The big flicks keep rolling out now that it’s summer blockbuster season. White House Down looks like the splashiest debut of the week, as it boasts Independence Day director Roland Emmerich as well as stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Tatum plays U.S. Capitol Police officer John Cale, a failed Secret Service hopeful who must rescue President James Sawyer (Foxx) after a paramilitary group led by Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke) overtakes the White House.
With lots of flashy action and a loaded premise – not to mention, a director who’s taken on the White House in spectacular fashion before – how does White House Down stack up for Peter Travers? Not so well, unfortunately. “As I’m telling you [the story], you’re probably sitting there saying, ‘Huh, didn’t I just see this movie? Wasn’t there just a movie a few months ago called Olympus Has Fallen?'” Travers asks. “This is the same damn movie. . . [The idea] couldn’t sustain one movie, how can it sustain two?”
However, White House Down only gets worse from there. “[This movie] really makes me angry,” Travers says. For starters, Foxx, after turning in an impressive performance in Django Unchained, acts like he’s just out for a paycheck, and there’s also some ridiculous product placement that throws off the film’s vibe. But the worst part: the storyline regarding Cale’s daughter, in which the young girl is caught in the White House and constantly threatened with weapons. “She’s a Disney kid!” says Travers, who chalks it up to lazy filmmaking and an easy grab at suspense. “White House Down is vile.”