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This is the first review I've ever written ever. I don't subscribe to
movie reviews--at all. I actually enjoy movies. It seems to me that by
in large reviewers just don't like movies. Not the intelligent
reviewers anyway. They seem to be more concerned with how they look to
their readers, pretending they know something about film. Reviewers are
writers who want to be something else, filmmakers perhaps, and find it
incredibly trendy and smart to disassemble and deconstruct the hard
work of others; and to hate entertainment. They all seem to have this
idea that they know better and I have little time for their self
righteous, self important, pretentious bullshit thinly disguised as
some sort of public service. Heads up: it does no one a service to be
condescending or insulting.
With that said I will now step off of MY self righteous soap box and say that White House Down is a damned good time time with excellent shots of DC (making it look like an attractive, interesting place to be as opposed to the hot and smelly dumpster it actually is...seriously, the place smells like a dumpster), in your face action, fine performances-- Jamie Foxx is pretty cool as the leader of the free world--a bad guy who you just can't wait to watch die (there are several bad guys in this movie, so I'm not counting that as a spoiler), and pretty awesome hero in John Kale.
Now the movie gets a little long which is only an issue if you're a smoker like me, by the middle of the third act I was craving pretty hard, and there's some dumb lines of dialogue during one of the action sequences that didn't seem to fit the characters, but whatever.
White House Down is a fun and intense action movie that I would gladly see again. 8 out of 10!
Now, this seemed like the perfect summer blockbuster. Two huge stars, an expensive budget and a director with a knack for action. What could go wrong? By the end of it, instead of what could go wrong, you'll be asking yourself what went right. The answer....barely anything. White House Down is not only dumb, it is downright idiotic. The plot is preposterous, the action sequences sub par and the acting is atrocious. Channing Tatum does his best Bruce Willis impression while Jamie Foxx turns in the worst performance of his career. The supporting cast lead by Maggie Gyllenhaal saves the terrible leads and are the sole reason I am not giving this a 1. Overall, this film is loud, long and boring, so much so, I can't imagine any adult with a functioning brain to enjoy this. I highly recommend to stay away from this stinker. If you want a great action film featuring the destruction of the White House, tune into Olympus Has Fallen.
It is inevitable that White House Down be compared to Olympus Has
Fallen. Unfortunately, it compares poorly from the title on down.
The special effects lack the realism of OHF.
The action sequences are disjointed and downright goofy at times.
The bad guys are cartoonish and you get no sense of satisfaction when they are put down.
The plot is too complicated by half and really is not relevant to the action.
The movie ends with a whimper and a SNL quality perp walk of the character who is ultimately responsible for all the carnage.
But the worst thing is the crude, amateurish and transparent Left vs. Right political message in which it drapes all the other sub par elements. It is a Progressive's wet dream that really couldn't be any more wacko if you gathered 100 of Huffington Posts's top Super Users in a room festooned pictures of Dick Cheney and GWB, fed them mushrooms, and asked them to come up with the motivation for the bad guys.
But Good Guys shooting bad guys is always good and so are explosions. If you ignore the channeling of Nancy Pelosi, then you might get your money's worth at a matinée showing.
White House Down offers very little that's new or interesting. It's a
convoluted mess that's caught in no man's land. It takes itself far too
seriously yet offers ridiculous action (ridiculous as in dumb, not as
in wild or fun) and even more ridiculous characters. It wants to be
taken seriously but functions in bizarre surroundings with a foolish
plot. A calamity of underdeveloped ideas, half the film is flat out
brain damaged and the other half is pure schlock. Do yourself a favor
and avoid this dumb and actually boring farce.
This movie simply can't stand on its own as a film. Does often joyless, dark and dumb appeal to even the popcorn crowds? The rest of us want way more in our summer movies.
I will start with the pros. This movie is packed with excitement,
action, and CGI effects - almost start to finish. Now the cons: a
blatant ripoff of both Die Hard and Olympus Has Fallen (which was a
blatant ripoff of Die Hard); the most implausible story EVER; the
absolute worst acting EVER with Jamie Foxx taking the lead. This movie
should be reason enough to finally burn that guy's SAG card once and
for all. And Channing Tatum, whom I normally like, was a close second.
In fact, the only actor to give a good performance was the little girl
who played Tatum's daughter.
Believe the reviews you read here. They are not exaggerations. If you must watch this, wait for Redbox!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Forever etching his name on the 'blacklist' of the highest office in
Washington, Roland Emmerich is back at destroying the official
residence of the President of the United States. Alas, Emmerich has
been beaten at his own game, his White House under siege premise coming
less than six months after the similarly-themed 'Olympus Has Fallen'.
