Channing Tatum leads the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx) out of the fray in White House Down.

Channing Tatum leads the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx) out of the fray in White House Down.

Reel Reviews: Tatum is the new Willis

White House Down, starring Channing Tatum as the new action hero, has corporate conspiracy, patriotism and kicking butt, by the numbers.

  • Jul. 7, 2013 10:00 a.m.

He brought us an alien invasion in Independence Day, destroyed much of the Earth by-the-way of climate disasters in the Day After Tomorrow and last year, tried to destroy the entire Earth in 2012.

This summer, director Roland Emmerich sets his destructive sights on something a little more abstract and yet localized, the United States government.

White House Down pits a would-be secret service agent, (Channing Tatum) against a team of domestic terrorists as they attempt to usurp the power of the president (Jamie Foxx,) in order to keep the American war machine running.

We say, “It’s corporate conspiracy, patriotism and kicking butt, by the numbers.”

HOWE: If you want an action movie, White House Down will tick off all the boxes, well almost. It’s jammed packed with big explosions, lots of shooting, some comedy and a car chase, even though it is set on the White House grounds. The only drawback I could find is a lack of fantastic acting performances. It looks like we have found our new action hero in Tatum. Hopefully now Mr. Willis will pass on the baton and stop making more Die Hards.

TAYLOR: White House Down is a film that follows the Emmerich formula fairly closely, but I was quite surprised that the film takes place in one building, more or less.

Usually Emmerich films are gigantic, over-the-top, special effects bonanzas. Perhaps with WHD he wanted to prove he could make a “regular movie.” Unfortunately, he can’t. This movie is just as ridiculous as all his other movies, but without the fun.

There are still things I liked about this movie, but having to sit through the checklist of cliched characters performing telegraphed action outweighed my enjoyment. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

HOWE: You mean you didn’t like the patriotic act at the end, or the cheesy “Oops, I’ve dropped my rocket launcher,” line or the tiny tough guy with the Hulk Hogan ‘stash? For some reason when you roll it all together it was pretty enjoyable, even though it was bad.

TAYLOR: There were people in the audience, munchin’ down those cheesy morsels, but I stand by my conviction that cheese is best served with a side order of gimmick.

For instance, I watched the horrible movie 2012 at least three times because I wanted to see Los Angeles fall into the sea again, I wanted to see Woody Harrelson acting crazy again. I make a point of watching Independence Day every so often for similar reasons. Yet, I can’t imagine ever wanting to see White House Down again. It’s a shame really, because I think it’s a cool idea: Domestic terrorists taking over government that is attempting to sell a peace plan, because the military industrial complex doesn’t want to lose money. It’s just executed so poorly that it’s farcical.

I nearly laughed several times at earnest attempts to tug nationalistic heart strings. My eyes strained from rolling them. When the chase scene around the White House lawn was in full swing, I seriously considered taking a nap. Still, it’s way better than the last Die Hard.

Taylor gives White House Down 2 presidential Nicorette’s out of 5.

Howe gives it 3.5 Jordans out of 5.

The film is currently playing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe’s movie column, Reel Reviews, appears every Friday and Sunday in The Morning Star.