President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) was a president who wanted to make a difference. He was brokering a Middle East peace treaty. If accepted, it would change world relations.
John Cale (Channing Tatum) is an ex-military turned Capitol Police working on Speaker of the House Raphelson’s (Richard Jenkins) detail.Since his deployment, he has been struggling to connect with his daughter, Emily (Joey King).
Cale is hoping to join the Secret Service protecting the first family. Even with his connection with Agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhall), who is set to take over as head of the Secret Service with Agent Walker (James Woods) retiring, Cale is rejected. He is able to get passes for him and Emily, who is obsessed with President Sawyer, to tour the White House.
During the tour, a group of domestic terrorists brutally take over the White House, holding the visitors, even the whole country hostage unless their demands are met. Cale’s primary concern is saving his daughter, who got separated from him prior to the attack. He finds himself trying to save the President and free all of the hostages.
White House Down could be the next chapter in the Die Hard franchise. It has a very similar feel. From the hero’s name (John Cale vs. John McClane) all the way down to the white tank top. All that’s missing is Cale running across broken glass barefoot and a catch phrase.
Channing does some of his better acting in this movie. Light years ahead of Magic Mike. His lines aren’t stunted and stiff, as he often comes across. If he keeps up with performances like this and 21 Jump Street, he could be taken seriously as an actor, moving past his Step Up and Magic Mike days.
As a contrast, Jamie Foxx struggles to come across as an action star president. His obvious parody of President Obama is a far cry from his performance in Django Unchained. It’s not that he’s bad in this movie. We’ve just seen much better from him. Going back to his comedy roots, Jamie gives the film the comic relief needed to keep the movie light and not feel like it is taking itself too seriously.
The rest of the cast, including Richard Jenkins and Joey King, who seems to never age, perform as expected. It won’t win them any awards, but nothing to complain about.
There is plenty of action in the movie, as to be expected. And it’s well done. Plenty of explosions and gunfights. Some may not be too happy that it takes place in the White House, but it’s kind of necessary to the plot of the film, given it’s title. I was a little surprised it wasn’t done in 3D. It would have paired well with the format. Regardless, it’s visually entertaining for what it is.
This isn’t a great movie, but it’s not a bad movie by any means. It’s a little predictable. (It was rather easy to figure out who was involved and who was behind everything.) But if your expectations are appropriate, again, it’s a Die Hard type movie, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.