White House Down

Film, Action and adventure
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(11user reviews)
White House Down
White House Down

It’s been a lamentable summer at the multiplex: inferior sequels, unwanted remakes and lazy adaptations have been the order of the day. So thank the movie gods for Roland ‘Independence Day’ Emmerich, one of the last Hollywood filmmakers who still knows what the people want, and how to give it to them. ‘White House Down’ doesn’t have the slightest interest in reinventing the action genre. But if all you’re after is a pair of mismatched heroes wisecracking their way through a series of explosive, well-mounted set pieces, look no further. Channing Tatum plays John Cale (not that one, music geeks), a wannabe Secret Service agent whose job interview goes spectacularly off the rails when terrorists attack the White House and take the president (Jamie Foxx) hostage. The outcome may be pre-ordained, but Emmerich’s knack for a witty pop-culture reference, a pulse-pounding gun battle or a sneaky political undercurrent (the film has drawn fire in the US for being leftie propaganda) hasn’t deserted him. The result is one of the few genuinely satisfying Friday night flicks of 2013.


Release details

Release date:
Friday September 13 2013
131 mins

Cast and crew

Roland Emmerich
Channing Tatum
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Jamie Foxx

Average User Rating

2.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:5
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Boring paint by numbers action film where disappointing Dad takes his smart-ass kid to the White House only for it to be attacked. Luckily, he happens to be a security guard so takes it upon himself to rescue the President because it seems his security and entire team are so bad at their jobs. The ease of the breach makes no sense and this movie offers little in terms of high action thrills. A car chase in the presidential grounds is the best bit of the film but that's only about 6 minutes long. Do something better with your time instead.

I could complain about the casting of this movie but it's obvious that whoever wrote this abomination never intended for Daniel Day Lewis to play President Sawyer. They needed someone who could run around the Whitehouse in a pair of Air Jordan's. It;s tough to believe Foxx won an Oscar having watched this, yet I said the same when I watched Stealth. Channing Tatum is equally terrible. This is the sort of movie you wish you could unwatch and then reinvest that time into a conversation with your local window salesman.

We really enjoyed this Bruce Willis style shoot 'em up. Good performances all round and the least hammy performance I've ever seen from James Woods

We really enjoyed this Bruce Willis style shoot 'em up. Good performances all round and the least hammy performance I've ever seen from James Woods

It's one thing for an action film to be funny, irreverent, or pushing the limits of our credulity. It's another for it to be so beyond the pale of possibility that everything the characters do is meaningless. White House Down is one of the latter types. Oddly this film came about the same time as Olympus Has Fallen, another film that shows the White House under attack. But Olympus Has Fallen had the villains executing a well thought out plot that, though stretching the limits of credulity, didn't completely require that we retire our mental faculties altogether. The most amazing part of White House down for me was the complete lack of concern that most of the characters seem to show at the events taking place around them. "The President's being shot at on the White House Lawn!" ..."Fuck it." seems to be how most of the characters respond. Meanwhile the process of US constitutional law is completely ignored or mangled beyond recognition, the US army, the Secret Service, FBI and even the President seem to have absolutely no idea how to respond to any kind of crisis. If it's this easy for terrorists to take over the White House, one has to say the US needs a major security review. Ultimately, films like White House Down need to be grounded to some degree in reality in order to remain fun. In dumbed down films of this sort, one is willing to accept Channing Tatum dodging bullets like a ballerina and killing 75 mercenaries with a knife and two spoons, but the idea that the Police wouldn't even be present and cordon off the scene seems a bit beyond belief. Either this is a brilliant diatribe against official incompetence, or it represents the laziest kind of film-making out there. Even the action sequences are futile and unnecessary while Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum have a great chemistry that completely ignores the respective positions and personalities of the two characters. Foxx's president seems to have been elected via Youtube and his character is badly writrten and even a bit insulting to black people in its use of racial stereotypes (Foxx get's really angry when someone tries to step on his Air Jordan's e.g.). Channing Tatum character is boring in the extreme and has remarkably little to say. The supporting cast is also poorly written into the script, delivering static one liners that do nothing more than act as plot devices to set up the next mindless action our heroes undertake. Hackneyed, dimwitted, poorly shot and choreographed, the entire exercise is a picture of what's wrong with Hollywood. Even the ending, while nefarious, is largely expected, thanks to a series of shots that make certain people look deliberately shifty. On a note, the cinematography was very standard and the filters largely annoying and repetitive as they're used to show the hero surrounded by a golden halo. Ironically, if one had combined Olympus has Fallen with White House down, one might have had a decent movie. Sadly neither really delivers and so instead of one decent summer blockbuster about the White House going down we have two, one of which is mediocre while the other is complete bilge.

Probably the most ridiculous plot and dialogue you'll ever hear with the depth of a kiddies paddling pool but ignore all of this and just have fun with some brilliant action sequences. Foxx, Tatum and James Woods must have had trouble keeping straight faces making this but I gave it 4 stars for being a whole lot of fun.

You need to accept this film for what it is to enjoy it. If you accept it as a clichéd rehash of the original Die Hard and keep your tongue firmly in your cheek then you will probably enjoy this. It's aimed at the male 13 to 30 age group and there were plenty of them at the viewing I have just been to watch the film at. I found it mildly amusing and diverting they seemed to like it quite a lot. A reasonable 3 star film from my view.

I would like to know why the other day you had a review of this film giving it one star and saying it was abysmal and today,as it nears release,you have a three star review praising it!! Did someone say "studio pressure/interference"?