With the success of Olympus Has Fallen this past weekend, the onus is on Roland Emmerich and Sony to prove that their own White House invasion movie White House Down, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, is up to the task of coming out after that and still feeling fresh.
In order to show their hand, Sony threw an official launch party to give a couple hundred lucky fans the first look at the trailer and eight minutes of footage, with Jamie Foxx and director Roland Emmerich on hand at New York’s Regal Union Square and Tatum piped in via satellite from London.
They answered a few questions and showed the teaser trailer (which you can watch below) with one major noticeable difference being that this attack comes from within with Tatum and Emmerich likening it more to a coup then a foreign invasion, Tatum drawing parallels to the way the country is currently split between Red and Blue States. (The teaser opens with a great Abraham Lincoln quote which is cut in a way that makes it feel like the normal text we might seen in a teaser trailer.) Foxx amused the fans with his Obama impression while stressing that he is not playing President Obama in the movie.
But let’s get to the eight minutes of footage which, unlike the trailer, won’t be online anytime soon. It opens with a group of helicopters flying towards the White House. This is the President’s convoy and as it lands on the White House lawn, we get our first glimpse of Jamie Foxx’s President James Sawyer with Maggie Gyllenhaal as his head of Secret Service at his side.
Tatum plays Capitol police officer Sgt. John Kale, who when we meet him is driving with his teen daughter (played by Joey King, who voiced China Girl in Oz The Great and Powerful). She doesn’t seem too interested in what he’s saying until he produces two tickets to the White House tour, saying that they’re going there for his job interview. After John turns in his gun at security, we see a little of that interview with Gyllenhaal, but it doesn’t go well. John doesn’t tell his daughter that though.
As they go on the tour, we cut to a couple shots of what are clearly explosives and a timer. The tour guide makes a comment about the dome portion of the White House being the part that was destroyed in Independence Day–yup, a Roland Emmerich inside joke for his fans–and of course, that’s exactly when the explosives go off, razing the dome as we see in the trailer.
We then see Tatum sneaking around the corridors of the White House holding a machine gun–not quite as confident as Gerard Butler who knows those halls intimately from his time on the President’s detail–but he finds where they’re holding the President and takes out his kidnappers… WAY faster than in “Olympus” we should add.
Next, they’re in the elevator shaft trying to escape and the President tells John there’s a secure line out of the White House, pointing up to a floor above them in the shaft when asked where it is. When they get there, the President reaches into his closet for a new pair of shoes, but then changes his mind and grabs some sneakers instead, which got a big laugh.
We then get to see Tatum fighting with some of the terrorist goons and the President even gets in on the action, holding up a machine gun at John as he fights with a terrorist. John stabs his assailant with a knife then tells the President to fire. At one point, the President is on the ground struggling with another attacker who grabs his feet and he yells, “Don’t touch the Jordans!”
Apparently, the terrorists have made it so that any rescue attempt would force them to destroy the White House and everyone left inside including the President, John and his daughter, who is not with them. We see a couple of failed rescue attempts, a plane and a bunch of helicopters blown out of the sky.
The next bit of footage shows the two of them in the Presidential state car driving fast, presumably away from the White House, and the President is holding a rocket launcher that he shoots at the gate as they blast through and he accidentally hits Tatum with the butt of the rocket launcher. In another bit, we see their limo flip over and crash upside down into a pool with the rest of the quickly-cut sizzle reel footage cut to a very cool cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.”
Sure, there’s a lot of footage in what we saw that looks like it could be something out of “Olympus”–like the rescuing Seal Team Six helicopter being blasted out of the sky and taking out the flag on top the White House–but the real selling point will be the characters played by Foxx and Tatum and their chemistry, which gives the movie more of a buddy cop feel than “Olympus.”
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