Just like some other plots that have two big movies released in the same year (Armageddon & Deep Impact, Volcano & Dante’s Peak) 2013 will be seen as the year that Hollywood wanted to destroy the White House by Terrorist attacks. We had Olympus Has Fallen earlier this year and then White House Down. Directed by Roland Emmerich the movie stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, Joey King, James Woods, Jimmi Simpson & Nicolas Wright. Rachelle Lefevre & tv’s Anthony Lemke have small roles as well.
The story actually reminded me more of 1995’s Jean-Claude Van Damn movie Sudden Death along with Olympus Has Fallen. It has got all the same elements except that it’s the President and not the Vice-President and it’s in the White House and not the Pittsburgh Penguins stadium! Otherwise, very similar. And I think Van Damn did it better. I kid – this movie has it’s plus points but let’s go through some of the things I want to point out:
- Tatum plays John Cale a U.S. Capitol Police officer assigned to Speaker of the House Eli Raphelson. Ex-soldier who did tour of duties in Afghanistan! Divorced father. Intelligent young daughter who is upset that her father does not have much time for and hence he gets her a White House pass and entry into the tour of the place. He applies for and is denied an oppurtunity to work for the President’s Secret Service by Carol Finnerty, a former college acquaintance of his. These two things just happen to occur on the same day as the attack on the white House.
- Cale lies to his politics loving daughter Emily and they join the tour where they run into the president Barack…sorry James Sawyer who has proposed a controversial peace treaty between allied countries to remove military forces from the Middle East. Emily asks a question to Sawyer and tapes his answer for her vlog on Youtube!
- A mercenary disguised as a janitor detonates a bomb at the center of the U.S. Capitol building, destroying the building’s dome. The Speaker Raphelson is taken to an underground command center with Finnerty, while the Vice-President is taken to Air force One. The White House is on lockdown but the mercenaries are already in, disguised as video technicians start killing off most of the Secret Service and take the tour group hostage. Retiring Head of the Presidential Detail Martin Walker who leads Sawyer to the Emergence Operations Center and then kills the President’s men. Turns out it is Walker who let the mercenaries in, leading the attack on the White House for revenge over his son who was killed in a botched black ops mission.
- Cale who managed to get away kills a mercenary and steals his gun & radio. His daughter Emily just happened to be in the loo (also a plot line in Sudden Impact) and hides from the terrorists long enough to capture them on video and upload two clips to her Youtube account – which then goes viral – before she is caught and brought to join the other hostages. Cale saves Sawyer and the two make their way through the White House and try to get out.
- There are numerous gun shot battles, some fight scene, some funny stuff, lots of cliches and explosions, people getting hurt and bleeding and talking and running. The bad guys keep getting killed off one by one.
- Skip Tyler, a talented hacked & IT expert, is also inside the White House and cracks the codes for several security systems and also gets the codes for Walker to use as leverage. Walker demands $400 million from the Federal Reserve as ransom for the hostages. Meanwhile, Tyler finishes the upload to NORAD and launches a missile at Air Force One, killing everyone on board, including Hammond. Raphelson is then sworn in as President and orders an air strike on the White House. Finnerty informs Cale of Raphelson’s decision.
- Walker plans to launch a nuclear assault on Iran, which will surely start another world war. He injures Sawyer after capturing him and use his palm to access the system and is about to launch the strike before Cale comes in to finish the job. However it takes a brave move from Emily – who a presidential flag and waves it on the front lawn and gets the fighters to call off the attack. Sawyer reveals himself to be alive as the bullet that hit him hit a pocket watch his wife had given him. Happily on their way out, Finnerty calls them to reveal that the mercenaries were not called in by Walker and that there is another mastermind behind the attack. Cale realizes who it is and asks Sawyer for his help in exposing the traitor – it is the Speaker!
- So final showdown is Cale & Sawyer combining to bring out Raphelson as the true mastermind behind the attack on the White House and he is arrested and taken away. Cale is appointed to the Secret Service by Sawyer and he & Emily joins the President in his helicopter As a result of the events, Russia, Iran, China, and other Middle Eastern and Asian countries agree with the peace treaty. (How corny!)
Question : and no you cannot deny this – Was Jamie Foxx supposed to be Barack Obama in this movie? And how lousy of a president would Foxx be? It is a joke that his acting could not overcome. Another question – aren’t movies like this giving ideas to the real life terrorists (if the stuff is accurate)? Cliched, pretentious and so full of cheese in some places. Ugh! What the heck, it is a bit of fun for over 2 hours. 7 outta 10!