The news is replete with stories of the many major political conflicts troubling the world right now. This has a stake in virtually all of them and, unfortunately, many regimes in other nations perceive America as the enemy. Both the nation’s elected leaders and many citizens have very different ideas about the role we should play in these situations. Some filmmakers take this to the extreme of having our enemies, both domestic and foreign, invade our most sacred of edifices. Recently, this column reviewed “Olympus Has Fallen,” which is one of two movies from 2013 in which terrorists take control of the White House. The other is “White House Down.”
In “White House Down,” Channing Tatum plays John Cale, a United States Capital Police officer who is assigned to protect the Speaker of the House of Representatives (played by Richard Jenkins). John covets a Secret Service job and secures an interview with Carol Finnerty (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal), an old friend of his from college. He brings his daughter, Emily, a precocious political junkie. After the interview, they take a tour and when Emily goes to the bathroom, a group of terrorists seize the executive mansion. Their leader is Martin Walker (played by James Woods), the head of Presidential Detail. Martin’s son died in military service. He takes President James Sawyer (played by Jamie Foxx) hostage, but John rescues him. The two of them must work together to stop the terrorists and save Emily and the other hostages.
Although it has a familiar storyline, “White House Down” is still worth watching. It is directed by Roland Emmerich, who is known for making big special effects movies, such as “Independence Day.” He creates many memorable action scenes in this film. One is when the terrorists first take over. This scene is very suspenseful since Emily is away from her dad and has to avoid detection.
Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx are both very good in the lead roles. They make a great team. James Woods, as always, does good work as the villain.
Though it runs a little long, “White House Down” is still fun to watch.