Random Movie Reviews: White House Down

When this came on my movie channel, my first thought was no, I’m not reviewing this again, but then I realized, holy shit, I’ve never reviewed this! How is that possible?! (My first thought was actually, YAY!)

Fixing that now.

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:sings: Love this movieeeeee!

General

Dan O’Brein, Senior Editor of Cracked.com, summed it up nicely by saying this is a better Die Hard than the last two Die Hards. It’s true.

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I also find him almost unbearably adorable.

Now, maybe that means nothing to you. Maybe you’re not a fan of Dying Hard. Maybe you even – gasp! – HATE Die Hards (how could you?!), but I like them. And if you like them, you’ll probably respond to this film. If you know nothing about Die Hard … then this doesn’t matter. But it still makes a lot of sense.

Plot

Action/Comedy. This is important to remember. There’s lots of little jokes, even during the heavy action. (Roland Emmerich movie, remember.)

John Kale, works with the Capitol Police, specifically guarding the Speaker of the House. He wrangles an interview with the Secret Service, and takes his 11-year-old daughter (who hates him a bit, since he’s not especially attentive, and occasionally spotty with picking her up during his days) with him to the interview. She’s mad-crazy for politics, specifically anything involving the President. Kale shows up, finding out that an old friend(ish), Carol is the Secret Service officer interviewing him, and she has no real love of him. Interview over, Kale and Emily, the daughter, take a tour of the White House.

The President has recently moved to sign a peace treaty with the new president of Iran. Not everyone is happy with this.

Domestic terrorists some of those not happy. They take over the White House while Kale and Emily are on site. Emily and her father are separated during the initial take over. Kale goes to look for her, and ends up being the lone man fighting on the inside to take down the terrorists, protect his daughter, and save the President of the United States of America.

Acting

It’s not exactly a high concept kinda film. There are a lot of cute quips, well delivered. Channing Tatum plays Kale and does a fabulous job, really. This really flipped my opinion of him. Odd, I know, that I’d pick a huge action flick to decide I like an actor, but he’s that good. His relationship with Emily is well played. My first reaction is he’s feels a little young for the daughter, but that’s the point. He’s not 100% comfortable being a dad, but there’s also a good feeling that he wants to be.

Emily, played by Joey King, is very, very good for a child actor. She’s smart and mouthy and brave as hell, and I love it. Don’t think I’m joking about this. She is possibly the most empowered young woman I’ve seen in a film in years, no shit. She’s 11, but she handles herself well. Not that she isn’t scared, or doesn’t accept help, but that she powers on despite these things and does all she can to help her father and the President.

She’s pretty much my hero. I thought I was pretty bad ass at age 11 (though a little depressed, since I was really sure I’d be chosen as an Old One, from Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising books. Yes, I KNOW Will was supposedly the last, but time is really fluid in those books, and I came up with a way that I could be NEXT-TO-LAST, chosen before Will, even though Will himself was chosen in the 70s. Don’t think too much about this, it made a lot of sense to me.), I wasn’t anything close to that bad ass. I was having my first fainting spells/drop attacks. Not much bad ass about that. She’s awesome.

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I want to be her when I grow up.

Jamie Foxx plays the President. This is the heaviest competition against The Amazing Spider-Man 2 being his best movie. Honestly, he is awkward in the glasses. What works for him as the awkward nerd in ASM2 doesn’t work as well in a man that must be confident enough to fight for the role of President. He also softens his voice in an odd way. Usually it’s fine, but there are several points when the accent or tonal change is just so obviously affected it makes me roll my eyes.

Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Carol, the Secret Service deputy director, who knew Kale as a younger man. She…says “I promise” and “trust me” and then turns out wrong way too often.

Everyone else varies from scary to annoying to funny to unbelievable.

Visuals

Good. Not Godzilla (2014) quality stuff, but most of the action is gunfire and hand-to-hand with a few bombs and missiles thrown in for flavor, and they work it well.

Interesting to Note

They really hit you over the head with the political stuff. I mean, they aren’t subtle at all.

Despite the above, there’s some really interesting Presidential laws going on. Specifically with the 25th Amendment. It’s not as poignant as the same discussion made in The West Wing, but it is still extremely interesting.

There is a fountain pen in this movie.

Making it an action-comedy is what makes it better than Olympus is Fallen.

All-in-All

I’ve seen this movie well over a dozen times. My favorite movie is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and has been for YEARS. I feel almost guilty to compare the two, because White House Down is a much shallower, more pedestrian film, but I can’t help myself. I love it so much. It’s so STUPID at parts (the hacking scene? Come on), but one can’t stop love.

(…I don’t think that’s true.)

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