I love it when studios go toe-to-toe…
Like Armageddon vs. Deep Impact, Dante’s Peak vs. Volcano, Battle LA vs. Skyline or Friends With Benefits vs. No Strings Attached (?) before them, Hollywood once again offers up the same film twice.
This time it’s Die Hard in The White House. How has it taken them this long?
OK, so who’s looking in better shape…
Antoine Fuqua (OHF) got off to an OK start with Training Day, a film in which the performances are better than the film. Made some clangers before nailing it with the great B-movie that is Shooter. This is his biggest film to date.
Roland Emmerich (WHD) has dropped many a clanger in his time but is also the Cecil B. DeMille of the modern Hollywood disaster movie. For him, this comes off as a scaled down project.
Verdict: Neither can claim to be a huge box office draw by name (Emmerich has the edge here, but that can go either way). Will be interesting to see how both of them fare coming at these films from opposite ends.
OHF comes from a pair of first time writers so there is literally nothing to go on here. WHD is written by James Vanderbilt of Fincher’s Zodiac fame and his spec script was bought for an ungodly sum according to the press.
Verdict: Not enough info. to go on.
Gerard Butler (OHF) hasn’t had a solid hit since the surprise of 300 so needs this, whereas Channing Tatum (WHD) is hitting his stride as a box office player across many a genre: Romance (Dear John, The Vow), Comedy (21 Jump Street), Action (G.I Joe 1 & 2) and Indie (Magic Mike). With G.I Joe: Retaliation yet to hit, it’s his Action roles that have been his Achilles Heel so far (Cobra, Fighting and Eagle all underwhelming) so to an extent he needs this too, but I get the feeling he’s going to come out on top.
Verdict: Tatum is the hotter property and the more charismatic actor.
<WHITE HOUSE DOWN>
Aaron Eckhart (OHF) certainly has the face for President and coming off his stint as Harvey Dent, he seems a good fit for a heroic POTUS. Jamie Foxx (WHD) is more a la mode but, even at 46, looks young for the role. Having said that, I do prefer the potential Tatum/Foxx riffage over Butler/Eckhart.
Verdict: Eckhart looks the more Presidential so I’ll back him.
<OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN>
The Speaker’s of the House:
Morgan Freeman (OHF) does this sort of role in his sleep. It’s kind of lazy casting in my eyes. On the other hand, Richard Jenkins (WHD) could be in every film ever and I’d be more than happy.
Verdict: Richard Jenkins for me.
<WHITE HOUSE DOWN>
The Secret Service Agents:
Only Cole Hauser and Morgan Jay Williams are credited on iMDB for OHF, but there’s also Dylan McDermott and Robert Forster that could possibly weigh in here, time will tell. Anyway, that’s all moot - COLE HAUSER! One of my favourite under-used actors out there. Bravo for putting him in a relatively high profile role (he speaks in the trailer).
WHD pulls out some big guns with James Woods, who’s never in enough films these days, Maggie Gyllenhaal (hmm, romantic subplot best not rear its unwelcome head) and another overlooked gem in Matt Craven.
Verdict: It’s all about the appeal of seeing Hauser and Woods back on the big screen. I can’t call it so…
OHF keeps it Old School with an ethnic baddie in Rick Yune whereas WHD goes with some domestic threat in Jason Clarke.
Verdict: Clarke has impressed in Lawless and Zero Dark Thirty, so he’s where my money’s at.
<WHITE HOUSE DOWN>
Overall? I couldn’t give a monkey’s which is better - they both have the promise to be totally awesome or utterly naff. All I’m hoping for is that they both fall into the former.
I love a Hollywood stand off, more of this please!
Olympus Has Fallen opens April 19th and White House Down follows on September 6th (UK)
Here’s the trailer for OHF, WHD are yet to release:
~ The Soft Southerner