Rapid Review: White House Down

White House Down

A familiar concept doesn’t stop this Roland Emmerich film from having a mighty good time blowing things up and chasing other things down. 

White House Down poster (Australia) Roland Emmerich is perhaps most famous for blowing up the US seat of power in a spectacular fashion in 1996’s Independence Day, a fact he references in his latest monument trashing enterprise, White House Down. This time around, Washington cop John Cale (Channing Tatum) has been assigned to protect Speaker of the House Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins), but is desperate to win the approval of his estranged daughter Emily (Joey King), a precocious young thing with an unhealthy interest in politics. After applying for a job in the Secret Service, and being flatly knocked back by former colleague Agent Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), John finds himself in the middle of a hostile coup led by Head of the Presidential Detail Martin Walker (James Woods). John suddenly has to not only protect the US President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx), but find his teenage girl and save the day.

Despite following the similarly themed Olympus Has Fallen, Emmerich’s White House Down sits firmly in the Die Hard school of action films. Even the incredibly charismatic Tatum is wearing the same white singlet top and holster combo that made Bruce Willis a star. In fact, Tatum’s presence is what lifts this above other copycat capers, sharing an easy on-screen chemistry with Foxx, who is the most badass president the screen has ever seen. While James Vanderbilt’s screenplay is rife with clichés, and plenty of things blowing up for the sheer mad fun of it all, but the amazing collection of actors gives it their all. It’s pure popcorn bliss, and definitely not to be taken seriously. The White House might be down, but our thumbs are firmly up.


White House Down is released in Australia on 5 September 2013 from Sony.