White House Down (2013)

This is not Olympus Has Fallen. Instead of a trained Secret Service agent protecting the president from a group of armed gunmen with both an internal and external component, this movie is about a private security professional who WANTS to be a secret Service guy who winds up protecting the president from a group of armed gunmen with both an internal and external component.

This whole idea is especially odd, as the security guy (played by Channing Tatum) is employed to protect the Speaker of the House. This is a role typically filled by actual Secret Service members. Through a series of stupid, stupid circumstances, Channing finds himself as the only armed man in a position to protect the president when all hell breaks loose.

Channing's daughter is a know-it-all who keeps spouting facts about the white house and eventually posts inside video to her blog. What I find odd is that she isn't particularly adorable or even correct in her fact-spouting. She claims that the presidential limo, for example, is a modified Cadillac CTS (which she read on Wikipedia). In fact, Wikipedia says that it is a DTS, and that is also wrong. It is actually a bespoke vehicle built on a truck platform and retroactively made to look kind of like a Cadillac.

When I recommended this movie to a friend who has military and security experience, I cautioned him to simply wait for the appropriate time that something completely unbelievable happened on screen, pause the movie, complain loudly to whomever happens to be around, then un-pause the movie and enjoy with complete suspension of disbelief. There are technical errors ranging from bulletproof glass shattering when an SUV rolls, anti-tank missiles being used to blow up helicopters, RPGs being used to destroy M1 Abrams tanks, tactical errors, deployment errors, and lot and lots of other things that actually make this a difficult movie to watch. If you have a damn tank platoon, you don't send ONE tank in and give up when an RPG somehow manages to do enough damage to immobilize it.

Seriously? The presidential limo has a chrome rocket launcher behind the back seats? SERIOUSLY?

This is a movie to just head into with no expectation of reality creep. I found that thinking of the whole thing like it was a cartoon made it a lot easier to take. Much like Transformers, if I expect no realism in a movie, I can ignore all sorts of off the wall, unrealistic nonsense with a smile and another swig from whichever beer happens to be at hand.

Acting was pretty good.
Effects were a bit mixed, but mostly good.
Realism was horrendous.
Direction was good.
Dialogue was very good.
Story was a mixed bag, but entirely unrealistic.



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