Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 131 minutes
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins, James Woods
Stop me if you've heard this one: Terrorists seize the White House, and only a loner cop and a brave young kid stand between them and their nefarious goal of …
Wait, why didn't you stop me? Because so far, that plotline mirrors precisely the story lines of both Olympus Has Fallen, which opened in late March, and White House Down, which is just now exploding on to a screen near you.
Olympus was good, but not good enough to see twice, so I was not looking forward to spending another two hours-plus watching a resourceful John McClane wannabe — played this time by rising star Channing Tatum — yippee-ki-yay his way to a hero's medal at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Well, imagine my surprise at being totally sucked in by White House Down, which takes longer to get crackin' with the gunplay, but puts the time to good use developing the characters in a way Olympus didn't.
Must-see video: Channing Tatum on the set of White House Down
As a Capitol policeman who just happens to be in the White House for a job interview when havoc strikes, Tatum is appealingly unsure of himself at the outset. And Jamie Foxx is funny/distinguished as President Barack Obama — er, I mean as President Sawyer (but really, this guy is even trying to beat a cigarette habit).
As a Secret Service bigwig, Maggie Gyllenhaal isn't asked to do much more than restate the plot setups: "Cale, if you don't get to the Oval Office in eight minutes, it'll mean World War III!" And Richard Jenkins and James Woods bring nice gravitas as administration officials who may or may not be scoundrels (trust me, you'll figure that out before the rest of the characters do).