It has to be a well-known fact by now that director Roland Emmerich likes to blow shit up. There was 2012, The Day After Tomorrow and of course, Independence Day, in which aliens wipe out the home of the US president along with the rest of the world. In White House Down (following the recently released and similarly themed Olympus Has Fallen) Emmerich scales things down just a notch and only blows up part of the White House this time around.
Channing Tatum plays John Cale, a Capitol Hill police officer who wants nothing more than to work for the Secret Service. Unfortunately he hasn’t been the most noteworthy student ever, something his interviewer (Maggie Gyllenhaal) likes to point out during the job interview. Following the interview, Cale and his daughter Emily join a White House tour, which turns out to be a bad case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ when terrorists take control. Cale then finds himself impromptu promoted and has to protect the president (Jamie Foxx) while trying to rescue his daughter when she is taken hostage.
Written by James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man), White House Down is a fast-paced action flick that is entertaining even if it feels a bit too long towards the end. Tatum and Foxx pair up nicely though and add some comic relief. The supporting roles by Gyllenhaal and James Woods round out a solid cast that doesn’t get washed out by a torrent of explosions and a hail of gunfire.
Basically, this is Independence Day without the aliens. Die Hard without the Yippee-ki-yay. Olympus Has Fallen without the Koreans. You’ve seen it before but it still works.