The latest in a string of political thrillers out this summer has a plot similar to the earlier-released Olympus Has Fallen. And just like Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down doesn’t take a pass at any gratuitous violence. That being said, when comparing the two movies in which the White House comes under attack, White House Down is head and shoulders above Olympus Has Fallen.
White House Down stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx; Tatum is a US Capitol Police officer assigned to the detail protecting the Speaker of the House, Foxx is President of the United States.
To avoid spoiling the plot or taking any of the suspense out of the movie, I’ll avoid a shot-by-shot summary. You really ought to see it for yourself, but if you choose to take a pass, you can find the full summary and character list on IMDB.
In the meantime, here are four takeaways from White House Down.
For a movie starring ultra-liberal Jamie Foxx, a person who has tirelessly worked to defend Trayvon Martin while vilifying American gun owners, there’s an awful lot of violence. If you’re familiar with the TV series ‘24,’ the WFPM (weapons fired per minute) rate is approximately doubled by my estimation. Not exactly what you’d expect from someone who appeared in an anti-gun PSA.
At one point in the rising action when the Pentagon is working to determine who is behind the attacks on the Capitol building and White House, the assailants are identified as “right-wing” activists who belong to a white supremacy group. This could be based on a number of real white supremacy groups who have repeatedly expressed their views on President Obama’s race. It could also be a jab at conservatives over the misconception that criticism of President Obama is derived from racist hatred. I’ll say again, I don’t care what color your skin is, I care what you do to my country and its future.
White House Down writers didn’t play favorites with real life connections – in one scene where Foxx and Tatum are in the president’s personal residence looking for a satellite phone, Foxx rummages through a bedside table filled with Nicorette gum used to help people stop smoking. Pretty clearly a reference to Obama’s ongoing attempts to kick his own tobacco habit.
In a pretty clear-cut argument for the second amendment and private gun ownership, Tatum asks Foxx if he has any guns in the private residence, and Foxx responds that the Secret Service agents are always there to protect them, but that there are pretty big knives in the kitchen. This supports the argument that having a gun in your home or on your person is necessary when law enforcement protection isn’t readily available or takes too long to respond.
All in all, White House Down is a movie that elicits shouts of “Merica” and even though it’s a bit far fetched, hits close to home. In this post-9/11 world, anytime symbolic American buildings come under attack, one can’t help but flashback to images of the Pentagon or World Trade Center being attacked. With that said, this political thriller does a good job mixing violent shoot-em-up scenes with a strong back story, not to mention the numerous twists and turns that kept me guessing.
It’s a patriotic movie that shows American excellence, something I can never get enough of. After all, what’s more patriotic than Channing Tatum bleeding and bruised in a tank top diving across a piano in the White House while shooting bad guys with huge guns or Maggie Gyllenhaal as a clean-cut secret service agent with her voice staying cool through the whole ordeal? Not much, and this movie has plenty to offer for anyone who loves a good shoot-em-up action movie with twists, turns, and plenty of political background.