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Schlockmeister extraordinaire Roland Emmerich has gone and done it again. In White House Down, Emmerich blows up Washington, D.C., for the second time in his directing career. This time, though, he uses an explosive device that’s considerably less of a bomb than this clichéd muddle of a movie . . .

Let’s briefly recap was passes for a plot in WHD. Channing Tatum is John Cale, a D.C. cop and Secret Service wannabe. President Obama, oops, I mean Sawyer, is played by Jamie Foxx, possibly because Morgan Freeman was stuck in a wormhole and thus unavailable.

Sawyer has a plan to cure the ills of the world by pulling all US troops out of the Middle East and bringing the heads of the nations together for three days of peace, love and maybe some first rate medical ganja. John Boehner, whoa, I mean Speaker of the House Rafelson, the evil Republican who has been a fixture of Hollywood film making since The American President, opposes POTUS’ plan.

While Cale visits the WH with his daughter, “terrorists” turn the Capitol Dome into the Capitol Bowl by means of an exploding cleaning cart. Meanwhile, the WH is attacked from within by killers disguised as janitors and Cale’s daughter is trapped in a White House toilet.


Like a hapless parody of Lethal Weapon, Cale and Sawyer team up to save the missing daughter, defeat the enemies of democracy and restore the assault weapons ban. As Cale dodges bullets like Neo from The Matrix, Foxx spends the rest of the movie flopping around in a suit, tie and white sneakers. Sidesplitting, I know. And yet – this may be hard to believe — White House Down is not a comedy.

Okay, we’ve already spent more time on the plot than the scriptwriters ever imagined. So what? It’s an action movie and makes no intellectual pretenses. Right?

Uh, no.

There’s lots of action and plenty of shooting, but nothing that we haven’t seen before and done much better elsewhere. As recently as March, Olympus Has Fallen did a good job of whacking the The People’s House, and the gunfighting scenes in that film were pretty decent. With half the budget of WHD, Olympus treated us to hordes of killer Koreans in garbage trucks rolling up on the White House. What could be better than that? The rest of Olympus could be described as “Die Hard in the White House.” And on a purely escapist level, it worked.

WHD accomplishes a summer movie trifecta by ripping off Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Olympus Has Fallen, all at once. The WHD script doesn’t miss even the smallest bit of trite schtick. And as far as the destruction of the seat of power is concerned, Emmerich himself did it better in Independence Day. Then again, in Independence Day he had killer aliens to do his dirty work. In WHD he’s stuck with killer janitors.

White House Down is little more than looney political propaganda disguised as an action movie wrapped around a black-white buddy movie. So it’s really three bad movies in one. If you think of Barack Obama as an action hero, then this movie is for you. Otherwise, stay home and pop your own corn.


Model: White House Downer
Caliber: Very low
Length:  131 minutes, but it seems longer
Action: Nothing you haven’t seen before
Finish: Incredibly dumb
Price: Whatever it cost, I want my money back. So do the financial backers. All of us will be disappointed.

RATINGS (out of five bullets)

Style * * *
Emmerich knows how to shoot a scene. There were a couple of long-distance shots that were artfully done. The hand to hand fighting scenes also had a degree of excitement. But no style points were earned by the mundane gunfighting scenes, and the CGI was so obvious I wondered if they were cribbed from a Sunday morning cartoon.

Reliability * *
Channing Tatum was sufficiently studley to pass as a former special forces/DC cop/Secret Service washout. James Woods did a great job of playing himself playing POTUS’ security chief. But please, somebody wake up Jamie Foxx, who seemed to be sleepwalking through the whole film.

Wait for it to appear on free TV and you’ll get your money’s worth. Well, except for the cost of the electricity.

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  1. Foxx lost all credibility when he sported the “I am Trayvon” t-shirt at the BET Awards. And for that, I pray his movie career is over. . . . . ironic in that Jarhead was playing last night on tv and his drill instructor roll was brillant . . . .

  2. Meanwhile Foxx regurgitates Obama’s tripe and tells us we need to “demand a plan” and turn in our guns for the good of the nation. His hypocrisy is palpable.

    • It’s not really hypocritical, the president is the commander in chief, and as part of the military, can be trusted with guns, unlike us peons.

      All I can say, in casting the terrorists as janitorial staff, maybe the movie is campaigning for closing down the border due to the rampant security risks entailed?

  3. Demand a plan to stop hypocrite Jamie Foxx from making movies. Maybe he should change his name to Jamie Faux.

  4. did this movie come out earlier this year with that Gerard Butler guy?… oh this is even more blatently propaganda than “Act of Valor” lol

  5. This movie was a waste of eight bucks. The story (and even that’s generous) is a bunch of BS. Unlimited rounds in Cale’s guns, bungling keystone cops action by the WH Secret Service, terrorists, Army, Navy, Air Force (and maybe the Marines too), unrealistic shooting and hand fighting scenes, not to mention the crappy acting by Tatum and Faux gives makes this movie a big pile of doggie poo. The only thing worthwhile was the theatre’s air conditioning as it was 114 degrees outside.

    • And what about the WH tour guide racking his shotty every time he appeared on camera? How many rounds did that thing hold? When I say “that thing,” I mean the gun, not the guide.

  6. I bet you could have watched the preview and put most of that review together. Either way, I laughed when I saw the rap up “caliber: very low”

  7. All this time I thought this was a comedy. Sort of like Hot Shots or Scary Movie.

    It had all the makings of one: random cast, directly ripping off recent action movies, too many explosions, absurd premise.

    Of course I thought The Sopranos was a spoof too for the first couple of seasons. Seems I just cant take anything seriously.

    • But then you think back to The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 and remember that Roland Emmerich is too magnificent a retard to even know how to spell “satire,” let alone plan it.

  8. As unamerican as jamie foxx is I will not waste any money going to see any of his movies as is the case with chris rock, beyonce and the rest of the hollywood crowd. Fair warning to any conservative actors or actresses out there, if you plan on hitching your wagon to these losers “stars” be prepared to suffer the consequences of poor box office performance and loss of revenue. Americans are wising up and what’s the sense of spending money to support them when they open their fat mouths and run down America and it’s Constitutional freedoms that has given them all that they have. If their not patriots, piss on them, have them leave the country and take their poison someplace else!!!

  9. Yet another movie that shows that studios will spin different versions of the same script being shopped around town and make several slightly different movies off the idea. Wasn’t it the “Mission to Mars” period the record setter with three or four nearly identical movies coming out within 2 or 3 years of each other?

  10. Lots of group think going on here…. wow… I went to see it. I thought it was kickass. The blatantly stupid foreign policy positions notwithstanding and the “evil military industrial complex” meme (expected tripe)…. If we can suspend our hypersensitive political leanings for a moment, we find a laugh-out-loud action comedy which lightheartedly blows up the White House.

    I thought it was great, in the grand tradition of Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, etc….

    Don’t get me wrong, I despise the Obama politics and the stupid liberal crap that Foxx spouted in the movie. But those parts were just so one-dimensional that I strongly doubt that anyone took them seriously. If they took those “ideas” as viable political opinions, we’re in much worse shape than I though.

  11. I went and saw this on the 4th, simply (and only) because it was free for my wife and I as vets.

    Having seen Olympus Has Fallen earlier in the year, I went into this with pretty low expectations. Not because OHF was bad, but because Butler (OHF) is much more believable as a action hero than Tatum. Even with the low expectations I was stil disappointed.

    At every point during the movie you have to suspend all belief in reality and common sense. The characters were doing so many things reatardedly it was funny. At least in OHF there was some sense of, “Hmm, I wonder if this could happen?” In WHD it was just plain old, “There is no way they would do that!”

    One example of similar scenarios in the movie: The Seal Team Six/Delta Force attack on the WH. In OHF ST6 comes in at night on Blackhawks in an attempt to retake the WH. They get hit unknowingly with anti aircraft weapons and taken out. In WHD Delta does the same thing, except they have prior warning that there are anti aircraft weapons on the roof and decide to go anyways. Wouldn’t happen.

    There were just too many other things where I was actually laughing about the decisions made by the movie characters. At least in OHF I was constantly thinking, “I wonder if the SS could repel a coordinated fast attack by 40-60 soldiers armed with crew served weapons and rockets.”

    In WHD I was just thinking, “Really??? A group of 10 guys takes out the entire secret service compliment and secures a property that size from any sort of counter attack?”

    Overall it was a stupid movie, but since it was free it was at least entertainment for the middle of the day on the 4th. Filler for that time between the parade and fireworks.

  12. Sony let all active duty and veterans view this film for free with a friend on the 4th. Since I did not pay for it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once the 45 minutes of painfully awful dialogue and political bull was over, it was a pretty fun film. Not winning any oscars…but was it really supposed to?

    I give it 5 stars for fun, provided you skip the first 30 minutes.

  13. I haven’t wasted my time or money watching anything with Jamie Foxx since 2008. It’s too distracting seeing him try to act when he can’t be bothered to floss Obama’s pubes out of his teeth.

  14. Saw Olympus Has Fallen. Pretty decent action movie.
    Won’t spend one dime for anything starring Foxx. Anybody who proclaims BHO as, “our lord and savior Barack Obama” is far more than politically offensive.
    Skip White House, see Olympus.

  15. My wife and I walked out on that terrible movie and I have a very guilty feeling for having paid good money to see it. With Jamie Foxx, I should have known. I heard a raving review of it on NPR the day before and that should have been further confirmation that it would be bad. But it was the only show with captions playing nearby that day (my wife is deaf) and we gave it a shot. We couldn’t finish it and left at the half way mark.

    It was a blatant rip off of Die Hard and was poorly done at that. The political agenda was overt. And the plot was just downright stupid, as if the explosives in a janitor’s cart would pulverize a huge building like the Capitol.

    • Since NPR makes my skin sizzle when I hear it, I usually check out The Onion’s AV Club reviews instead. If a movie looks like a runny turd but they rank it a B grade or above, then I know they’re only giving it a favorable rating because there’s something in it that tickles their flowery progressive sensibilities. I know because, masters of dry, subtle wit they are, they’ll always spell it out in the review so plainly and obviously that it may as well be written in crayon.

  16. Stayed away from this movie and the other one, and nothing of value was missed.

    _We Were Soldiers_ is a better choice for the 4th if you ask me. Or _Team America_.

  17. I was only going to see this movie if Demand-A-Plan Foxx gets blown away, but since he’s not, then forget it..

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