In White House down, Channing Tatum as war veteran John Cale can’t quite make the grade to join the Secret Service, so he winds up on the city police force and divorced. During a tour of the White House with his daughter Emily, mercenaries launch an unexpected attack that separates John and Emily. The infiltrators, led by Emil Stenz, do an alarming job at immobilizing the Secret Service and gaining control of the White House while somehow managing to allow Cale to escape. POTUS (Jamie Foxx) and his inner circle head to what is essentially a panic room while the Vice President escapes aboard Air Force One.
In an all-too-obvious plot twist, it is the president’s own security head, Walker, who is part of the conspiracy, and President Sawyer struggles to remain alive while most of his entourage perishes at the hands of the Stenz and his men. The mercenaries demand ransom money for their hostages, while their true violent ambitions become apparent. Separation from the VP and Pentagon allows the White House to remain impenetrable. Outside the White House, the Vice President assumes role of leader of the country without knowledge about whether Sawyer is still alive inside the Capitol.
Tatum’s character is dead set on saving his daughter and the president too, of course. Cale crawls through walls and secret passages in an attempt to rescue his daughter, only to have her captured by the mercenaries. President Sawyer offers to trade his own life for that of the little girl. Somehow, Cale manages to keep himself, his daughter and the president alive while defeating Walker and Stenz. However, as the movie wraps up, Cale’s character and the audience quickly realize that someone else is behind the political turmoil. Cale and President Sawyer must deal with that threat before White House Down can end.
The movie gets points for pulling at our heartstrings. No one wants to see the Capitol in ruin. We learned that with Independence Day, director Roland Emmerich’s prior attempt at a patriotic action thriller. However, Tatum isn’t as likable as Will Smith was, and the relationship between Cale and Emily isn’t as believable as Hollywood would like. For most of the young actor’s fans, the sight of him running around the White House covered in dirt and blood will be enough to keep them going. Even if you’re not attracted to Tatum, you’ll probably find White House Down enjoyable enough to watch a time or two, but don’t expect it to change your life. For deals on DirecTV PPV go to http://www.saveontvdirect.com/ and find all your favorites and entertaining new releases.
If the plot of White House Down seems familiar, that’s because similar stories have had great success in Hollywood. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Bruce Willis in Die Hard as I watched Channing Tatum try to save the president. In fact, some have lauded White House Down as the movie that the most recent Die Hard title could have been. I’m not sure that I’d go that far. While the recipe is certainly enjoyable enough, Tatum lacks the presence that Willis has always had. In its stead is an action movie that’s enjoyable for a few hours, but it certainly don’t become a cult classic.