Die House Hard? No, ‘White House Down’ (2013).

14 Sep

White House DownI propose a constitutional amendment: each release of a new Roland Emmerich movie initiates a public holiday. Work would be cancelled, phones held and cocktails served in the lobby, for his movies act as badly-needed injections of unbridled fun into our (understandably) cynical, miserable society. His latest venture, White House Down, is a traditionally ‘Emmerich’ movie in that everything, everywhere explodes.

Jamie Foxx refers to himself as merely “the leader of the Free World”, but this is code: he plays President Obama. All his Democrat talk of world peace and militaristic disarmament clearly rubbed an assorted bunch of fundies the wrong way, for the White House is attacked by terrorists. Architecture is levelled, hostages are taken and flag poles are knocked over but have no fear! A body guard and wannabe special forces agent played by Channing Tatum is here to save the day! Unfortunately, he is forced to juggle his duties as an American citizen to save the president with those of a dad, for his kid gets caught up in the chaos too. Cue two hours of brainless entertainment.

Mincing words helps nobody, so lets cut to the chase: this is a pants-on-head stoopid movie. The spectacular levelling of the White House is complimented by frequent shootouts, rocket launchers, double-crossings and car chases on the famously green lawn. But Emmerich expertly follows his own tradition of depicting what would realistically be horrifying events in the most light-heartedly infectious of ways; the carnage occasionally takes five while the bouncy interplay between the two leads fills the spotlight.

You may recall an earlier 2013 action film by the name of Olympus Has Fallen. Both are Die Hard deviants, but the difference between Emmerich’s latest and its Antoine Fuqua(Fuck You Ah!)-directed counterpart lies in the tonal department. That movie is super self-serious and overwhelmingly patriotic, which ultimately clashes with the ridiculous mayhem unfolding on screen. White House Down, on the other hand, is self-aware; it knows it’s a big, dumb action movie and absolutely revels in the fact. It’s like watching a particularly happy-go-lucky pig roll around in its own filth – it’s an entertaining sight to behold, and Porky himself is clearly having the time of his life.

Roland Emmerich, bless him, is perhaps the hackiest of all the hacks working at Hollywood today. He’s not an artist, but just like Liam Neeson in Taken, he has a very specific set of skills. And boy howdy does he know how to use them.

Simon says: In Emmerich We Trust.

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