Obviously it was clear how this movie got made, in a meeting somewhere someone said “Die Hard in the White House”… That is essentially what this movie is. I will be upfront about this movie, it has problems, at many points it has loads of problems, but still it’s so much fun and executes the action scenes so well you almost just ignore the bumps in the road. The film opens with secret service agent Mike Banning(Gerard Butler) failing to save the First Lady from a car accident, even though he’s good friends with the President(Aaron Eckhart) he is demoted. Then of course the White House is attacked and then taken over by terrorists and Banning is the only hope to save the President and possibly… THE COUNTRY!
Somehow this movie has the cast of all casts, not only Butler and Eckhart but we get Melissa Leo and Morgan Freeman, the villain is played by Rick Yune who actually really stands out here. The actors all really give their all here which is interesting since the movie really is a B-Action movie. The best part of the film is seeing how the bad guys take the White House down, there are many moments where you’ll have to suspend your sense of reality. The bad guys fly a giant plane over DC, somehow avoid every missile fired at them, it rains bullets down on the White House and streets around it. Then as it crashes it takes the Washington Monument down as well. Then on the ground a wave of gun men dressed as tourists attack. This part is where you should just sit back and realize how silly the movie is. Somehow EVERY secret service agent runs outside likes drones to mowed down by machine gun fire. I get they had to do something to make it so Gerard Butler is the only guy left in the White House, but still it’s really silly.
The bad guys are North Koreans faking they are South Koreans. This is how Rick Yune’s character gets inside the bunker with the President. Using him and every staff member around him as hostages, they hold off the American military. The movie tries to tip toe around the North Koreans involvement and hint at the bad guys are working on their own. Whatever you never really care why the bad guys are doing what they are doing, the fact they are so brutal in their attack makes you understand they are bad dudes.
The rest of the movie is a lot of fun. It never holds back with the violence. Butler eats up his role as the hero here and you will love following him on his mission to take back the White House. The film does use a lot of weird CGI for bigger action set pieces, those involving planes or helicopters, it stands out and is frankly horrible. Still the movie does avoid general PG-13 action movie problems, the President has a young son in the White House, the film could have had some eye rolling scenes with the son sticking with Butler all film, instead the kid is used for one key plot point and then is never really used again, which was a breath of fresh air.
You must understand that this movie is silly going in, it’s over the top and in many places it doesn’t even make a lot of sense. Still the fact the movie never tries to be anything more than it is, the action is so solid I just really enjoyed myself. The actors alone should be thanked, without them the movie would be bland, but with these people involved everything pops and just feels right.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10