Independence Day director Roland Emmerich has destroyed the planet numerous times (2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla), so it was probably just an oversight that he had never made a film whose sole purpose was to take down the White House brick-by-brick. Channing Tatum is less a dancing machine more GI Joe shooter as Cale, an ex-military dude who visits POTUS' place for two things: interview for Secret Service detail and, more importantly, try to impress his daughter Emily (Joey King) by bringing her along.
Oh, and the president is Jamie Foxx. Once
Olympus the White House falls, both Cale and Emily are trapped inside with the prez, hostages and some very bad men.
Emmerich brings his typical more-is-more approach to blowing stuff up, but the cast and the surprisingly light tone is what makes this summer flick a fun, check-your-brain-at-the-door way to stay out of the sun and inside a icebox-cool theater.
The film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins and Garcelle Beauvais as the first lady. And here are 5 big things to know before the fireworks begin.
1. Only 30 Minutes Before Tatum Takes Off Cumbersome Suit. Tatum looks Secret Service-ready in black. But once he takes it off, the real gun show begins. He never gets completely shirtless amidst the mayhem, but we'll take what we can get.
2. Jamie Foxx: A President and His Jordans. Looking presidential equals wearing glasses. Wearing Air Jordans equals Mr. Foxx Goes to Washington. Foxx leaves the Rambo antics to Tatum, for the most part.
3. The Adorable Blogger. Emily doesn't like calling her hard news site the B word. Her interview with the president is beyond cute. Her viral video of the terrorists unmasked is vital to taking them down. She has all the makings of a career reporter, but if not, her mom is a former vampire (Rachelle Lefevre) so there's that. Fun fact: Actress Joey King played a hostage of sorts before in Batman Begins!
4. The Political Intrigue Is Pretty Silly. Why are Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and a host of other ex-patriots storming the castle? Is it just for the $400 million that the U.S. Treasury has on any given day? Or a more personal one? Why can't Broyles from Fringe (Lance Reddick) get along with Finnerty (Gyllenhaal) in the top-secret war room? Where are Toby, Josh and CJ when America needs them most?
5. Fun, But Overlong: Too Many Climaxes. A White House downed, a crazy car chase on the lawn, Gatling guns and not a window unshattered. Even after all that, there's still twist-upon-twist as the action in the final 40 minutes never lets up. Still, Tatum's awe shucks charm abides. His outing outdoes John McClane's recent stint in Russia.