Joey King - Photographs of a variety of stars as they arrived at the 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards which were held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, New York, United States - Monday 1st December 2014
Aidan Bloom may look like he's got a lot going for him on the outside, in his prime at 35 with a beautiful wife and two loving children named Grace and Tucker, but the truth is he's floundering. He dreams of being an actor, but that's not a job you can guarantee stability from and thus he no longer has enough money to send his kids to a private school - even with the full to bursting swear jar. He decides to home tutor them after deciding against public school, and soon discovers that he's not the only one in his life who is having problems. With his father having his own issues and his daughter feeling deep regret after cutting off her hair, he starts to realise that he might have to save his family before he himself can be saved.
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This may look exactly like Gerard Butler's over-serious Olympus Has Fallen, but it's actually that film's smarter, sillier younger brother: the one you like even though you really shouldn't. As he did with 2012, filmmaker Emmerich has injected this huge action romp with a generous dose of tongue-in-cheek humour while never sacrificing the overwrought spectacle. So even if it's wildly contrived and ludicrously patriotic, it's so gleefully destructive that we can't help but have a lot of fun.
It starts out as ex-military man John (Tatum) tries to impress his estranged 11-year-old daughter Emily (King) by taking her along with him on a job interview at the White House. At that moment, home-grown terrorists strike, led by a disgruntled security chief (Woods). In the chaos, John gets separated from Emily, and as he looks for her he stumbles across the US President (Foxx). As John and the President work to subvert the villains, the politically savvy Emily is posting videos of them on YouTube, which helps the Pentagon command centre, overseen by security chief Carol (Gyllenhaal) and Speaker Raphelson (Jenkins), keep the nation from falling apart. But it turns out that one of the baddies (Clarke) has a personal vendetta against John.
As always, Emmerich infuses the film with a sombre tone then undermines it at every step with witty irony. Each scene is packed with quirky characters, snappy one-liners, knowingly corny sentimentality and bigger-than-necessary mayhem. For example, he manages to wedge a full-on car chase into the White House grounds, complete with a rocket launcher. At the centre, Tatum and Foxx are a lively double-act, bouncing off each other with feisty energy. Furrowed-brow gravitas is supplied by Gyllenhaal, Jenkins and Woods, while scene-stealers include King's plucky young hero and Simpson's megalomaniac hacker.
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