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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Rashid Irani's review: White House Down

Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times   July 20, 2013
First Published: 00:08 IST(20/7/2013) | Last Updated: 09:54 IST(20/7/2013)

White House Down
Direction: Roland Emmerich
Actors: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx
Rating: *

Close on the heels of the similarly-themed Olympus Has Fallen, comes another president-in-peril adventure. Filled with as many plot twists as it has plot holes, White House Down is sillier than its predecessor.

It’s also much funnier, inadvertently so, of course. Carnage meister Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow) tends, as always, to cause as much physical damage as possible without generating a smidgen of sense or suspense.

Computer-enhanced effects unfold on a deafening scale with shootouts, explosions and a limousine wrecking chase on the lawns of the White House. The body count is ridiculously high.

Credibility takes a black seat from the get-go, when a Washington police officer (Tatum) taking a tour of the executive mansion with his daughter (Joey King) is stranded after the White House is invaded by home-grown terrorists.

In a token nod to the current occupant, the US commander-in-chief is portrayed as an Obama-esque leader (Foxx, displaying zero personality).

There are several references to the Die Hard films and the Bruce Willis character, John McClane. The saviour cop here is helpfully even named John Cale.

Dodging a barrage of bullets, McClane — sorry, Cale — strives against daunting odds to save his daughter, the prez and the planet’s populace from a nuclear holocaust.

The script, credited — believe it or blanch — to the Zodiac scribe James Vanderbilt hits rock bottom towards the numbingly jingoistic climax. Throughout, the characters have to struggle with stodgy dialogue of the Ed Wood variety.

The film sports a strong supporting cast, notably James Woods as the chief of security and Richard Jenkins as the Speaker of the House.

On the other hand, there aren’t any substantial roles for women including for Maggie Gyllenhaal as the sheepish secret service agent. A spectacle of the ludicrous kind, White House Down is a strict no-no.

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