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White House Down(2013)
While on a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman springs into action to save his child and protect the president from a heavily armed group of paramilitary invaders.
For more about White House Down and the White House Down Blu-ray release, see White House Down Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 27, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: James Vanderbilt
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, Joey King
» See full cast & crew
White House Down Blu-ray Review
Roland Emmerich has fallen.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 27, 2013
Spectacle filmmaker Roland Emmerich likes his big time action, his epic scale, and his mass destruction. He trashed the globe in 2012, he blew up the White House and nuked Houston in Independence Day, and he flooded and froze New York in The Day After Tomorrow. He's the undisputed king of epic Disaster movies, and as such it's sometimes easy to forget that he's made more focused, slightly more personal, more character-driven Action movies, too. Stargate, Universal Soldier, and The Patriot represent his escape from the large-scale Disaster film and foray into smaller, but not significantly less spectacular, Action fare. He returns to that latter style of movie in White House Down, a largely disappointing paint-by-numbers assault on both the White House and the audience's senses. It's big and macho to be sure, but it's so void of substance and so disappointingly routine that it never comes across as anything but a big dollar special effects show that occasionally depicts characters shooting, quipping, or yelling at one another. It's a serviceable Action film, but those looking for a more complex, authoritative Action escape should definitely look elsewhere, and particularly to the far superior "attack on the White House" movie of 2013, Olympus Has Fallen.
Capital Police Officer John Cale (Channing Tatum) aspires to become a secret service agent. He's on the detail for U.S. House Speaker Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins) but aspires to something greater. Unfortunately, his credentials don't paint a very flattering picture. He's seen as capable but a slacker, someone who can't get things done. He insists he's changed, but the prospects for landing the coveted position aren't promising. That's doubly disappointing because his estranged daughter Emily (Joey King) is in love with Washington, D.C. and the political system, and inside access would certainly bring her back closer to him. Cale earns some brownie points with his daughter when he secures them a pass for a White House tour, and things take a turn for the surreal when their group bumps into President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) who gives Emily a sound byte for her YouTube channel. Unfortunately, the good vibes are instantly drained when an explosion rocks the U.S. Capital building and heavily-armed men, already in position within the White House, take the tour group hostage. John manages to escape and takes the fight to the enemy, all the while fearing for his daughter's safety and finding himself defending none other than the President himself.
White House Down fluctuates between breezily entertaining and downright ridiculous. Unfortunately, the latter observation dominates. It never reaches the sort of heights for which the finest Action movies strive and it doesn't even come close to replicating the high quality escapism of its direct competition, Olympus Has Fallen. The picture plays like a very poorly realized recreation of Die Hard with the White House subbing for Nakatomi and lame digital effects replacing practical stunts. Substitute the estranged daughter for the estranged wife, replace the limo with the Presidential "beast," swap out Theo with Skip, get rid of one of cinema's most memorable villains and replace him with a politician or two, and, oh, why not, use some precision missiles to blow up some choppers carrying special forces to the scene. And none of it ever comes close to matching the majesty of Die Hard. Worse, one of the most critical scenes comes straight out of The Rock; just replace flares with a flag. The picture duplicates rather than innovates in almost every scene. It's admittedly action-packed but there's no life to it, no pride in the content. It's as straightforward and dumbed-down as these sorts of movies can be, a rather grating, "why even bother" experience that barely produces a pulse beyond the flashes at the end of its ceaselessly firing guns.
