‘White House Down’: Look, it’s ‘Fallen’ again
A movie review of “White House Down,” which feels like a rerun of “Olympus Has Fallen.” This time it’s Channing Tatum riding to the rescue of the embattled president played by Jamie Foxx.
Special to The Seattle Times
‘White House Down,’ with Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Jason Clarke, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joey King. Directed by Roland Emmerich, from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt. 137 minutes. Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image. Several theaters.
Sa-a-a-y, didn’t we just see this movie? The White House seized by heavily armed terrorists? Oodles of gunfire? Lots of explosions? Mass casualties? A lone outsider riding to the rescue of the captive president, guns blazing?
It’s déjà-kablooey all over again in “White House Down.”
Herewith, a handy guide on how to tell this movie apart from “Olympus Has Fallen,” which was released this past March.
The terrorists. “Olympus”: North Korean meanies. “White House”: a grab bag of disaffected domestic nasties including white supremacists, an embittered Special Forces guy and a tech-savvy NSA geek — talk about your ripped-from-the-headlines relevance!
The president. “Olympus”: a charisma-impaired punching bag played by Aaron Eckhart, who is biff-zocked to a fare-thee-well by the baddies. “White House”: the way-charismatic Jamie Foxx, who proves himself a handy hand with a submachine gun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher — take that, you rascals!
The savior. “Olympus”: the ruggedly handsome Gerard Butler, playing a deskbound Secret Service agent suddenly back in the fray. “White House”: the smoothly handsome Channing Tatum, playing a Secret Service agent wannabe deemed not to have the Right Stuff until all hell breaks loose.
The kid. “Olympus”: the president’s precocious young son. “White House”: the hero’s precocious young daughter. Both are hunted by the snarling terrorists to serve as hostages/bargaining chips.
The ancillary damage. “Olympus”: sorry about that, Washington Monument. “White House”: adios, Capitol Dome.
The bullets: Every round fired by the bad guys in both movies kills a good guy while the good guys can’t ever seem to find their targets. Except for the hero. Who in each case dodges thousands of rounds while dropping bad guys by the bushel.
Roland Emmerich, the director of “White House,” has destroyed the place twice already, first by alien zap ray in “Independence Day” and then by tidal wave in “2012,” so maybe that, and the fact that this picture is following so soon in the wake of Antoine Fuqua’s “Olympus,” has something to do with why this movie feels so perfunctory. His slam-bang succession of dire situations — Don’t kill that child! Don’t launch those nukes! — is so relentless it becomes tedious.
This rerun quickly runs out of steam.
Soren Andersen: firstname.lastname@example.org