John Kale (even his name echoes John McClane...) REALLY wants to be a member of the secret service for the President. After all, that's the only way to get his ten-year-old daughter who he keeps missing talent recitals for to love and respect him. Because protecting the speaker of the House is CLEARLY not a cool or respected job. Oh and Channing Tatum has a TEN YEAR OLD?? That baby-faced man we're supposed to believe already has a history? I guess he got his hippie girlfriend pregnant when he was 18...(actually the movie lists him as 33...which is his actual age, but still!) So in an effort to lessen the anger of his daughter in missing the recital, he decides to take her along to the job interview at the white house (because who doesn't bring their kids to job interviews?), and then on a nice little tour of said house. Cue the plot of Die Hard with a disgruntled Head of the Secret Service played by James Woods taking on the Hans Gruber role (and who can do that justice but Alan Rickman?) Channing, your "everyday" guy, happens to be in the right place at the right time as terrorists take over the White House and attempt to take the President, Jamie Foxx hostage. Just swap out estranged wife being taken hostage for estranged daughter and we're good to go. At least she has the plucky White House tour guide to keep her company as opposed to the smarmy businessman that always hits on Holly Genaro.
The main difference? Well, obviously the political factor in a post 9/11 world makes the film a bit more interesting (and even unsettling) than it should be. The setting change is definitely the biggest thing in its favor and keeps it from being a blatant ripoff (haha who am I kidding? It still is.) But, what I'm saying is that it was an interesting scenario to watch. The other thing the film does to try and make its mark? Explosions. And lots of them. The only way to comprehend what I mean by that is to post a list my pal Amelia generously made for me, listing (in a creative fashion) the many explosions in the film. CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD. And I'm not gonna white these ones out because...well the film is predictable enough as it is and you might as well read them for a laugh anyway. Or not. Your choice.
THE LIST OF EXPLOSIONS IN WHITE HOUSE DOWN
The Iconic building explosion (Capitol Building)
The wear your grenades as a necklace technique
The classic car flip and burn
Machine gun meets poorly positioned flammable material storage area
The "Oops my own bomb killed me!"
The "I told you they had missiles"
The "No really did you not see those missiles?"
The Sunset Ruiner AKA bright flame against blue sky AKA when they bombed that plane mid-air
The Kick it Back (when that guy rolls the grenade back at him under the piano)
Tank vs infrastructure
Moving Rocket meets unmovable wall
Honorable Mention for other explosion-esque moments:
The fire that wished it was an explosion
Car vs national treasure
Giant machine guns vs cars
When planes fall
Thanks, Amelia! Do you see how preposterous this is??? But I can't deny it's a perfect popcorn flick (chock full of unintentional laughs)....for the dollar theater. It does run a little long, but it IS pretty entertaining. EMILY RATING: EDIT: At the urging of Kent....I probably would drop it down to a 5.5, but in all conscience can't drop it lower because it was too dang entertaining.