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White House Down


Stars: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, Jason Clarke, Nicolas Wright, Joey King, Michael Murphy, Barbara Williams

Director: Roland Emmerich

Faster and funnier than the similar Olympus Has Fallen, this is absolutely hilarious from start to finish.

Separated from his wife, putative Secret Service agent John Cale (Tatum) is rejected by the White House's Finnerty (Gyllenhaal), but still goes to take his snippy 11-year-old daughter (King, a dead ringer for Chloe Grace Moretz) on a tour of the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, even as a group of mercenaries disguised as cleaners (I kid you not) infiltrate the president's palace and set off a massive explosion.

Guardian agents are even more swiftly dispatched than in Olympus, and it quickly becomes apparent that the instigator of the attack is none other than the great white Secret Service chief James Woods himself.

Naturally, Tatum and daughter escape the ensuing mayhem and he goes to find the president (Foxx) - whose Middle East peace plan has proved unpopular with many government departments - while she takes cellphone pictures of the perpetrators which somehow find their way on to national television (didn't quite follow that bit).

Undeterred by the massacre around her, one PA tells the prez anxiously: 'Sir, the stock market is collapsing'. A case of priorities, obviously.

Soon, the prez is presumed dead, and the vice-prez (Murphy) takes over, only to have Air Force One shot down by a missile, handing the reins of power to the Speaker of the House (Jenkins), who orders a strike on the White House before the bad guys can launch missiles against Iran.

Sillinesses abound, far too many to list here, and there are guffaws galore, some of them even intentional. By the time the little girl appears on the White House lawn waving a huge flag to avert the aerial attack, I guarantee you'll be on the floor. Immensely entertaining and full of career-worst performances; I quite literally laughed until I cried.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by deluxe/Technicolor.
130 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 08 Sep 2013