Rob’s Review: White House Down

White House Down on
Letter Grade:

The Good:

Emmerich delivers great action
Tatum good in the action star role
Teaming of Tatum and Foxx results in a much steadier pace than Olympus Has Fallen
Joey King is great as Tatum's daughter

The Bad:

CGI is overused and noticeable
I'm not sure they understand how the 25th Amendment works...

Cast & Crew:

Writer: James Vanderbilt
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, Joey King, James Woods

Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.

White House Down on

Photo Courtesy Columbia Pictures

If you see only one “the White house is taken over by terrorists and one bodyguard must single-handedly rescue a child and the President” movie this year, make it White House Down. I find that after seeing White House Down I’ve gone back in my head and retroactively downgraded Olympus Has Fallen.  I think White House Down has a more believable scenario for the White House being attacked, and the way White House Down structured the action led to a much more interesting movie.

 is with the Capitol Police and guards the Speaker of the House() and is at the White House interviewing for a position with the White House’s Secret Service detail (which is lead by  and ). Tatum doesn’t get the job, but his daughter (), who idolizes the President(), is with him, so afterwards they go on the White House tour. While on the tour the White House is invaded by terrorists and the regular guards are taken out, leaving Tatum alone to get his daughter out and also rescue the President.

White House Down on

Photo Courtesy Columbia Pictures

Director  (ID4,Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow,2012) knows a thing or two about making action movies and he puts that experience to good use. The pacing is good the action is top notch. Where Olympus Has Fallen had the lead on his own most of the time and the President locked in a bunker being tortured, White House Down pairs Tatum and Foxx for most of the movie and this makes a big difference. It allows for a lot more back-and-forth and keeps things moving a lot better. More time is spent on action and less on just torturing captives.

I’m not sure I’m ready for Channing Tatum to be playing a character with an 11-year-old child, but Joey King was excellent as Tatum’s daughter. I got kind of a “Natalie Portman in The Professional” vibe from her. Aside from her, there’s about as much acting going on as you’d expect from an action movie.  did have a nice role though as the White House tour guide who’s primarily concerned with all the historic artifacts being destroyed. That character provided a really nice bit of comedic relief.

White House Down on

Photo Courtesy Columbia Pictures

On the down side, the CGI is very noticeable at times, which is generally a good sign that it’s being overused. As a result the movie goes off kilter a bit in the middle when the Blackhawk helicopters are flying through the city streets en route to the White House. It’s really not the traditional CGI things that are the issue though. The planes and choppers and explosions are generally fine, it’s the general DC cityscape that suffers. DC is a very real place, and we’ve all seen it on TV a lot, so it’s extra noticeable when the DC of White House Down seems just a bit off, being stitched together with CGI…  Also, I’m not entirely sure anybody involved in production really understands how the 25th Amendment works. There’s a lot more “if you don’t get him out in the next 5 minutes he might not even be president anymore!” talk than is really warranted by how things actually work in real life.

Those are really my only two issues with the movie though. Tatum is in full-on action star mode and this is a really fun popcorn movie. It’s not going to make you think, but it’s a great ride while it lasts.

Rob Bernard (108 Posts)

Rob is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Techie of Cinedraft. He hated Million Dollar Baby. And is really excited about the Ender’s Game movie. More About Me