White House Down is the White House under attack film that we've been unconsciously waiting for (action fans). Ever since the producers of this film were beaten to the punch by the folks who brought us the so-so version of this concept, 'Olympus Has Fallen'. 'White House Down' easily beats it in character development (quite a lot for an action thriller!), action sequences, and script imagination. The film has very good pacing at the beginning, a good, detailed action-oriented second act, and a very satisfying climax. It slows down only by what can be perceived as casting flaws. Jamie Fox doesn't convince anyone (I think) that he's capable of winning the White House. He lacks the suave coolness of the real President Obama. It feels like he's playing some other role, like 'Black Men Can't Jump' or something. Channing Tatum shines as the underdog wannabe presidential CIA agent and has really improved his overall acting skills (which include more facial expressions than just a blank stare). He looks and feels convincing as the successor to Stallone and / or Schwarzenegger as America's next big hunk with more than just an attitude-he can fight and save your ass!
Of course this is a Roland Emmerich film --the man who brought us 'Independence Day' and '2012', but he manages to pull off a non-egotistical film (slightly! There's one name drop / plug about 'Independence Day' during the film but it's context-suitable). He's mastering the techniques of the classic 1970's disaster films such as 'The Towering Inferno' and 'The Poseidon Adventure' by being able to deftly merge character development with explosions and assorted necessary special effects. Script-wise, the whole thing feels like a no-brainer. It's very informative (the script, highlights are the real-life facts given about the White House by a comedy-relief tour guide), and brief. Nothing feels excessive here (dialog wise). Another highlight of the film is the performance by classic character actor James Woods as the mastermind behind the attack on our nation's 'Presidential Palace'. He emotes damn well and his rage as a disgruntled American comes through quite effectively.
All in all a good way to spend a late night / early morning! Can't wait for the next Emmerich disaster adventure tale I must say.