When in Rome…so when it’s half term and you are with your teenage boy, you watch outrageous action movies on Netflix. ‘White House Down’ stars Channing Tatum as Cale, a would-be secret agent who gets trapped in the White House with his 13-year old daughter when it is invaded by a violent gang. It turns out that the gang has help on the inside of the White House, but the plot is so thin I won’t spoil it by telling you who the traitor is.
Needless to say, Cale becomes almost single-handedly responsible for delivering the White House from evil. He has to hide, shoot, hide in elevator shafts, bring down helicopters and save President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Oh, and rescue his daughter who has been taken hostage by the gun-wielding maniacs.
It is all so outlandish and ridiculous, that I watched it with the same suspension of belief that I would if I was watching ‘The Hobbit’. The stunts are daring and well-executed, the acting mediocre, the storyline even worse. But it’s fun. I wasn’t surprised to see that the film won the Teen Choice Awards Summer Action/Adventure movie. I have a teen and this film was just the ticket for passing a couple of hours in the company of my offspring!
I struggled to see this film as entertainment. As I am a parent, it hit where it hurts most – the fear of something happening to my children. In particular, my teenage daughter being abducted and sold into sex slavery. It was almost unbearable to watch.
Maybe I am a little too old for heartthrobs but I have a soft spot for Liam Neeson. In ‘Taken’, he plays Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent living in California. His daughter, Kim, travels to Paris with a friend. The girls are kidnapped by an Albanian gang. Using all his detective skills, Mills sets out to find them. It’s a film: you can probably guess the ending.
The film is gritty (not a word I use often) and violent. The scenes with drugged-up young girls trapped behind dingy curtains is frightening, especially as I imagine there must be more than a grain of truth in these portrayals. Shooting, fights and torture also feature prominently, together with some impressive car chases. I have to be honest; I spent a fair amount of the film peeping through my fingers.
Despite the uneasiness it caused, this is a ‘must-see’ film. A stark reminder of the dangers of society – and why you should always tell your parents the truth about where you are going.