White House Down: Movie Review


Rookie Secret Service cadet Channing Tatum must team up with by-the-book President ‘Sawyer’ (Jamie Foxx) to fight a cabal of conservative terrorists (Blackwater Mercenary! Libertarian Hacker! Tea Party Racist!) in order to rescue Tatum’s nine year old daughter while blowing up as many iconic locations as possible.


Roland Emmerich


Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Joey Kings, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Jimmi Simpson, Kevin Rankin, James Woods, Richard Jenkins, Matt Craven

Film Review: White House Down:

If Obama killed terrorists with his own hands…



Tagline: It Will Start Like Any Other Day.

Entire Story in One Sentence:

President and Secret Service rookie fight terrorism by sequentially demolishing the White House room-by-room.


Minimal. Both protagonists are given dialogue with their spouses/beards. Very little buddy cop bonding occurs except for comparison of daughters. Terrorists wear more stylish clothes, particularly vests, and are exclusively male.

Corpse Count:

Sixty-three deaths depicted on-screen, not counting an exploding Congress, a burning Air Force One, and the crash of three helicopters laden with Delta Force soldiers.

How Bad is it Really?

It’s the best Roland Emmerich film of the past five years. Not as entertaining as Stargate, and less cheesy than Independence Day, but better than Godzilla. I only felt as though I was experiencing an aneurysm at four points during the course of this film.



Really, though? 

White House Down has a nine-year-old girl, waving a US flag on the White House Lawn, while fighter jets fly overhead, and everybody cheers. If Joseph Goebbels produced this film, he would probably have asked the director to “tone down the nationalism by an order of magnitude or two.”.

The Nadir?

The song “Chevy Knights” by He Met Her, heard during the closing credits. It’s the musical equivalent of learning that you have cancer of the scrotum.

Best Post-Mortem One Liner?

Bad Guy 1: “You killed the secretary of defense!”

Tea Party Mini-Boss Villain: “He wasn’t doing a good job.”

Most Obnoxious Product Placement?

“Get your hands off of my Jordans!”. When the Commander-in-Chief must kick ass, he only does so wearing Air Jordans by Nike.

Stupid Political Fantasy:

This film is the embodiment of West Hollywood naiveté about Barack Obama. If only he had the balls to fire rocket launchers while doing donuts with the Presidential Limousine on the White House Lawn, then our leader would be able to achieve world peace, bring the troops home, and tell the defense industry to go fuck itself. A centrist liberal fascist fantasy, where John Boehner is led away in handcuffs snarling about how he would have gotten away with it,too,  if it weren’t for those live-blogging kids with their meddling YouTube!


Aspiring Secret Service cadet Channing Tatum is taking his daughter, Princess Trivia (Joey King), to work. Unfortunately they visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Worst Case Scenario Day. A conspiracy, consisting of Blackwater Mercenary (Jason Clarke), Tea Party Racist (Kevin Rankin), Four Chan/Anonymous Hacker (Jimmi Simpson), Neo-Con, and Disgruntled Bureaucrat, seize the White House in the first step of their scheme to (a) Steal $400 Million from the Federal Reserve/(b) Kill the President (c) HACK THE INTERNETS! ALL OF THEM! FOR TEH LULZ!, (d) Institute a coup, (e) Nuke Iran, and (e) Point Guns at the Heads of Little Girls While Yelling.

As Tatum races to rescue the miniature exposition machine that is his progeny, Tatum rescues President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). They team up to alternately elude and ambush the terrorists. The President coaches Tatum about gaining respect from his daughter, and Tatum helps the President with a valuable life lesson about providing covering fire with sub-machine guns. If only Roland Emmerich had secured Bruce Willis for this project, this movie could have been called Die Hard With a Vengeance on the Fourth of July. The Al Powell role, aka the benevolent outside authority figure, is Secret Service Agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who directs our heroes from plot point to plot point. The film then functions as an extra-violent tour of the White House. Here’s the Lincoln Bedroom, where gunshots are routinely exchanged, and this is the Oval Office, where the President shivs treacherous bureaucrats with his executive pen.

Interesting Novelty Deaths:

Bludgeoned to death with an antique mantel clock. Evil Overlord Rule #239: Neither myself nor my minions shall ever wear a necklace, belt, or bandolier festooned with grenades, or other explosives, where the pins/detonators are within easy reach of anyone near me. If explosives are needed, they will be carried in well-sealed containers.


What You Learned:

The only thing that keeps Barack Obama from being a truly great President is that he doesn’t run around with a silenced AR-15 capping Tea-Party militia types. If only Channing Tatum could teach our POTUS to assert himself, this country could be great again.

Also, this film gave me the premonition that Channing Tatum may one day serve political office in the state of California. He’s blandly charismatic while still managing to be generic and forgettable. Perfectly suited for a figurehead position. 

Fair Value of this film: $2.72. If White House Down were playing on TV, I wouldn’t turn it off right away.

About Devon Pack

I wanted to write with Ruthless because frankly rancor, contempt and dismay are my best muses.