Friday, 28 June 2013

AMERICA UNDER ATTACK: An over-the-top premise aside, White House Down delivers tall action and explosive thrills

DEEP COVER: Tatum (as Cale) and Foxx (as President Sawyer).

Roland Emmerich, the director who helmed the now iconic Independence Day (a sequel is in the works) loves blowing stuff up. Now he's set his sights on the home of the US President, no less, which makes for a riveting focal point in White House Down, a far-fetched tale of treason and intrigue but ultimately a watchable, edge-of-your-seat action thriller. 

You don't have to be conversant with the finer details of the plot to grasp that enemies of the state are on the loose in this solidly acted, deliberately paced film, and before long the Commander-in-Chief himself (Jamie Foxx) is literally caught in the crossfire. 

Channing Tatum is the movie's noble hero John Cale, a likeable Everyman employed as a security detail for the Secretary of State but eyeing a heftier role in the Secret Service. As fate would have it, he faces the ultimate test when an explosion inside the White House sets off a life-and-death, panic-inducing sequence of events, made all the more harrowing and personal when Cale's bright young daughter (Joey King) is among those taken hostage by the ruthless terrorists. 

Solid performances come from the star-packed cast, not least among them Foxx (extremely Obama-esque) and Tatum (fast developing an impressive body of work) who together share a fine chemistry that goes a long in keeping things buoyant. Given that I enjoy almost everything they appear in, Maggie Gyllenhaal (as a dedicated presidenial liasion), Richard Jenkins (as the defense secretary) and James Woods (a retiring White House stalwart) bring class and conviction to what could have been thankless roles. 

But in the end, Emmerich's well-choreographed, dizzying action sequences are what emerge as the real showstoppers, which like the film itself, are equal parts terrifying and thrilling. Tyrone's Verdict: B

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