*** ½ out of 5
Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image
Article first published as Movie Review: ‘White House Down’ on Blogcritics.
If the summer movie season means one thing, it’s big dumb fun. Lately, studios have realized these movies can actually be big, smart, and really fun, but that doesn’t stop movies like White House Down from squeezing their way in. Coming from director Roland Emmerich — he of such spectacle as Godzilla, Independence Day, and 2012 to name a few — you know what you’re getting into. And when the movie stars Django (Jamie Foxx) and Magic Mike (Channing Tatum), you hope it’s more intentionally fun than not. Thanks to screenwriter James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, Spider-man 2); this is Emmerich’s most fun film in years.
Anyone who’s ever seen an action movie will be able to pinpoint exact plot devices not just because they’re so blatantly displayed by Emmerich, but because they’re just so cliché now. If you can’t guess why the President has an old stopwatch in his breast pocket, then you’re in for a big surprise. And if you don’t already know Woods is the main villain the minute he takes off his American flag lapel, then you need to watch more movies. The only thing standing in the way of White House Down being a little more fun is that as usual, Emmerich lets the runtime go on way too long and the plot keeps getting more convoluted with each scene.
Photos courtesy Columbia Pictures