Sunday, June 30, 2013

Movie Review: White House Down

Check your knowledge of civics and government at the door, and go into White House Down purely for the action. Do it that way and once it gets going, you’ll have a good time; otherwise, you’ll end up saying “WTF???” over and over again.

Starring and executive produced by Channing Tatum, Channing plays John Cale, a Capitol policeman who wants to be a Secret Service agent and who won’t be winning Dad of the Year. His precocious 11-year old daughter Emily (Joey King) calls him John. But he’s trying to win points with her by taking her on a tour of the White House (she’s a political junkie and knows as much about the White House as the obviously flustered tour guide). Meanwhile, head of Secret Service Finnery (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is wishing her mentor Walker (James Wood) a happy retirement. President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is brokering a controversial Middle East peace plan. And then … well … and then all hell breaks loose.

Led by homegrown terrorist Stenz (Jason Clarke) and uber-hacker Tyler (Jimmi Simpson), first the Capitol and then the White House go under full assault.

It took a while to get going. In fact, there was way too much exposition. We got it five minutes in. The president is working on a controversial peace plan. After looking at my watch (theoretically because I don’t really own a watch and it is rude to do the phone thing in a dark theater) several times, the action finally started rolling. And when it did, it never really stopped.

I truly hope the people guarding the president and the members of congress are more skilled than what we saw in this film. It is if the baddies just walked in and killed EVERYONE on the president’s detail without breaking a sweat. Seriously, they made it look easy. Not to mention, there is one glaring plot hole at the end. And I usually get swept away in the movie enough to gloss over a few plot holes so this one had to be major (and it was).

Yet, Tatum and Foxx have great chemistry and little Joey King held her own as the plucky, smart daughter. But the plot took itself way too seriously and got increasingly over-the-top as it went on. The politics were a little too obvious and easy. President Obama Sawyer … good, anyone that doesn’t agree with him … bad. In this movie, not agreeing with the president makes you an extreme right-winger hell bent on destroying the country. It was just a little too pat for me.
The casting almost made it too easy to tell who would end up being a bad guy. There are just some actors that you know, right off the bat, will end up on the wrong side by the end. That was true in spades here. As characters made their first appearances, I knew they'd end up bad just based on casting.
I enjoyed it but that is because I saw it at an early matinee. Not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I had paid full price.



1 comment:

Dan O. said...

Nice review Karyn. Everything in this movie is stupid, but at least it is fun. That is all that's supposed to matter.