We can observe that, this year, Hollywood is so desperate to blow up the White House. The early part of the year saw Olympus Has Fallen, and this part brings in the chills with the latest offering White House Down. The former hovers in the middle path of cerebral and visceral, whereas the later gets muddled in the vortex and fails to identify its territory. So, the White House is under siege, and this time ‘the siege’ shifts its base to the film, the industry and the audience who has nothing to do but laugh at this silly-to-the-core setup.
John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a war veteran working with the Capitol Police. He’s assigned the task to protect the Speaker of the House Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins). One day he takes his politically enthusiastic daughter on a tour to the White House, and that fateful day puts everyone’s life at risk. A group of terrorists break into the place and try to kidnap President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Now, this makes everything look artificial and cinematic. Cale succeeds in saving the President, and now, amid the baddies firing bullets, he needs to chalk a plan and find a way to get him out of the peril. That’s the story of White House Blown, err, Down.
Many directors tried to make enticing thrillers on terrorists taking over the US Government without disturbing the sentiments in a post 9/11 era. But in White House Down, director Roland Emmerich pulled an absurd way of bringing too much of unwarranted humor and made a mockery of what could have been an exciting thriller. He made a raring attempt to fill the air with the Die Hard vibe, replete with jibes and one-liners. Albeit Tatum and Foxx display crackling on-screen chemistry, their wisecracks make the film lousy and ruin any chance at plausibility this movie might look for.
Moreover the etching of certain characters was flimsy. A clichéd tour guide who is obsessed with his job rather than being pragmatic in turbulent times, two right-wing fanatics typifying every exaggerated Hollywood musing about the right, a computer hacker who borders on being imbecile than incisive, and all of these overloaded with double crosses and triple crosses that force you to pen down a schematic to keep track of associations.
We know and revere Emmerich for his ground-breaking film Independence Day, but it’s high time, he should stop renewing that tone. In a way, this can be treated as his fourth restoration project of the blockbuster as his other films Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 are insinuated modifications of the same theme. Above all, the alien attack was believable than that of terrorists on the White House that’s borderline cheesy but nevertheless amazing.
The movie is not devoid of well-choreographed action sequences and awesome special effects, but the progressively preposterous plot will leave you in splits when it culminates into a high-octane climax. And that’s followed by few more notches of idiocy. On the whole, White House Down offers a fair dose of entertainment, but you’d end up laughing at it, not with it.
My Rating: Expectation – 8/10; Reality – 4/10view less