Here we go again. For the second time this year, Hollywood is giving us an action flick that revolves around a group of terrorists easily seizing the White House and the lone hero trapped within trying to stay alive, save the president and, in essence, save the world. Although the concepts of the two movies are exactly identical, the two couldn’t be any more different in executed style and tone.
Olympus Has Fallen placed Gerard Butler in the heroic Die Hard-esque role, but White House Down has given it to Channing Tatum. Olympus took a dark, gritty and very R-rated approach to the story, but that of White House Down is campy, comedic and fluffy, perfect for PG-13 blockbuster appeal. While Olympus went for mouthy John McClane laughs, WHD employs cheesiness, over-the-top unbelievable action and a constant tongue-in-cheek vibe.
At this point, director Roland Emmerich is no longer trying to make movies that are actually good. He appears to be caught up in his own stereotype of making big-budget nonsensical action movies. Just as Sam Raimi did with his first Evil Dead sequel, Emmerich is now intentionally adding layers of campiness in an attempt to drive out the laughs.
Even if you enjoy White House Down, there’s no denying that it’s actually a completely stupid movie. It’s the one movie this year that will make you bounce back and forth from laughing with it to laughing at it – but it simply doesn’t matter because you’re having a great time. If you can shut off your mind for two-and-a-half hours (yes, it’s that long), then you’re going be entertained.
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures