PROTECTING the integrity of the United States government continues to loom large as unrest around the world hangs around like a stubborn wound.
The US is not without its own internal issues, but makes claim to have the most secure and financially stable defence system in the world.
Destabilising that system has come into Hollywood's sights more than once in 2013.
Olympus Has Fallen earlier this year took a look at the frailties of the White House and what one man would do for his country.
Now, White House Down does... exactly the same thing.
Roland Emmerich's return to action after 2011's Anonymous is as big as one would expect from the Independence Day director.
Although he was beaten to the screen by Olympus, that hasn't stopped Emmerich from flaunting his big stars, Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx.
Magic Mike and Django make for an unlikely pair, but when John Cale (Tatum) finds himself the only person able to protect President Sawyer (Foxx) they find common ground in their patriotism.
They find out they're up against a group of paramilitary invaders, and clue by clue (or dead guy by dead guy) they discover the group's plot.
The film plods along slowly for its 131 minutes as Cale and the President encounter one assault after another.
It steps up from the general fistfight to a car chase to surviving multiple explosions.
Emmerich is not one to let action take a back seat, but it is drawn out to excess because of the invaders' supposed inability to get their job done.
It's all a bit too confusing. Even within the military group, no one knows what's really going on as they each have their own agenda.
What that agenda for a few is isn't clear, while for the main players it's hard to care.
James Vanderbilt, writer of the charming The Amazing Spider-Man, has failed to create a solid action story.
He draws on a mix of past action successes but still produces a convoluted tale not sure of its nature.
Those comparisons to Olympus can't be ignored. There's a President, a guy wanting to protect him, the bad guys and a kid.
This story has Emily (Joey King) as Cale's daughter, an 11-year-old conscious of politics and social media but still very much a child.
Special Agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is the other source of gender balance, who keeps in communication with Cale throughout the ordeal.
Gyllenhaal comes out of this looking best with her character's strong-yet-gentle persona.
For the men it's a case of who can look angriest.
James Woods does a fine job at that as Martin Walker, chief of the Secret Service, while Australian Jason Clarke is left to look the most confused.
It's all a bit Die Hard-esque in how it tries to show the good guys. Tatum is given a shot of comedy here and there, but the film's overall uncertainty makes the lines appear terribly out of place.
The twist (and there is one) isn't thought out enough to make an impact and ends the film with a shrug.
Emmerich delivers on over-the-top action for a mindless adventure, but nothing more.
Now screening at Reading Cinemas