VOD film review: White House Down
Chris Bryant | On 29, Jan 2014
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, James Wood, Jason Clarke, Joey King, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Watch White House Down online in the UK: Amazon Prime / TalkTalk TV / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play
When a well-dressed, well-spoken mastermind with a grudge takes a building hostage using hired mercenaries in order to steal huge amounts of money, only one off-duty cop can stop him.
Only in the building to please a disgruntled loved one, the cop has to stop the crazed team – including a smug, wry hacker – with some help from a deadpan guy in the know who’s forced to take up arms against the terrorists. Alongside a comic turn from a skinny teenager with misplaced priorities and some eyebrow-raising set-pieces, the cop faces insurmountable odds and goes to war with trained killers, a cold genius and their armoury.
Wait, Bruce who? No, this is White House Down, in which Channing Tatum and his tightly fitted white vest (Yes.) face off against Kevin Rankin (Breaking Bad), Jason Clarke (Lawless, Zero Dark Thirty) and James Woods (James effing Woods) for the life of Air Jordan-wearing POTUS Jamie Foxx. Not the predictable explosion-fest you may expect yet exactly what you ordered, Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) recaptures his Yippee-Ki-Yay by quite literally sticking to his guns. None of this global warming/giant lizard/Shakespeare rubbish: James Woods wants $400m in cash. Channing Tatum wants to impress his daughter (an ever-solid Joey King) and save President Jamie Foxx. He wants to fire an RPG out of a moving limo in the name of world peace. That’s it.
Sure, there are some reasons, some agendas and some dialogue, but there are also helicopter gunships, Maggie Gyllenhaal perpetually staring in angry disbelief and our two heroes locked in a gunfight in an elevator shaft (which we can all agree is basically an air vent).
Refreshingly well-paced and contextually believable (James Woods probably could take over the world), White House Down is a self-aware and somewhat brilliant action blockbuster. What it lacks in realism, it makes up for in balls. The bad guys are all far-right extremists and Channing Tatum is indeed very unfortunate to get caught up in such things, but without off-duty cops donning white vests and picking off the killers one-by-one, we’d all be living on Planet Gruber right now, so be a little more grateful, eh?
If you like your action films subtle and thought-provoking, video on-demand has more to offer. But if you want intense gunfights, exploding landmarks, Tatum’s sarcastic comedy charm, muscular tattooed bad guys, an evil genius demanding a chartered jet and Jamie Foxx as the leader of the free world with a trigger finger, then you’ve come to the right hostage crisis.
White House Down is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.