White House Down
Rated PG-13. Opens Friday at the AMC Van Ness 14 and the AMC Metreon.
"Die Hard in the White House" seems like an obvious movie pitch, but it took 25 years for effects technology (and the Québec Film Production Services Tax Credit) to allow Roland Emmerich to make the deeply goofy yet surprisingly entertaining White House Down. A wannabe Secret Service agent (Channing Tatum) tries to protect the President (Jamie Foxx as an Obama-type who actually has the courage of his convictions) during a terrorist takeover of the White House, and the picture follows the Die Hard template to such an extent that there's no way it isn't an elaborate joke. Or, more likely, executive producer Tatum channeling his inner 8-year-old, the one who wanted to grow up to be Bruce Wills, wearing a sweaty wife-beater and outrunning machine gun fire (there is no bullet he can't outrun!) and fighting bad guys and generally saving the day. In a summer of dirges like World War Z and Man of Steel that defy audiences to have a good time, White House Down is borderline old-fashioned, aspiring to be just a big dumb crowd-pleasing action movie. Even when it tries to be serious, such as the subtext-as-text dialogue about the military-industrial complex, the picture can't help but be silly. And that's not a bad thing.