I don’t write about action films here much. This is mainly because I don’t watch them. However when you are visiting your mother and she has a crush on Channing Tatum, you watch things that you normally would not watch. Things that involve lots of explosions, silly plot twists and Channing Tatum stripping down to a wife beater half way though the film so that his rippling muscles have more of a showcase. But what is surprising about this adventure that I took with my mother and my brother is that I actually liked the film. Crazy huh?
The plot of White House Down is your typical action flick fodder. It includes a down on his luck military man, a crazy rescue mission of not only the President, but also his daughter, and maniacal bad guys hell-bent on the destruction of this whole world. But what is great about this film is that the actors are very aware of just how silly this plot is. So nobody takes themselves very seriously. James Woods plays the villain of the piece. He overact in the only way James Woods can. He is vicious, angry, and above all hammy. In fact every actor is so well cast it is unbelievable. Maggie Gyllenhaal is great as the determined Secret Service Assistant Director. Jamie Fox plays the President as a charismatic and earnest man who I only wish our president is in real life. Channing Tatum oozes charm. He knows just how to get around the villain’s henchmen without ever really harming himself. He totally commits, even if his character could never possibly do the things he does in the film.
I never thought I would be sitting here writing a defense of a Roland Emmerich film. I have hated so many of his movies in the past that I wonder why he is getting consistent work. After watching such duds as the Day After Tomorrow, 2012, or Godzilla, I usually wanted to punch the television and the person who made me watch it (every one of those was my mother who is the queen of picking out horrible films to watch.) But this time, my mother was saved from my wrath. Yes this film is absurd in every way. But sometimes absurdity leads to a great time spent at the movies.