White House Down is the second of the Die Hard-in-the-White House action movies that came out in 2013 after Olympus Has Fallen. It stars Channing Tatum as aspiring Capitol police officer John Cale and Jamie Foxx as the President of the United States James Sawyer. They team up to rescue Cale’s daughter and save DC from a paramilitary terrorist threat.
It came off as the lesser of the two similar movies in terms of box office returns. But for those who have more affinity for this star-studded thriller, there are other similar action movies out there.
Updated on January 12th, 2021 by Mark Birrell: Due to its proximity to Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down has always ended up being somewhat of the more undersung movie despite its much larger budget and star power. It’s no surprise, therefore, that its popularity amongst movie fans has been a bit more slow-burning. With more and more fans discovering the movie as time goes on, we decided to update our list with another 5 movies that are like White House Down in numerous ways, from action movie classics of the 90s to more recent blockbuster fun.
15 Big Game (2014)
Samuel L. Jackson stars as the President of the United States in this unconventional Finnish action movie about a young boy out in the woods who comes across the stranded world leader following their escape from a traitorous plot ripped straight out of a 90s Die Hard rip-off.
Big Game mixes its set-pieces with lighthearted comedy in a similar way to White House Down and Jackson brings his trademark charm to the Presidential role.
14 Sudden Death (1995)
A classic of the Die Hard rip-off subgenre of action movies, this Jean-Claude Van Damme thriller is about a quintessential bad guy plan involving a hostage situation between a highly-trained group of thieves and the Vice President at the Stanley Cup final, with Van Damme as the washed-up hero in the wrong place at the right time.
Powers Boothe comfortably steals the show as the Hans Gruber-inspired villain and the setting alone helps it to stand out from its many fellow imitators.
13 Final Score (2018)
A more modern take on the Sudden Death variety of stadium-based siege movies inspired by Die Hard, Final Score revolves around the usual plot involving a political leader, a team of organized killers, and a lone hero with a past.
Dave Bautista is the former soldier who has to go full John McClane when West Ham soccer stadium is taken over and the Guardians of the Galaxy star keeps the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the long-running tradition alive.
12 Executive Decision (1996)
One of the most popular spin-offs of the Die Hard formula is the self-explanatory ‘Die Hard on a plane’ scenario and one of the best in that arena has to be Executive Decision.
Kurt Russell is the fish-out-water who has to lead an elite team to infiltrate and take back a hijacked passenger plane without it landing. The movie finds plenty of ways to keep its claustrophobic environment exciting and fans of White House Down will appreciate its similarly robust cast of supporting players.
11 The Rock (1996)
Nicolas Cage and the late great Sean Connery lead this characteristically excessive action extravaganza from renowned action movie director Michael Bay.
When Ed Harris’ rogue military leader takes over Alcatraz island and uses it as a base to threaten San Francisco with stolen chemical weapons, it’s up to the unlikely pair to break into the famous prison and save the day.
10 The Sentinel (2006)
The Sentinel is a 2006 thriller that features Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, and Kim Basinger in the lead roles. Douglas plays Pete Garrison, a Secret Service agent to First Lady Sarah Ballentine (Basinger). When an assassination attempt takes place, Garrison is alleged to be a traitor and he has to take things into his own hands to expose the real assassins.
It wasn’t successful on release as a vehicle for its talented stars, it’s a tense political thriller that uses Douglas’ and Sutherland’s skills well.
9 The Siege (1998)
The director of Glory reunites with Denzel Washington for this massive scale thriller about a sudden wave of terrorist attacks within New York, prompting a declaration of martial law in the city. Washington plays FBI Special Agent Anthony Hubbard, who is pitted against Major General William Devereaux (Bruce Willis) and his brutal tactics.
The Siege is entertaining but problematic. It’s action-packed, even if its execution is clumsy but it was widely criticized for its depiction of Middle Eastern people. Though many of its pre-9/11 observations on US domestic terror policy have come to age better than most.
8 The Sum of All Fears (2002)
The fourth Jack Ryan movie, The Sum of All Fears features Ben Affleck as the third Ryan onscreen. In this entry, Ryan discovers a plan from a Neo-Nazi faction to detonate a nuclear weapon in the middle of a football game and must stop it from creating a conflict between the US and Russia.
In this installment, Affleck is paired up with Morgan Freeman as CIA director William Cabot. Together, they spruce up every big moment with intensity. This is an action-packed thriller, and it still feels politically relevant.
7 Mile 22 (2018)
Mile 22 is the fourth collaboration of Mark Wahlberg with director Peter Berg. Unlike the others, however, it is not based on a true story. Wahlberg plays CIA officer James Silva in the movie, who leads a task force comprised of paramilitary officers escorting a high-priority asset for extraction. On the way, the team is at odds with the asset, Li Noor (Iko Uwais).
The primary reason to see the movie is Uwais, who finally gets to showcase his martial arts skills and hard-knuckle stunts in a fully Hollywood-type movie that revolves around him, and his showdowns with Wahlberg are the movie’s highlights.
6 2 Guns (2013)
Again from Mark Wahlberg, this time he teams up with Denzel Washington for an over-the-top buddy action movie about two criminals on the run from the US border patrol after a botched meeting with a drug lord.
White House Down sold on the strengths and charms of Tatum and Foxx and, likewise, 2 Guns make good use of the camaraderie between Washington and Wahlberg.
5 Skyscraper (2018)
White House Down is not the only mainstream Die Hard rip-off that exploded into theaters in recent years. Take Dwayne Johnson’s own Die Hard, Skyscraper, in which Johnson plays a former FBI agent with a prosthetic leg who must save his family from mercenaries who take over a technologically advanced skyscraper in Hong Kong.
Skyscraper finds Johnson in familiar territory as he single-handedly takes down the bad guys and, despite being derivative, it keeps the spectacle huge at every turn.
4 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
The second Captain America-led MCU movie elevated the cinematic universe to an all-new level. This eighth MCU entry finds Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in the middle of a conspiracy where some of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s operatives are HYDRA personnel who plot to strike cities with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Helicarriers.
The Winter Soldier balances the heroics of Captain America and the underlying political themes of the story through the trappings of the spy movie genre. Plus, the team-up of Cap, Falcon, and Black Widow makes for some stellar action sequences.
3 Air Force One (1997)
Harrison Ford is President James Marshall, one of the best fictional US presidents in movie history. When Russian radicals hijack Air Force One, led by loyalist Egor Korshunov (Gary Oldman), Vice President Kathryn Bennett (Glenn Close) negotiates with them while President Marshall retaliates against the terrorists in true action movie fashion.
Among the Die Hard rip-offs, Air Force One is one of the best because of Ford’s iconically quotable performance.
2 Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
The only actual Die Hard movie on this list, Die Hard with a Vengeance finds John McClane (Bruce Willis) teaming up with local shop owner Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson) to stop a series of bomb threats, perpetrated by Hans Gruber’s brother Simon (Jeremy Irons).
While not as perfect as the original, Die Hard with a Vengeance thrives on Willis and Jackson’s chemistry and utilizes them well in its ticking-clock action sequences, from the New York chase scenes to the bomb-defusing sequences. It may be the best Die Hard sequel.
1 Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Finally, a list centered on White House Down would not be complete without addressing its twin movie, the more successful Olympus Has Fallen. In the movie, Gerard Butler stars as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, who must rescue US President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) from a presidential hostage situation in the White House.
Gerard Butler cemented his reputation as one of modern movie history’s top action stars with the copious fights and shootout sequences. Combined with over-the-top action set pieces and Antoine Fuqua’s direction, this is a solid thrill from start to finish.
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