Channing Tatum, I didn’t like you at first, but you’ve action adventured your way into my heart. Channing Tatum IS the Secret Service. White House Down is essentially one big titular mention. President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is overseeing a turbulent world, much like the real life world we live in. Cale (Tatum) is trying to salvage a relationship with his daughter, Emily (Joey King), after being gone for much of her young life while being deployed in Afghanistan. The politics-obsessed little girl is thrilled when Dad has a job interview with the Secret Service and she gets to tag along.
Head of Secret Service, Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal, AKA sad turtle), conducts Cale’s interview and – having been an acquaintance of his before all of this – decides that he doesn’t quite have what it takes. On his way out of the White House with Emily, the two are invited to join a tour. Everything is as it should be until a bomb detonates in the center of the Capital Building. A remarkably simple takeover transpires and the body count climbs to about a million within a matter of minutes.
When the President’s entire security detail is rubbed out, it’s up to Cale to keep his daughter’s hero safe.
There were a lot of things I liked about this movie, and a few I didn’t. I liked that the guys who take over the White House all look like they just crawled out of the backwoods. Kinda greasy, maybe inbred. Ruthless killers, the lot of ’em. Getting the President to safety is paramount, and then shit hits the fan. Trigger-happy Stenz (Jason Clarke) – leads the posse in clearing out the house and obtaining the President – alive.
How many presidents will the free world see in one day? Like, three.
Cale gets to the President before the roughians. They hide in an elevator shaft for roughly six hours and Cale kicks some rube ass in between while Mr. President gets his Jordans from his presidential closet. Which brings me to the major problem I had with this movie. The scenarios were horrific. Explosions reminiscent of 9/11 are popping up one after another, the White House is littered with casualties, a little girl is being held at gunpoint, and then they make a joke about JFK sneaking Marilyn Monroe into underground tunnels. I found myself wondering if it was OK to laugh or not.
Independence day had the same type of dynamic, but the jokes were really funny, and easily set apart from all the death. And dying. And dead people. Jamie Foxx is trying way too hard to get laughs and, well, just isn’t that good. I’m not even sure if I like Jamie Foxx. I know he was Django, but I just think he tries too hard to do too much and it comes off janky. Tatum saves this movie from being a flop. I would go see WHD again just to see his awesome skills and bulging biceps. And those eyes. And lips. The whole face setup is pretty good.
Anyway, it’s not quite Independence Day, but it’s better than, say, Pacific Rim. Maybe if they recast the President as Denzel or Morgan Freeman and remake the movie… just a suggestion.