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White House Down Review: The New Good-Bad Action Movie Classic

White_House_DownWhite House Down is awesome. It is everything I had wanted and more. It’s Die Hard in the White House with Channing Tatum directed by Roland Emmerich. If that sounds formulaic, you’re right. But it is done with so much joy who cares? White House Down is an instant classic good-bad movie.

I would put White House Down in the same category as Con Air and The Rock. Big, awesome, cheesy action movies that I would watch a million times. Channing Tatum is a cop with a military background and a lack of respect for authority. Jamie Foxx is dignified, peace-creating president with glasses. Of course, as the White House gets more Down, so too does President James Sawyer.

That’s where you get Foxx kicking a man in the face telling him to let go of his Jordans. And many more light comedic moments. Most of which land. There are no intentionally hilarious moments, but there are plenty of “heh” moments. Does it feel like there could be a joke here? There’s a joke here. The best jokes come from the serious lines. My personal favorite? “Your first act as President is to blow up the White House.”

The guy sitting next to me certainly seemed to enjoy it as he took off his shoes and spent the film eating the longest Slim Jims I have ever seen. Between that and the Grown Ups 2 ad that caused the screening audience to go into convulsions, this was my Hell. But this was also White House Down’s audience – ‘Merica.

People spent the movie hooting and hollering and at the end stood up and applauded as if C-Tates himself was there with his shirt off. And I didn’t agree with them. Roland Emmerich does disaster movies and explosions and humor like Michael Bay probably will once he finishes puberty. This is at least the 4th time Emmerich has destroyed the White House in his movies. It is the first time he has done so from within.

I would say he can retire from blowing up the White House because in White House Down, he perfected it. He did it 9 different ways. He did everything 9 different ways. There is an armored car chase on the White House lawn. Everything explodes. And then everything explodes again.

Writing the script of White House Down must have been a delight.

“What about this?”

“Yeah! That’s great! Throw that in there!”

“What about when this thing happened in The Rock. Remember that?”

“Hell yes I do. Throw it in!”

There’s even a Scooby Doo “I would have gotten away with it too” moment at the end. Oh, the end. The ending after all the action is over is so awkward and stupid. It’s like they added it so that you would remember you weren’t watching a good-bad movie and not just a good movie. In the end though, this is about C-Tates doing his best Bruce Willis impersonation. And its a pretty enjoyable one.

But know that White House Down features an all-star cast. Jason Clarke (the badass torture interrogator guy from Zero Dark Thirty), Richard Jenkins (We’ll go with the dad from Step Brothers), James Woods (Jimmy Woods from Entourage), Jimmi Simpson (Liam McPoyle), Lance Reddick (Lt. Daniels) and Kevin Rankin (Devil from Justified).

Maggie Gyllenhaal reprises her role from The Dark Knight as Captain Obvious Howdyougetthisjobinthefirstplace. If you have a part in a movie for someone who can put together a 2-piece puzzle, Maggie Gyllenhaal is your woman. Plus a wise-cracking tour guide and C-Tates’ super intelligent daughter who ends up being a hero.

Sorry, was that a spoiler? False. White House Down has every action movie cliche you can imagine. You can’t ruin White House Down with future knowledge about White House Down. That’s why it will be forever rewatchable on cable in 2-3 years.

 

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