White House Down: It All Goes Down (2013)

Posted: July 4, 2013 in Action, Drama, Thriller
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whitehousedown-internationalposter2-fullAfter several meetings with international leaders in order to secure a more peaceful atmosphere, President Sawyer returns to the White House and prepares for the battle at home. While attempting to talk to his colleagues about garnering support for his peace plan, a bomb detonates in the rotunda and sends the people throughout the building into a state of panic. Capitol policeman John Cale and his daughter become sucked into the madness when they are separated directly before the attack but attempt to find each other after the terrorists extended their assault on the White House. When the dust initially settles, the rouge terrorist group successfully captures cabinet members and other hostages, including President Sawyer, but John’s journey to find his daughter causes him to find the president and begin his battle back against the terrorists.

Starring: Channing Tatum (John Cale), Jamie Foxx (President Sawyer), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Agent Finnerty), Jason Clarke (Stenz), Richard Jenkins (Speaker Raphelson), Joey King (Emily Cale), James Woods (Director Martin Walker), Nicholas Wright (Donnie the Guide), Jimmi Simpson (Tyler), Michael Murphy (VP Hammond), Rachelle Lefevre (Melanie), Lance Reddick (General Caulfield), Matt Craven (Agent Kellerman), Jake Weber (Agent Hope)

Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx lead the group of actors and both give adequate performances for their roles of the action heroes. While Foxx starts off a little less aggressive, both actors fit the bill for this type of film. Gyllenhaal was a good choice for most of the film, until she had to find herself in a scene pleading for safety (reminiscent of an awkward scene from The Dark Knight). Woods, Clarke and Simpson each contributed a solid performance as villains. Joey King initially came off as a bit of an unnecessarily whiny teenager but she significantly improved throughout the film.

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Though a similar film to the year’s earlier Washington action thriller Olympus Has Fallen, Roland Emmerich’s story took a more political feel with the inside job and the attempt to cause worldwide panic. There were a number of similarities between the films, as they both obviously were about the White House getting taken under siege and the president finding himself in real trouble with a formerly troubled agent being the only hope. Both included children who were caught up in the conflict. Both included attempts to take control of America’s weapons systems. The differences were not dramatically different, although WHD took itself a little less seriously at times and included an active president.

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The film has a lot to be proud of. With the significantly higher budget compared to the other film, there are a number of highly explosive scenes with tanks, car chases, helicopter flyovers and gun fights throughout the White House. The suspense level of the film was also fairly high. While there is always an understanding that films like this will end with some sort of positive result, the terrorists were able play out a number of surprises. Where the film fell a little sort was how it seemed to also contain too many cliches, such as the villains talking out their whole plan and delaying their opportunity to actually execute it or the awkward puns that are somewhat painful when they are said.

Overall, this was actually a good film with solid acting and strong suspense. It was just coincidence that two films came out within months with the same topic but this one did not lose anything by coming out second.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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