Saturday, November 16, 2013

White House Down

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  The White House gets invaded again in film?  Thanks, Obama.

White House Down – 3 out of 5

I wonder how many Tea Baggers hated this film because the President in the movie is black…and then claims that they don’t hate it because they have plenty of black friends.

And right after the Tea Bagger claims to have black friends, they put on their t-shirt
that says, "Make the White House White Again"...except with plenty of spelling errors.

The second of two White House take-over films, White House Down follows a U.S. Capitol police officer named Cale (Channing Tatum) in charge of protecting the Speaker of the House Raphelson (Richard Jenkins). Trying to have some father/daughter time with his ever-growing distant daughter (Joey King), he takes her on a tour of the White House—where he also has an interview for POTUS’s secret service. After a not-so-stellar interview, the Capitol building comes under attack and becomes the diversion needed for a group of mercenaries to take over the White House and take the President (Jaime Foxx) hostage. Now Cale is ready to go all John McClane all over the mercs’ asses and try to save the President, rescue the hostages, stop the bad dudes and just plain save the day.

Tatum, shown here trying to figure out if he just walked into a fish tank.

It’s hard to review this film after already watching Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen because they’re basically the same movie. If you read my review of Olympus, you might remember that I wasn’t too blown away with the film. While I thought it had some great moments, it also had some really bad acting and the story tended to drag on too long. Overall, I thought the film was kinda average and mediocre. I didn’t completely hate the film but I wasn’t the biggest fan of it either. I pretty much felt the same way watching this one.

Even James Woods and his awesomeness that follows him around couldn't save this one.

Damn, the McPoyles have taken to being terrorists.
Despite being directed by the man with a hard-on for over-the-top, absolutely ridiculous disaster porn movies, the beginning of this one felt very restrained and very unlike Roland Emmerich. For a moment, I actually thought I was going to see something very different from the man. The way the mercenaries infiltrate the most protected home in all of ‘Merica was handled with more dignity than the “just shoot the fuck out of it” approach that Olympus Has Fallen utilized (although, the approach in White House Down had a lot of shooting the fuck out of things but not like Olympus). Despite some awkward attempts at comic relief from Tatum, I started to wonder if Emmerich had matured as a filmmaker.

Bad news for the mercs, Tatum wore his ass kicking vest today.

Then came the scene where the President kicks a downed merc who grabbed his sneakers and screams, “Get your hands off my Jordans.” And with it, all dignity for the film went out the window.

"Wait a that two dogs doing it?  In the White House?!?"
(I like to follow complaints about lack of dignity with dog humping jokes.)

Because, of course it's chromed out.
This movie was basically a cartoon. Really bad slapstick comedy was infused with the action and subtlety was slapped across the face and pants before it was even allowed in its running time. While the movie has its moments of actual popcorn action fun, it’s immediately followed by something that made me groan; like the fact the President apparently owns a rocket launcher (chromed out too, mind you) in his personal limo, really bad special effects and a particular merc who is a walking, talking parody of the Tea Party Patriot complete with the extremely obvious “We’re a Christian Nation” inspired cross tattoo emblazed across his chest and the prerequisite handle bar mustache that is basically spelling out “Speak English or Get the Fuck Out” across his upper lip.

I pretty much wanted this man dead the second
he appeared on screen.

This movie has some star power behind it too but it wasn’t enough to stop this film from being just silly. Tatum is decent as Cale and is strong in the fight scenes but incredibly weak in the comedic scenes; despite the fact he has proven to be funny in the past. Jaime Foxx is decent as the President too. The film also has the added benefit of including the very talented Richard Jenkins and James Woods. However, none of them were capable (despite how intense and straight Jenkins and Woods played their parts—and they played them well) of keeping this film from being a sloppy mess and an unbalanced load of comedy and action.

Accuracy is improved when shooting near your anus.

Geez, you can feel the sexual tension between these two.
Just look at them trying to bridle their lust.
The hardest part to deal with was the piss-poor and very obvious use of green screen for every outdoor scene outside the White House. Every time the story takes place in the fresh air outside the infamous house, the scenes were shot on a sound stage with green screens and it is very, VERY obvious and it ends up making the film look fake. Green screen is used a lot more than we realize (it’s use TONS in television in order to recreate cities that cost more to film in while being filmed in more wallet-friendly cities) and, for the most part, it’s almost completely seamless. Even in days of old—the days of the green screen's ancestor—the blue screen matting technology didn’t look as painfully obvious as these outdoor sequences that had less of an appearance of reality and more of some strange alternate universe where the light in the backgrounds don’t match the light of the living, breathing characters up front. It was just another nail in the film’s coffin that kept this movie looking more like a live action cartoon than a serious action film.

"Reporting live, it's kinda obvious that the background doesn't exist and the world
we live in is artificial..."

White House Down isn’t completely terrible. There were moments I was genuinely enjoying myself despite its problems—another problem being the extremely obvious story with twists and turns that can be seen coming a mile away. The film is sloppy; it’s poorly edited, it can’t balance the humor and action, the story is messy and suffers from too many loose ends that get tied up haphazardly and the special effects are a joke…HOWEVER, the moments that did entertain me; the moments that had great action, terrific acting and some few intense moments in the story, did keep me interested in the film and kept me entertained enough where the film was okay. In the end, it’s just another average assault on the White House movie and nothing too inspired.

1 comment:

  1. James Woods truly is one of God's greatest creations.


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