Cocktails and Movies Review: White House Down – Emmerich Has Fallen

Cocktails and Movies Battles It Out To Save The White House Again… Albeit With Varying Results.

cocktails and movies white-house-down

Bad Boys of The Beltway

On one of the most important days in America’s history, just as President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is ready to pull all of his troops out of the Middle East and pursue peace, an attack is launched that disrupts the seat of government. Only one man can defeat the thugs trying to strong arm the President… Officer John Cale (Channing Tatum). Wait… haven’t we done this dance before? In fact, and this could just be me, but I think I reviewed a movie just like this back in April.

The best thing that you could tell someone who’s going to see White House Down is not to see Olympus Has Fallen first. Watching the opening act of this movie, I couldn’t help but feel that the opening set up of this movie was not as effective as the later film. While Olympus opted for a more visceral, much more brutal attack on the White House (and Washington D.C. in general), White House Down goes the Roland Emmerich route of destroying a national landmark to let us know the situation is serious. In fact, it seems as if Emmerich wants to bring back memories of his greatest success by directly name-checking Independence Day in a gag involving a particularly wise-cracking White House tour guide. (Who is one of the stand-out characters in this flick.)

Once the initial siege and Cale’s initial gambit to take back the White House are in play, the film manages to exceed its rather weak opening by playing the humorous angle. There are more punchlines, call backs, and laugh lines in this film than the White House siege before it. Throughout these humorous moments, Tatum and Foxx manage to carry the film quite well, with Channing doing the heavy lifting as the McClaine of the moment, and doing it with style. Still, even with a decent supporting cast, there are WAY too many people in play with a story that should have been pared down for efficient action and thrills.

It’s as if an episode from Season 6 of the Fox TV show 24 (the worst one on record) went horribly wrong, with enough players and governmental clauses/powers being used to cover the entire genre’s tropes in one film. Just when you think there’s one way for the story to play out, you find out that it’s only a red herring for something to happen later on. Not to mention, there’s one HUGE moment towards the end of the film that basically sinks the ending of what was shaping up to be a decent film. I’m not going to spoil it here, but if you’ve seen The Patriot (another Emmerich picture) you’ll notice a rather familiar “AMERICA!” moment that’s cribbed directly from that picture.

White House Down isn’t a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. It’s enjoyable, it’s fun, and there are a lot of well known faces to keep you entertained. (James Woods is pretty fun in this flick, too. So much fun, it’d be a sin not to mention him in this review.) Ultimately though, the movie is inferior to Olympus Has Fallen because it doesn’t take itself as seriously (or joke around as effectively) as that film did. Roland Emmerich needs to take a long, hard look at the mistakes he’s been making lately, simply because if he thinks he’s going to get people to see not one but TWO Independence Day sequels, he needs to remember what went right with that film and what went wrong with almost every film he’s made after that point. It could have been worse I guess… they could have forced a sub-par 3D conversion on top of everything else.

Cocktails and Movies Rating: 3 out of 5 El Presidentes

El Presidente

“A stiff pour of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, combined with a dash of Cointreau and fresh Lime Juice. Topped with Sour Soda, and served over ice.”

Thanks to the 42 Lounge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for having their awesome drink specials, as well as throwing parties for upcoming event movies. Something tells me we should partner up with these folks in the future, when we’ve expanded out into Mid-West territories.