Almost worse is the film's constant abuse of the humor crutch. Nary a sequence goes by without some lame effort at generating a laugh from the audience, the film's obvious and desperate attempt to mask its lazy script and uninspired action. Ultimately, the bad efforts at humor only worsen the experience, not improve upon it. More, the acting does neither that humor nor the greater film any favors. The performances are dry and the emotion seems forced into every scene. The relationships are never believable and the confrontations feel staged rather than natural. Every character is painfully flat and so linearly structured that there's absolutely no surprise as to what happens to whom, how it happens, and why, all encapsulated in that The Rock ripoff scene at the end that comes across as the corny culmination of a completely disappointing movie. Granted, the actors never have much of a chance to improve on bad material, but they certainly don't do much to inject a positive energy, either. From Foxx and Tatum on down, there's a very stiff, by-the-book feel that runs through the movie. The final insult-to-injury comes in the form of the surprisingly poor special effects that look flat and very much the product of CGI. Nothing looks authentic; characters appear as if they've been Photoshopped into a number of scenes while digital vehicles look like plastic toys, both more than enough to detract from whatever tension, emotional content, or adrenaline any scene manages to create.
White House Down Blu-ray, Video Quality
Although many of the visual effects leave much to be desired, White House Down's Blu-ray transfer never falters. This is a very clean, perfectly defined image. Image clarity is outstanding in every scene, whether bright or darkened exteriors, shadowy shafts inside in the White House, or regal interiors lit by sun and artificial lamps. Detail is breathtaking; facial and clothing definition never wavers and all of the ornate furnishings inside the White House and the trees and grasses outside of it nearly pass for fully lifelike. Colors are bold and rich, appearing naturally defined in every scene. Bright blues and golds inside the White House look marvelous, while all of the natural greens outside sparkle. Skin textures never waver from lifelike, and black levels are rich and deep in every applicable scene. The image suffers from no perceptible noise, banding, or blocking. This is a stellar transfer from Sony.
White House Down Blu-ray, Audio Quality
White House Down explodes onto Blu-ray with a mesmerizing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. And how could a movie of this nature not sound terrific? Musical notes are consistently precise and beautifully fill the stage with even, accurate beats and seamless spacing. The track finds a nice bit of natural envelopment in its ambient effects, particularly in the way dialogue lightly echoes inside the White House during the tour. Minor exterior ambience supports a few of the calmer scenes, too, but the track makes its money with its action sounds. Alarms blare across the stage with excellent clarity. Gunfire erupts with authority; everything from handguns to heavy caliber automatic weapons rip through the stage with positive power and presence. Choppers and fighter jets realistically maneuver from speaker to speaker. Explosions pack a thunderous wallop. Every action scene is a delightful sonic experience; somehow, these sorts of listens just never get old, even if the on-screen material is as stale as year-old bread. Rounded into form by faultless dialogue reproduction, White House Down's lossless soundtrack is sure to please every Action audiophile.
White House Down Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
White House Down contains a variety of featurettes. However, no deleted scenes and no commentary tracks are included. Available are optional English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai subtitles.
White House Down Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
White House Down fails on nearly every level. The action proves terribly routine, the script falls short of mediocrity, the performances are flat, the humor is overbearing, there's not an original moment to be found, and most of the movie looks like it's made out of plastic or inside Photoshop. It's grossly inferior to Die Hard, never mind its "White House under siege" 2013 counterpart, Olympus Has Fallen. There is decent chemistry between Tatum and Foxx, but that's hardly enough to save one of the most disappointing Action films of the past several years. Sony's Blu-ray release of White House Down does feature genuinely fantastic video and audio. A healthy assortment of featurettes are included. Worth a rental as a companion piece to Olympus Has Fallen.
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White House Down Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: November 5-12 - November 2, 2013
For the week of November 5th, New Line and Warner Home Entertainment are bringing the extended version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to Blu-ray. Other titles include the sixth season of Mad Men, White House Down, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's Lovelace ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: October 29-November 5 - October 27, 2013
For the week of October 29th, Disney and Pixar Home Entertainment are bringing their hit prequel Monsters University to Blu-ray. Other titles include Universal Studios' major box-office flop R.I.P.D., Byzantium - Neil Jordan's return to vampire cinema - and La ...
• White House Down Blu-ray - September 4, 2013
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release on Blu-ray director Roland Emmerich's action thriller White House Down (2013), starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and James Woods. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores ...
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