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White House Down

White House Down (2013)

Dir. Roland Emmerich
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx

If you had asked me in early 2013 which movie I was more interested in seeing: White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen, I would've said “neither”. Upon further questioning, I'd probably say that I'd rather watch Olympus, and then I'd have to kick myself later when realized how wrong I was. I'm not saying that White House Down is a particularly great movie, but it is an incredibly fun one if you're in the mood to look past all of the clichés and absurdity.

The single most impressive part of this movie is the fact that everything in the White House (including the exterior scenes) was filmed in a to-scale replica the crew built across a number of sound stages. Practically the entire production took place on sets they built themselves, and the fact that most audiences wouldn't even guess that speaks to the quality and detail of their recreation. So it's unfortunate that some of the special effects are not very realistic looking (I'm looking at you, helicopters), but in general the visuals are very pleasing to the eye, especially when you consider that other action movies at the time were terrified of bright lights and colour.

I was not particularly a fan of Channing Tatum going into this movie, but he seemed to be having a lot of fun with the role, and did practically all of his own stunts (the only exception I remember being a large fall through a glass ceiling onto a table, and that's completely understandable), which is something I appreciate as a viewer who seems to have an uncanny eye for spotting stuntmen. His performance in this movie, and his chemistry with Jamie Foxx really sold me on the idea of Tatum as an action star, even if I was sort of rooting for the head mercenary (played by Jason Clarke who I inexplicably always seem to connect with) to win.

White House Down has a few genuine laughs, but also a number of lines that will cause your eyes to roll, or for a groan to escape your throat. But to me, that's part of the film's charm. It's a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, so if you're willing to laugh at the plot and it's silly resolution, then you'll probably have a good time. However if you absolutely hate Roland Emmerich's editing style, or are unable to forgive the unoriginal story and characters, then you'll probably want to pass this one up.

Watch this if you found Olympus Has Fallen too dull, or if you want
a harmless, cheesy action flick you can have a bit of a laugh at.