Besides cast and character, both are essentially variations of the same
movie - or to sum it up succinctly, 'Die Hard' on 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue. And having lost the novelty factor to 'Olympus', what matters
is only whether it is in fact a better movie than its predecessor, to
which our answer is unfortunately a resounding no.
Yes, despite a bigger budget and perhaps more bankable lead stars (Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx are still surer box-office bets than Gerard Butler going by their respective track records), 'White House Down' is a disappointing letdown. To be fair, that ain't the fault of Tatum and Foxx, both of whom are the saving graces of an otherwise embarrassing exercise in hokum; instead, Emmerich and his screenwriter James Vanderbilt are squarely to blame here, the latter for throwing any semblance of logic out the window and the former for trying too hard to emulate Michael Bay.
Whereas 'Olympus' had the real-life threat of the North Koreans to lend some authenticity, Vanderbilt engenders none with his far-fetched premise of the President's Head of Secret Service, Walker (James Woods), recruiting a hodgepodge bunch of right-wing ex-military fundamentalists to kidnap the President and exploit his nuclear arsenal so as to wipe out America's enemies in the Middle East (here's looking at you, Teheran) off the map. The trigger for that? A G8 speech where current President, James Sawyer (Foxx), essentially tells the world that the U.S. will be pursuing peace diplomacy by taking the first step to lay down its weapons.
Despite a backstory that tries to explain Walker's motivations, there is little coherence to just how the Head of the President's Secret Service detail would be so compelled to attempt such an act of treason, let alone assemble a ragtag team of militarists with past criminal records and sneak them into the White House to aid his 'noble' cause. Ditto for the likelihood that a hacker, however brilliant he might be, could simply run a programme to crack the NSA's firewalls without even so much as alerting anyone else in the process - and may we add thereby precipitating a thoroughly laughable chain of swearing-ins that goes from the Vice-President to the Speaker of Parliament Raphelson (Richard Jenkins). If you thought 'Olympus' was just implausible, then 'White House Down' pretty much operates on its own system of reasoning.
Further turning the proceedings to farce is the buddy team of aspiring Secret Service agent John Cale (Tatum) and President Sawyer. A classic case of the right guy in the wrong place at the wrong time, Cale finds himself rising to the call of duty when the terrorists launch their attack just as he and his daughter Emily (Joey King) are on tour in the White House. But instead of repeating the formula of one man saving the day (or the President for that matter), Vanderbilt introduces a twist to the dynamics between Cale and Sawyer by turning them into partners - though how much it really does veer from the earlier cliché is questionable.
Nonetheless, Tatum and Foxx make a pleasantly amusing pair and are - truth be told - the best things that the movie has going for it. But the immediate trade-off of injecting comedy into a premise that intuitively demands a certain degree of solemnity is that you cannot quite take anything else that happens in it seriously afterwards. Nowhere is this more evident than in an utterly ludicrous sequence where Cale and Sawyer are in the President's limousine driving round and round the fountain in the middle of the White House lawn while being chased by the bad guys, the sheer stupidity of it matched by the fact that Sawyer is in the meantime figuring out how to assemble a mini rocket launcher in the back seat.
Whereas 'Olympus' kept its pacing taut by emphasising the gravity of the threat facing the nation, there is nary a frisson of tension even as Walker comes dangerously close to acquiring the President's nuclear commandership. Simply put, the self-aware humour that is the only reason why the movie remains watchable sits at odds with the self-serious tone in the last third of the film, and no number of fighter planes nor surface-to-air missiles can regain the credibility of its premise.
It doesn't help that the action, which consists largely of close combat fights, is surprisingly lacklustre, choreographed with neither finesse nor technique to distinguish one from the other. Wherever Emmerich gets the opportunity in the screenplay to stage the action against a wider canvas, he squanders that chance to make it count, the surfeit of CGI and excess making for a toxic combination that renders what is shown little more than an afterthought. Indeed, a similar sequence as that in 'Olympus' where the Special Forces attempt to land on the roof of the White House from helicopters unfolds with so little excitement that it might as well have been cut out altogether.
Therein lies perhaps the biggest problem with 'White House Down' - even as a summer popcorn flick, it just isn't thrilling enough. Emmerich tries to keep every frame busy - hence the countless number of times Tatum leaps over couches or slides over tables - but the action is just loud, dumb and plain boring. Only the humour between Tatum and Foxx manages to be entertaining, though it's hard not to regard the movie as farce afterwards. Call us biased, but we like our White House under siege thrillers to be hard-hitting, intense and gripping, none of which can be used to describe 'White House Down'.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am struggling to find a single thing about this film that was even
average. Jamie Fox handed in a performance appearing to have put in
about as much preparation as one would expect for a SNL hosting gig.
