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Film Review – White House Down

Director: Roland Emmerich
Screenplay: James Vanderbilt
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum, Joey King, James Wood, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke
Genre: Action, drama thriller
Rating: ***
Venue: Ster Kinekor Maerua Mall, Cine 2

What starts out as an absent father’s way of getting into his daughter’s good graces turns out to be a unfortunate incident. This happens when John Cale (Channing Tatum) takes his daughter Emily (Joey King) on a tour of the White House and ends up in the middle of a hostile plot to take over the government of the United States. Cale is forced to single handedly take out the bad guys who are under the leadership of the chief of security Martin Walker (James Wood) and protect the life of the president James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx).
The film is both entertaining and sentimental. There is plenty to enjoy, it is action packed, has die-hard stunts right from the start until the end. The acting is on point though it is very hard to take Jamie Foxx serious as president Sawyer. As usual Tatum does not disappoint but the real star is child actor Joey King. She is feisty yet still keeps that ‘I am a child ‘ element in her role as daughter and heroine. It is not always a good idea to pair two roles which are complete opposites but the chemistry between Tatum and Foxx is electrifying in that it delivers just the right dose of the much-needed comic relief here and there to stop the movie from being too serious.
Like many other action films it tries to stick to the America and nuclear weapons premise, reminding us of other movies like it such as Under Siege and Independence Day. I couldn’t help but notice that the issues in the film resemble the current issues that the country is facing. Could this be a way of delivering a message to President Barack Obama? It does get confusing 40 minutes into the movie as the plot to take over the White House is uncertain and keeps on revealing more sub-plots by the mercenaries who by now are disbanded and are acting like total helpless puppets who don’t even remember why they want to take over the White House. The agenda changes when Martin Walker reveals the real reason for his attack much to the dismay of the mercenary leader Stenz who is played by Jason Clarke. Martin wants the president alive but the goons he hired think otherwise. What happens next is a series of mishaps as the handsome Tatum takes down the bad guys one by one with a little help from Foxx who manages to shoot one and kick one off his ‘Jordans’. This, to me is simply more hilarious than action-packed. Maggie Gyllenhaal is awesome as Special Agent Finnerty.
Apart from the dim-witted bad guys, the film is a great watch. After all, seeing the good guy emerge a hero is never a bad thing. If anyone asks me if I love or hate this movie, I would definitely say I love it. It does not fall as flat as a pancake so I say, go and watch it. But be warned, go and watch it not with the mindset of having seen anything like this before, because Emmerich borrowead some ideas from previous films, oops! I hope that this won’t sway your decision.

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