White House Down (2013) Retro Review – Utter Rubbish


White House Down was directed by Roland Emmerich the king of the big budget blockbuster.  He’s had a slightly spotty track record from the wonderful Independence Day (1996) to the less than wonderful 2012 (2009). The film was written by James Vanderbilt who wrote Zodiac (2007) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).  It stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx.

For the plot see Olympus Has Fallen (2013) – terrorists find a way to break through the tightest security in the world to take control of the White House, take the President hostage and threaten nuclear war.

The respected British film critic Mark Kermode described this as really dumb fun.  I respect this man a great deal.  I base the structure of my blogs on his view of how film reviews should be written.  That being said he’s wrong with this one.  Yes it’s dumb, but fun, hell no!  It’s just bad.  It’s one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.  Channing Tatum has done nothing to convince me he can act and this film is another nail in the coffin.  The normally reliable Jamie Foxx is given a series of silly lines and product placement gags to do and so has nowhere to go with his performance.


The point at which I almost checked out completely and threatened to break my promise of watching every film to the end was when Tatum’s daughter comes of the smoke ridden White House waving a flag with the Presidential Seal on it.  The allegedly highly trained US pilot takes this as a sign to ignore his orders and not fire his missiles.  Why?  It makes no sense whatsoever.  There’s a scene where Fox and Tatum are driving round and round the perfectly manicured lawns of the White House while Fox finds a missile launcher to blow a hole in a gate or wall or something and it’s one flat one liner after another.  It was enough to make Michael Bay wince.

The single most irritating aspect of this film were the efforts of the ‘good guys’ in the film to bring attention to themselves at the most inconvenient time as they crept not so silently around the White House.  Tatum’s daughter knows one of the ‘bad guys’ is looking in her direction so peeks her head above what ever it is she is hiding behind to make sure she gets captured.  Fox and Tatum are climbing down a lift shaft or similar with the ‘bad guys’ on the other side of the wall so they cough, sneeze, kick something loose so oops they’re on the run again.

I’m going to cut my review short as I can’t find anything positive to say and life’s too short.  I apologise for my at times incoherent thoughts on this film but it was mind bendingly terrible.  I watched it a week ago and have been trying to avoid writing about it ever since.  I plan to watch Fury (2014) tomorrow so fingers crossed for better times.

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