When I first heard that there was another movie coming out about the White House being attacked by terrorists, so soon after watching Olympus Has Fallen, I kind of immediately had reservations about seeing it. On the surface, the plot was too similar not to make any comparisons between the two movies but when I finally buckled down to see White House Down, it was an entirely different experience altogether.
John Cale (Channing Tatum), an ex-Marine who served three tours in Afghanistan only wanted two things when he went to the White House for a job interview — a) get a job in the President’s Secret Service, and b) make it up to his daughter Emily (Joey King), an 11-year-old political blogger, for missing her performance at her school’s talent show. When a group of armed extremists execute an assault on the White House, it is up to John to save President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) and the 60 hostages trapped in the Capitol.
From the beginning, it was obvious that White House Down was going for a different vibe from the hard action and emotionally exhausting Olympus Has Fallen. Despite the similarities in the plot and movie elements, WHD chose to cast a younger, fresher, slightly goofier lead character in John Cale who balances zingers and witty one liners with the weight of the crisis. I was expecting Jamie Foxx to break out the yuks too but I guess that would have been uncharacteristic for the leader of the free world. Joey King, who played John’s daughter Emily, is also a young actress to watch out for. Not only is she beautiful but she portrays her role so seamlessly and blends well with all of the other characters in all of her roles. Also noteworthy is James Woods who played disillusioned Secret Service boss Walker. But then again, he’s James Woods. He can do no wrong.
What’s great about White House Down was that the story was more plausible and allowed the film to have more dimensions. It allowed itself to pace itself in a way that introduced levels to the plot. The story took detours before the reveal of the real mastermind and this was great for the audience because involves them in the story.
All in all, WHD was not just an action movie but it was also a buddy comedy and in a sense, it was also a family drama. It made watching the White House burn more fun (I’m looking at you director Roland Emmerich). But let’s face it, it was the Channing Tatum show and Jamie was really only there to lend the support. The way the film turned out, Channing totally deserved the limelight. A great watch. It totally had me alternately laughing my head off and biting my fingernails.