Can a movie be preposterous and involving at the same time? Start with a fellow who has just been rejected for the Secret Service at the White House and his little girl who was thrilled to go along with Daddy to this storied place, as they are swept into a hosted White House tour. Now mix in some high level terrorists capturing the White House with ruthless violence and the answer is "Yes" for one simple reason: We have someone to root for.
This PG-13 outing directed by Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day" this guy LOVES to blow up the White House!) is another CGI fest that has an adequate (but predictable) 100-minute story that is beefed up to 131 minutes with endless gunfights, fist fights and blowie uppie stuff. Granted there must be some fierce fighting, given the topic, but enough is enough!
These folks did a fine job:
- * Channing Tatum ("Magic Mike") is Cale, the fellow who takes his daughter with him to the White House. Cale is a veteran of three tours in the mid-East, so he is no stranger to military tactics.
- * Jamie Foxx ("Django") is President Sawyer, earnest and frightened but dedicated to the IDEA of America, not to just one individual.
- * Joey King ("Ramona and Beezus") is Emily, a little girl with a cell phone. She gets separated from Daddy and is scared to death when she sees what's happening, but she's made of pretty stern stuff.
- * Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Hysteria") is Finerty, an official with the CIA; she has just rejected Cale for that security job.
- * James Woods ("Jobs") is Walker, the head of the CIA. He is smart and focused, but may be ill....
- * Michael Murphy (Lots of TV) is Vice President Hammond, whisked off to Air Force One for safe keeping.
- * Richard Jenkins ("Jack Reacher") is Raphelson, Speaker of the House. If the President and Vice President are annihilated, the Constitution says this modest fellow is next in line.
- * Jason Clarke ("The Great Gatsby") is once again, extremely effective as a bad guy. Stentz is a paramilitary leader, powerful, smart and determined to win this audacious power grab.
- * Nicolas Wright (Lots of TV) provides delicious bits of humor as Donnie the Guide, a gabby fellow who leads White House tours.
Despite over-the-top violence, we enjoy little bits of humor and appreciate the in-depth tour of the White House. Brace yourself for unexpected twists, no sweaty bodies and surprisingly little profanity. Be aware that key plot points are whispered while victims are hiding from armed thugs, so if you have any hearing problems, find a theater that offers closed captions, or wait for the DVD.
Always remember to suspend disbelief!