Skip to main content

Review: 'White House' is 'Down' in the dumps

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

You better run for cover, because the new, so-called action-thriller "White House Down" has two big strikes heading its way.

First, the whole idea of a White House under siege movie already feels horribly dated, given the March release of "Olympus Has Fallen."

Second, and this is the important thing: "White House Down" is a terrible movie. As unoriginal as "Olympus as Fallen" was, it still managed to rise about its obvious flaws, lack of logic and "gimme a break" moments to become a decent flick.

A ridiculous, annoying, excessive crash-boom-bang fest that hearkens the action genre heyday of the 1980s, "White House Down" assumes anybody who watched those movies back then out left their brains in the '80s, too. It's so bad that the film's talented cast members look lost trying to fight their way out of the chaos and movie that's crumbling around them.

Much like "Olympus Has Fallen," "White House Down" centers around a Capitol officer with a past. Both happen to be in the right place at the right time when the White House comes under attack, and it's only them who can rescue the president and a child in peril.

In "Olympus Has Fallen," it's Mike (Gerard Butler) who tries to save the president (Aaron Eckhart), the president's son (Finley Jacobson) and ultimately, the world.

In "White House Down," it's Cale (Channing Tatum) who tries to save the president (Jamie Foxx), and Cale's estranged daughter (Joey King) and effectively, the world.

See my review of the film with Pat Evans on "KARE 11 News at 11" below.

I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying the eventual outcome of "White House Down" is utterly predictable, as Cale dispatches the bad guys one-by-one -- "Die Hard"-style -- as he ferrets out a mole within the White House. And yes, he discovers there's a mole who has much bigger plans than just seizing the Capitol grounds.

If that lazy storyline isn't bad enough, the narrative is told in part through those fail-safe "live news reports" where faux reporters sappily tell us what's going on every second, as if we're not smart enough to figure it out ourselves. Add that, along with some failed one-liners, slow-motion action and -- like "Olympus Has Fallen" -- a government that doesn't have a plan in place when the bad guys strike with relative ease, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The biggest problem with "White House Down" is a movie's insistence, once again, to vomit Hollywood's political leanings on us. Whether filmmakers and actors want to side with the right or the left, honestly, I could care less: unless it bleeds into what we see on the big screen. Leave the political discourse to 24-hour cable networks. This is supposed to be entertainment, remember?

At least there are attempts at some lighthearted moments in "White House Down," but truth be told, there's not much funny or whimsical apart from some passable jokes by a White House tour guide (Nicolas Wright). Unlike the utterly stupid "Fast & Furious 6" -- where the film was so ridiculous that it instantly qualified for the "so bad it's good" category -- "White House Down's" stupidity only elicits groans, not guffaws.

In fact, the only people who are getting real laughs are the film's actors and filmmakers, knowing that people are buying tickets to this dud and effectively, keeping these big-screen heroes employed.

The guy who really needs to go away is director Roland Emmerich, whose career has been up and down (mostly down) since "Independence Day" in 1996.

"White House Down" marks an all-new low for the filmmaker, who appears to be so desperate for a hit that he's reportedly talking about doing a pair of sequels to "Independence Day." Visiting the nation's Capitol again is clearly on Emmerich's mind, that is, if the in-joke he squeezes in about "ID4" in "White House Down" is any indication.

Somebody should have shut down "White House Down" when they had the chance.

"White House Down," rated R, 1 star out of four.

See the trailer for "White House Down" below.

What other critics are saying ...

Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gives "White House Down" is 3 1/2 stars out of 4, saying it "is wonderfully violent and often laugh-out-loud funny, a shopworn premise resuscitated as a sweaty, rousing, ironic, intense, movie-love-reaffirming free-for-all."

Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press gives the film 2 1/2 stars, saying, "'White House Down' is too long to sustain its entertaining silliness, but there are about 90 good minutes here."

Bring Me The News film critic Tim Lammers is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and annually votes on the Critics Choice Movie Awards. Locally, he reviews films on “KARE 11 News at 11” and WCCO Radio. As a feature writer, Tim has interviewed more than 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career and his work is syndicated nationwide.

Next Up

291734046_502006195017388_4346404407323115820_n

Sheriff: Search for 3 kids at Vadnais Lake is 'likely triple homicide'

"A horrible set of facts appears to be developing," said Sheriff Bob Fletcher.

Pixabay laptop keyboard phone dark

Charges: Duluth man had hundreds of child porn images, videos

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found nearly 330 images on the man's electronic devices.

hennepin county sheriff water patrol lake minnetonka

Scuba diver found dead in Lake Minnetonka identified as 20-year-old

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said 20-year-old Brady Alan Aune, from Elko New Market, died of freshwater drowning on June 3.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 11.18.35 AM

Felony charges filed after authorities search 'Peacebunny Cottage'

The president of the rabbit rescue non-profit faces multiple animal cruelty charges after over 40 rabbits were found dead inside the organization's barn.

monkeypox virus

Minnesota up to 6 confirmed cases of monkeypox virus

Most people recover at home within 2-4 weeks.

thc edibles

Did Minnesota just accidentally legalize THC?

A Republican lawmaker who voted to approve the new law in May is already talking about rolling it back.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 3.19.42 PM

Gasoline may be cause of sewer explosion on U of M campus

An all-clear was given around 9 p.m. Thursday, with residents in the area allowed to return to their homes.

image

Overwhelming demand for THC products on first day of new law in MN

One shop owner said his Chaska store broke the online sales record before they opened Friday morning.

Flickr - Lake Minnetonka boat - Greg Gjerdingen

Increased drunk boating enforcement over 4th of July weekend

The increased enforcement is part of the Operation Dry Water initiative.

Kayak

Four kayakers stranded, rescued in Chisholm park

The kayakers became stranded at Redhead Mountain Bike Park Thursday afternoon.

SherburneCoJailDrugArrests

Duo charged after 10-pound meth package sent to wrong address

More than 10 pounds of meth are off the street thanks to a delivery error.

Screen Shot 2022-07-01 at 11.01.32 AM

Bird Rides' suburban expansion continues in Minnesota

Its scooter season in Minnesota. The latest on where you can find Bird e-scooters:

Related