It’s always fun when the audience knows how to make a better movie than its creators. Going into this movie, one would think it’s a fun action movie and nothing more. As it turns out, White House Down has many serious moments and has a decently deep story. This would be fine if the movie was well written but that’s not the case here. White House Down should’ve been a fun Summer popcorn flick but instead tries to be smarter than it really is with its poorly written screenplay.
White House Down follows John Cale (Channing Tatum) who brings his daughter (Joey King) to his Secret Service job interview at the White House in hopes of impressing her as their relationship isn’t so good. The interview goes poorly causing John to lie to his daughter that he has a chance of getting the job. While the two go on a tour of the White House, a bomb is detonated at the Capitol building causing the White House to be locked down. Of course, the daughter went to the bathroom right before this happened so now she is separated from her father. John is able to escape the room he is in and searches for Emily. In doing so, he takes out one of the mercenaries and overhears on the mercenaries’ radio where the President (Jamie Foxx) is located. John rescues the President and now it’s up to him to get the President to safety and reunite with his daughter.
A cliché and simple story for this movie would’ve worked fine for this type of movie but instead the film has a cliché and complex story filled with unnecessary twists and turns. It became laughable towards the end when the yet another person is revealed to be involved in the attack. The story of the movie should’ve been: terrorists attack the White House, John has to stop them. You can give him the cliché family problems but don’t give this movie all the boring political banter. In some cases, simplicity could be a good thing.
The story wouldn’t have been so poor if it had a good screenplay behind it but this movie doesn’t have that. The screenplay Olympus Has Fallen has is full of fun action but is also full of poor dialogue and strange character choices. The dialogue between John and the President was a little funny at times making it one of the better parts of the movie (although some of the things Jamie Foxx says in the movie I find hard to believe a president will say). Literally, the rest of the dialogue the other characters have is uninteresting and slows the movie down tremendously. These dialogue scenes also go on and on and on and maybe I wouldn’t be making such a big deal out of it if the dialogue was given in shorter bursts but instead we can have ten or so minutes of bad dialogue. Also, it takes a solid 20-30 minutes before the bomb is detonated in the Capitol building. I literally thought in my head, “Can something blow up already?”
Finally, some of these characters make really questionable decisions which I won’t spoil for you. All I’ll say is, this woman near me would say to her husband (quite loudly), “this is so stupid” every time a character did something “stupid.” It seemed like every 5-10 minutes she would let one out which goes to show the amount of stupidity this movie can have sometimes.
White House Down isn’t all bad though. The movie has decent performances by its cast. Both Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx are decent enough in the movie. They have good chemistry with each other and both of their characters are likable. The supporting cast which includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, among others were all fine in the movie and do a good job with what was given to them. Also, a lot of people are hating on Joey King and I’ll say I thought she did a pretty good job in the film.
Also, the action in the movie is a lot of fun. The car chase in the front lawn of the White House, the one-on-one fights with John, and the shootouts are all entertaining beyond belief. The visual effets looked great and director Roland Emmerich does a pretty good job with the camera (although you’ll have the occasional quick cut and close up which for the 800th time doesn’t work for action movies). Still, White House Down did deliver when it came to the action (I just wish there was more of it).
I expected stupidity out of White House Down but not on a level where the movie was actually trying to be kind of serious. That’s the biggest problem with White House Down. Its story has been done before (and no, I’m not talking about Olympus Has Fallen) but it didn’t really need that fresh story as long as it’s a fun action flick. It’s the screenplay that really kills this movie with dumb character decisions and boring drawn out dialogue. There are much better action movies out there which deserve your time and money.
For reviews and more from me, Petey Oneto, you can check out my blog but be sure to check back with Resident Entertainment for more of my posts in the future.