Special Agent Todd Keeps Making Those Sounds, I’m Gonna Start Looking at Him.
I decided that I needed something to watch, and my response to that whimsy is ever to check with my old friend RedBox. The movie I was most excited about is one we’ll get to later, but I also saw today’s movie and decided it needed to be done as well. Some people might argue that I’ve already reviewed this movie when I reviewed a movie called Olympus Has Fallen. Many have argued that this is the exact same movie. And I’m always excited by the proposition of reusing old reviews. It makes my life so much easier. Well we’ll find out if that’s a possibility as I review White House Down, written by James Vanderbilt, directed by Roland Emmerich, and starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Joey King, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Jimmi Simpson, Michael Murphy, Nicolas Wright, and Rachelle Lefevre.
John Cale (Channing Tatum) tries to repair his damaged relationship with his daughter Emily (Joey King) by getting the job that she would think is the coolest job in the world: Secret Service to the President of the United States, James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). He interviews with a former college acquaintance who heads the Secret Service, Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and even gets a pass for Emily to come with him into the White House, but Carol decides that he’s unqualified for the job because of his tendency to show a lack of respect for authority and lack of follow-through as mentioned in his military record. While on the tour, John and Emily get separated when the Head of the Presidential Martin Walker (James Woods) leads a raid on the White House with ex-Delta Force operative Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke) and hacker Skip Tyler (Jimmi Simpson). John must try to save Emily AND the President before all Hell breaks loose.
Sure, this wasn’t that great of a movie, but I would say I found it preferable to Olympus Has Fallen. They are basically the same movie, but this is the more fun version of that movie. Sure, it was dumb, but Rolland Emmerich has a great gift for winning me over with plenty enough fun to overcome the potentially crippling stupidity in the scripts that he chooses. I’m even able to ignore the super-obvious moments in the scripts. Like this whole played out “Daughter calling her father by his first name until the time is right for an emotional moment to call you Dad” thing. That’s been done to death, and the second I heard her call him John I started a mental stopwatch for my smug satisfaction at being right yet again. The same could have been said about the part where the President is talking about the pocket watch he carries next to his heart that was a gift from his wife. The only reason I didn’t realize how that would turn out at the end of the movie is because it had been so long since they initially introduced the watch that I had forgotten that I had already predicted the result of it.
Most of the performances in this movie were decent. They got some great actors to be in the movie, and most of them seemed like they were giving at least 50%. Good enough! Channing Tatum manages to be funny and charming enough. I don’t get some of his character’s choices though. What does John have against picking up guns from the people he’s killed? He’s always running out of ammo. Those guns probably have bullets. Those dead bodies probably have extra ammo on them as well. Is it a moral thing? I think most people would be okay with this particular form of theft. Jamie Foxx is usually entertaining, but I felt he was a little tuned down for this. Also, he got bitch-smacked unconscious by an old ass James Woods. When Jamie had the drop on him! Thug shit, homie! I found myself entirely unconvinced by Joey King as Tatum’s daughter. She just didn’t do a good job, and I tried to give her a pass. But every time she tried to emotionally yell, “DAD!” I just wasn’t buying it. It’s never good to be able to see someone trying to act when they just should be acting. Also there was that flag-waving thing she did at the end of the movie. That shit was cheesier than Mac and Cheese commercials act like their product is. And that is the cheesiest. I did like that girl Jackie Geary, who played the assistant to the VP, but her negotiation skills need work. She said her payment for getting Tatum an interview for the Secret Service was a date where Tatum had to at least attempt to get to second base. When he upped that favor, it is only fair that you up your compensation to at least a finger blasting.
White House Down (much as almost everything Rolland Emmerich does) was stupid, but it was enjoyable in how aware of its stupidity it was. Emmerich is gifted at overcoming stupid with fun, which sets this movie above Olympus Has Fallen, where the director did not possess such gifts. The story is predictable, but most of the performances are decent, and I had enough fun watching it. I could at least recommend this movie for a RedBoxing, but just barely that. White House Down gets “I lost the rocket launcher” out of “As the President of the United States, this comes with the full weight, power and authority of my office. Fuck you.”
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