WHITE HOUSE DOWN (12A, 131 mins) Action/Thriller. Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, James Woods, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Joey King, Richard Jenkins, Michael Murphy, Lance Reddick, Rachelle Lefevre. Director: Roland Emmerich.
Not content with decimating the White House in his 1996 sci-fi blockbuster Independence Day, director Roland Emmerich reduces the Washington landmark to rubble again in this preposterous, high-octane action thriller. White House Down is an all guns blazing tale of gung-ho heroism and flag-waving patriotism which unfolds during a terrorist attack on the US President’s iconic seat of power.
John Cale (Channing Tatum) is an ex-soldier, who is assigned to protect Speaker Of The House, Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins), when he would much rather be part of the Secret Service detail protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx).
A devastating blast beneath the rotunda of the US Capitol signals the start of the hostilities and Stenz and his men sweep through rooms and corridors, shooting guards until the perimeter and hostages are secure. With the President’s life in the balance, Vice President Alvin Hammond (Michael Murphy) takes to the skies with his team aboard Air Force One. On the ground, Carol and her team including General Caulfield (Lance Reddick) discuss a military solution to the crisis.
What White House Down lacks in subtlety, it compensates with adrenaline-pumping thrills and spills. Screenwriter James Vanderbilt provides director Emmerich with the full array of cliches and contrivances, including a cherubic child in peril and at least one traitor in the upper echelons of power. Channing dodges certain death at every explosive turn while Foxx manages to retain his cool in the face of extreme provocation. As long as you disengage your brain, Emmerich’s picture is entertaining popcorn fodder.