‘White House Down’ fails to wow audiences

Joe Llorin, Features Editor

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There’s a trend resurfacing lately in the world of movies where America is the target of an invasion by an enemy force. In “Battle: Los Angeles,” aliens invaded, it was the North Koreans in “Red Dawn” and in the latest episode of this trend, Americans themselves invade the nation’s capital in Roland Emmerich’s “White House Down,” released to theatres on June 28.

President of the United States James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) finally returns home to Washington, D.C. after attending to international affairs. His homecoming, however, is ruined when a group of American mercenaries attack and seize the White House. Among the chaos, former soldier turned U.S. Capitol Police officer John Cale (Channing Tatum) loses his daughter Emily (Joey King) when he is taken hostage along with a group of tourists. He then takes it upon himself to save the President, the hostages, his daughter and ultimately his country, with much opposition.

Criticized for being an apparent copy of “Olympus Has Fallen,” a film from earlier this year with a very similar plot, “White House Down” breaks away from that characterization by being of the action-comedy genre more than the drama-oriented “Olympus.” The comedic chemistry between Foxx and Tatum are one of the few aspects in which the movie shines. Tatum’s film career started with his portrayal of an amazing dancer and now after roles in action-oriented films such as “G.I. Joe” and “21 Jump Street,” he’s transitioned into a full-fledged hero.

There is a plethora of boom-boom to go around- from a bomb detonating the U.S. Capitol Building to Jamie Foxx wielding a rocket launcher and destroying the White House’s perimeter, fireworks aren’t the only explosions happening around the White House this year.

Jamie Foxx is the MVP of this film for his portrayal of the President. He showcases his acting expertise throughout this movie, changing from the formal President to one badass of a man once he changes out of his dress shoes and into his Air Jordans.  Although the movie was a disappointment overall, Foxx’s performance kept it from being a total flop.

However, the film was overshadowed by its unnecessary length, poor plot execution and its inclusion of one too many characters made the story feel air packed into one film.  James Vanderbilt’s script, although funny, disappoints, trying to be your cliché “Die Hard-esque” action film but failing to live up to the formula. The film fails to find its true genre, straddling the lines of drama, action and comedy. One scene you’re on the edge of your seat rooting for Cale’s triumph, the next you’re laughing at the silliness that Jamie Foxx’s President Sawyer portrays.

“White House Down” was panned by critics and fans from the start for seemingly copying a movie from earlier this year, but expectations were higher with this film’s star-studded cast. Not knowing where to draw the line between comedy, drama and action, “White House” suffers from an unnecessarily complicated story, poor plot execution and a lackluster script. “White House Down” will make you laugh but you’re better off waiting until you can rent the film.

Rating: 2/5

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