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White House Down (0/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 134 minutes.

Not for children.

Director Roland Emmerich is the master of the cartoon movie, aimed at people perfectly willing to suspend belief in the laws of physics. The only thing that separates his movies from a Roadrunner cartoon is that the characters are not animated (although there might be some question about Channing Tatum). His masterpiece, up until now, has been Day After Tomorrow (2004), in which he had one have his characters, a scientist, exclaim, “the temperature is plunging ten degrees a second!,” which would mean that absolute zero (-459.67°) would be reached in 55 seconds(assuming a starting temperature of 70°), at which point all life on earth would cease to exist, as would the movie. Couldn’t he have had somebody exclaim, “the temperature is dropping one degree every three minutes" (20 degrees an hour), which would have been a disaster, but something that was not patently absurd?

His new one, White House Down, is full of such absurdities. He has Channing Tatum and Jason Clarke plunge through a glass skylight and fall 30 feet, each landing on his back. When this happened, I leaned to my friend and said, “Now they will jump up and continue fighting,” which they did without a scratch or any effect from such a terrible fall showing. If a fall like that didn’t kill somebody, it would break a lot of bones and render him unable to do virtually anything, much less continue the vicious fight. I’m not going to waste my time listing all the ridiculous scenes in this truly silly movie. Just take my word for it that they abound, especially one part of the ludicrous ending. Bullets fly all over the place, killing hundreds of extras, but they never even nick Tatum or his obnoxious daughter, Joey King (who actually gives a good performance given the cliché-strewn script with which she had to work).

But that’s not what is the most scurrilous part of this film. Who do you think the bad guys are who take over the White House for nefarious reasons? During World War II the bad guys in movies were always Nazis and Japanese, with whom we were locked in mortal combat. Now we are locked in mortal contact with Islamic extremists (if that is not redundant), but when today’s Hollywood makes a movie about bad guys taking over the White House, and this is not the first one this year (Olympus Has Fallen, an almost identical film, beat this to the theaters), the bad guys are not Islamic extremists.

No, since this movie is made by the Hollywood left (Emmerich has contributed to and helped fundraise major bucks for the Democrats, Clintons, and Obama), the bad guys are, guess who? They are the American military-industrial complex, surprise, surprise! According to President Jamie Foxx, they are against Foxx’s silly idea, straight out of the Neville Chamberlain-Jimmy Carter-Barrack Obama playbook, of getting all the bad guys in the world, like Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea reasoning together so that we can all live in a peaceful world. It presumes their peaceful intentions and that America is just a war mongering evil.

If that happens, according to Foxx, there will be no reason to arm for war and the military industrial complex will lose a lot of money, so they’ve got to get rid of President Foxx. There is even a line in the movie, if you can believe it, which has President Foxx saying, “There were no nuclear weapons in Iran,” as if everyone in the audience buys the lies of Iran’s ruling Islamic hierarchy that they are not developing a nuclear bomb. I guess that Emmerich and screenwriter James Vanderbilt do accept the good faith of Iran’s ruling mullahs and buy into Iran’s “peaceful” pronouncements, however, because in the end, that’s what this movie is about. People are entitled to their opinions and to contribute to those with whom they agree, but they should not foist them on an unsuspecting audience going to a movie for entertainment.

This type of foolishness runs through the entire film. I’m surprised that James Woods, who has heretofore been known for his relatively level-headed political beliefs, would lend his name and talent to a film that puts forth such propaganda.

Despite the impressive special effects, even without the silly biased political slant, this movie is so ridiculous with so many laughable scenes, many revolving around Tatum’s wooden acting, that it could almost pass as a comedy.

June 24, 2013