White House Down (2013)

White House Down (2013) – I am a man who makes no secret of my likes. (A fact which you might be able to infer from this website… where I talk a lot about shit I like…) So let me talk about some of those likes now. I like Die Hard. It is unquestionably one of my favorite movies. It’s got couple great sequels too. My girlfriend and I even worked our way through all of them earlier this year. The thing is… watching all of them… well… The first one is an unparalleled action masterpiece. The second is damn fun and an all-around good second outing. The third takes the series back to excellence. The… the fourth film… well it is a fun movie. It’s a good action movie. It’s just not a Die Hard movie. The fifth retains NOTHING of the spirit of Die Hard. Another thing I like is cracked.com. I can kill an insane amount of time on there. It was there I see this video… That is a pretty compelling argument for White House Down. Hell, you could probably stop reading and just take that video as the review. But don’t because I worked hard on this… okay, maybe not hard. But I took time out of my… otherwise sleepless night… okay, just shut up and read the review.

John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a Capitol Police Office charged with guarding the Speaker of the House (Richard Jenkins). He’s divorced and his daughter Emily (Joey King) doesn’t seem to like him all that much. However, she is a huge fan of President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) and Cale has guest passes for the White House. He’s going to take a job interview for the Secret Service, but the interview is conducted by Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gylenhaal), a former classmate who doesn’t think too highly of Cale. Still, he gets to take his little girl on a tour of the White House, where she seems to know as much as the tour guide (Nicolas Wright). Meanwhile the head of the President’s security detail (James Woods) is retiring. Unfortunately his retirement coincides with the arrives of a group of mercenaries: the leader Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke), far right militant Carl Killik (Kevin Rankin), and hacker extraordinaire Skip Tyler (Jimmi Simpson), among others. Not surprisingly, they seize the damn White House and they have an agenda. Soon, Cale gets to prove that the Secret Service probably should have hired him after all…

Daniel O’Brien of cracked.com was indeed correct. White House Down is fucking awesome. It is better than the last two installments of the Die Hard franchise. One could go so far as to call it a Die Hard rip-off. One should go that far even. But you know what? I never had a problem with a rip-off as long as it was well-done and White House Down is one pretty slick production. It helps having Roland Emmerich in the director’s chair. While the man has definitely directing some misfires (The Patriot, the anti-Stratfordian drama Anonymous, and the dreadful 1998 Godzilla), the man is pretty great at blowing shit up. Stargate, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012: all of them were to some degree entertaining because of big action set-pieces and large ensemble casts of superficially interesting characters. White House Down definitely takes its cues from that as the supporting cast is staffed with interesting actors like Woods, Jenkins, Clarke, and Simpson. That’s not to say Channing Tatum isn’t likable in the John McClane role. Cale isn’t the consummate smart-ass that McClane was (before he just became a grumpy old dude) but Tatum has demonstrated heavy amounts of charm and comedic timing in his film roles of late and is up to the task of carrying this movie. I don’t have him pegged as the next Bruce Willis, but as far as Die Hards go, he’s doing better than Bruce right now. More power to him.

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