Channing Tatum, as another reviewer mentioned, did his best Bruce
Willis imitation but nothing could save this dreadful script.
**Spoilers Below** The pocket watch was almost as predictable as it was
with the bubble-gum filled cigarette case in "Johnny Dangerously".
In addition to all of the above, I could have done without the ridiculously left-wing nature of the film... There were so many that it was hard to keep track but here were some: Left Wing President, who wanting nothing more than peace in the middle east, essentially declares it so. His peace policy blocked only by the right-wingers and the evil military industrial complex, the only way that the evil conservatives can stop his plans is to get the right wing speaker of the house to enlist a secret service agent (whose son died in a botched military operation), a burned off-book spy , and a "right wing" neo- nazi. Their master plan: To assassinate the President and Vice President and make the world think it was done by Islamist Terrorists..
If you are able to look past the obvious political nonsense in the film... your still left with a heaping pile of crap. A much better version of this "genre" is "Olympus has Fallen"...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The screen writers for this movie could not have bothered to use any
advice from the U.S. Military. In one scene, an Abrams main battle tank
is being used to breach the guard fence around the Whitehouse to allow
our heroes to escape. The bad guys fire a RPG-7 anti-tank round at the
front of the Abrams, where the thickest armor is located. The RPG-7
round blows up the Abrams. Really! During the invasion and taking down
of Iraq in 2003 by U.S. forces led by General Tommy Franks, one Abrams
got involved in a protracted firefight inside an Iraqi city with Iraqi
soldiers. The Abrams took 33 hits from RPG-7s. All external weapons and
equipment were blown off the hull. But the hull was never penetrated
and the main gun was never damaged. The Abrams and her crew kept
fighting until relieved. One hit from a RPG-7 will not hurt an Abrams
in any way, shape, or form.
The bad guys decide to kill Air Force One while it is in flight somewhere over the U.S. The bad guys over-ride ICBM launch command and fire an ICBM at Air Force One. Of course, the ICBM connects with Air Force One and destroys it. There's just one catch. There is no way in this universe that an ICBM can be used to shoot down an aircraft. It cannot be done, period.
Then we have Jamie Fox's President character with a political agenda that mirrors the political agenda of Barrack Obama. We all know that Jamie Fox is a 110% supporter of Barrack Obama. But that support does not belong in an entertainment movie. It is nothing but pure political campaigning.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Been working a lot of hours lately and called the Mrs. to say let's go
see a movie. She brought this title up and I said sure, let's go. In
the interest of full disclosure, I am not normally a guy who likes
mindless action movies (Die Hard 1 was good, 2-10 not so much), but it
had Foxx and Gyllenhaal in it, so it can't possibly be as bad as, say,
Independence Day. But, without research, I didn't realize the movies
came from the SAME GUY.
But ultimately I was right, ID was a 1 star and WHD is a 2.
Character and plot development? They didn't have time, they had 2 million rounds of various calibers to expend so it was laid out in the fastest most cliché manner possible.
I am a left leaning person but the "bad guys'" and their "motivations" were about a subtle as an anvil dropped on Wiley Coyote. And the bad guys were a grab bag of the worst nightmares of a liberal. It seemed like a Batman movie where the Joker, Riddler and Penguin all got together to fight the caped crusader Tatum. Really? The only saving grace was the $100 mil of CGI of the WH being blown up which offered momentary respite from the, gulp, dialogue.
My brain feels insulted and I feel sorry that Jamie and Maggie were so desperate for a payday, they appeared in this. It got so bad, I excused myself for the last 10 minutes to go to the bathroom because she bought large drinks. Thank God.
Next time, I pick the movie.
I'll never fully understand why people flock to films like "Iron Man
I-III" and then completely ignore a fun action film like "White House
Down". After reading so many bad reviews, I started watching Emmerich's
newest noise-opera only because I wanted to get tired enough to go to
bed. I had planned to watch the first 5 minutes and to then fast
forward through the rest of the film and have a quick look at the
expensive special effects. Never did I expect to actually enjoy myself
- and yet I did. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I couldn't stop
watching for the entire 2 hours, and I didn't even get up to go to the
bathroom. Right from the start I realized that this movie doesn't take
itself too seriously and that this is Emmerich having fun (destroying
the White House - if you count freezing it - for the fourth time). But
despite all the silliness and the tongue-in-cheek moments, this is a
suspenseful ride which never lets up and kept me hooked the entire
time. There are quite a few unexpected twists and turns along the way,
and the wonderful supporting cast (James Woods, Richard Jenkins and
Jason Clarke, to name a few) keep even the most clichéd characters fun
and interesting. So my verdict: Great, silly, cheesy action film!
Suspend your disbelief and you will have one hell of a good time. I
rate it 7 out of 10.
Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/
Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/
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