fine job grooming himself for future action roles, I do hope for his sake he lands something a little more genuinely serious and good. Foxx is fun playing a nerdy president, and it was quite a hoot seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal in this one since her brother was the star of The Day After Tomorrow! All in all this wasn't a half bad way to spend an afternoon. When this goofball gets rolling it's hard not to just put your feet up, tilt your head back and enjoy the ride.

In the End: 5/10 It is One Hundred Percent S T U P I D in all the best ways!
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