If you read the synopsis for action thriller WHITE HOUSE DOWN (12: Sony) you would think it sounds identical to Olympus Has Fallen, released on DVD a few weeks ago.
Both films involve terrorists storming the presidential building, with a lone hero standing between them and world annihilation.
In fact, they’re quite different as the Gerard Butler vehicle plays it straight and is overly patriotic, while this epic is an entertaining romp – as long as you put your brain in neutral.
It’s effectively ‘Die Hard in the White House’ with Channing Tatum playing the John McClane-type character who’s turned down for his dream job as a secret service body guard to Jamie Foxx’s US president.
While taking his daughter on a tour of the White House, he gets the chance to prove himself when the bad guys seize control, putting the head of state’s life in his hands.
The two leads are capable enough, but they play second fiddle to the spectacular stunts that are the trademark of director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 2012).
And you’ve got to admire his audacity to stage a car chase in a film set entirely within the White House.
> Ryan Reynolds sleepwalks through his role as a recently slain policeman sent back to the mortal world in odd couple buddy movie R.I.P.D (12: Universal).
The cop was murdered in the line of duty by his crooked partner and ended up recruited by a supernatural police force, the titular Rest In Peace Department.
He’s partnered by Jeff Bridges as the grizzled ghost of a Wild West lawman and together they’re assigned to round up ‘deados’.
These are deceased villains who, through a cosmic loophole, have also returned to Earth to continue their wrongdoings.
It’s an attempt to concoct a hybrid of Ghostbusters and Men In Black, but the script can’t match either of those films in terms of gag-count or snappy performances.
The whole affair takes on the feel of a 1960s cartoon with lots of glossy visual effects, although the saving grace is Bridges who raises a few chuckles as the over-the-top sheriff of yore.
> There’s another round of potent poltergeist action in horror sequel INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 (15: E1 Entertainement).
The original cast and crew return for a haunted house tour rife with creaking doors, tinkling pianos, ghostly visitations and jumpy edits.
There’s no denying director James Wan’s spectral sleight-of-hand and he assembles something that jangles the nerves without causing too much distress.
Picking up where the first film ended, Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) has returned from ‘The Further’ possessed by the spirit of a serial killer drag queen dubbed the ‘Bride in Black’.
Deceased medium Elise navigates through Josh’s childhood paranormal experiences and taps into his son’s spiritual abilities, looking for the key that will stop the maniac decimating the entire Lambert family.
> A family reunion turns into a bloodbath in home invasion thriller YOU’RE NEXT (15: Lionsgate).
After arriving at their idyllic country mansion, a family are targeted by a gang of deranged killers wearing animal masks.
They face a battle for survival, with a family member’s girlfriend showing she’s capable of holding her own.