Now Barrack Obama and family can watch the double bill in their personal movie theatre: Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, back to back.Two films within a span of 2 months about a deadly attack on the White House is too much of a coincidence and it is cause for delicious speculation what the Obamas would make of it. Olympus adopted a serious tone with the North Koreans as the bad guys while this film cheekily reduces it to a action comedy throwing in big budget special effects.
Roland Emmerich makes big budget disaster films, if you want to produce a film where an Armageddon is averted by a heroic American then this German is the go-to guy.This time his tone is very tongue in cheek, he gives us a film that refuses to take itself seriously and is downright campy is parts.His bad guys are hopeless parodies of bad guys and his good guys are goofy and ernest.There is not an ounce of credibility in the plot and the dialogues are downright cheesy.But this film is delicious in a “Its so bad that its good” way.
Channing Tatum is John Cale, an improbably handsome policeman with a checkered history that resulted in divorce and a teenage daughter Emily (Joey King) obsessed with politics and disenchanted with him.He snags an interview as a Secret Service Agent and two White House tour passes on the same day.While John fails his interview with the charming Ms.Finnerty ( Maggie Gyllenhaal), Emily manages to intercept President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) while on tour and get a byte for her YouTube channel.
Suddenly all hell breaks loose and the White House is under siege. All kinds of codes, Red/Black et al. come into play and the Eagle must be protected.The motives of this group led by Secret Service chief Walker (James Woods) are of no consequence.Ok if you want to know his marine son was killed in a covert operation the President ordered in the middle east and now the President wants to talk peace with his Iranian counterpart, when he should be nuking the whole regions out of existence. Walker’s gang of mercenaries are straight out of Con Air.In the course of the film the Presidency changes hands 3 times down the chain of command till we are in danger of it passing to the White House janitor.There is little scope for any serious acting with rapid fire cuts but to the credit of the A-list cast everybody manages to have adequate fun while saving the planet from WW3.
This film is way more fun than Olympus Has Fallen which struggled to infuse credibility in a premise that seems way too outlandish but Mr Emmerich makes a film that will appeal to a very wide cross section of the audience.American audiences will love it for its faux patriotism, non Americans can chuckle at the stock characters and dumb one liners and the serious minded can look for subtext of a broken political system, the meaning of a black president, the political deadlock in the Middle East and the symbolism of a solid German made clock to smash to head of a mercenary when guns are out of reach. And Indians can sigh about the dangers of nukes in Pakistan when even those in America are can be compromised!
This is a clever film from a director who has been making dumb films for the masses for a long time.But that never made him dumb.If I was not in the business of reviewing films I might have given it a miss. I am glad I did not but what I did miss was a tub of popcorn and a super sized soda throughout.Go on, indulge in the ultimate guilty pleasure of the season!