JOHN Cale (Channing Tatum) is an ex-soldier, who is assigned to protect Speaker Of The House, Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins), when he would much rather be part of the Secret Service detail protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx).
An interview for promotion conducted by Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal) goes badly and John licks his wounds by joining his daughter Emily (Joey King) on a guided tour of the White House just as a heavily armed paramilitary group led by Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke) prepares to take control of the building.
White House Down is a preposterous, highoctane action thriller, which unfolds during a terrorist attack on the US President's iconic seat of power. The similarities to Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler are inescapable.
On the surface, the two films follow the same narrative trajectory, pitting a single man against hordes of gun-toting adversaries on a suicide mission to rescue the stricken President from diabolical captors.
Both films cower in the shadow of nuclear armageddon but White House Down boasts more creativity with its protracted action sequences, including a hysterically overblown car chase around the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, replete with the President leaning out of a moving vehicle armed with a rocket launcher.
Tatum dodges bullets at every explosive turn while Foxx manages to retain his presidential cool.
Screenwriter James Vanderbilt provides director Roland Emmerich with the full array of cliches and contrivances, including a cherubic child in peril and at least one traitor in the upper echelons of power.