Presidents in Action: the Top 10 President Action Movies

Mon, Feb 15, 2010

Featured, Lists, Miscellaneous

By LAH Staff

All of us here at LAH hope you had a great Presidents’ Day and bought some new furniture or something.

1. Air Force One

Air Force One is one of those classic movies. Everytime it’s on TV, it’s a channel surfing stopper. All you need to know: Harrison Ford, His plane, get off of it, bad guys.

It also led to the inspiration of this video, which is super awesome and one of my favorites:

2. Independence Day

Who can forget when ID4 came out? Will Smith was in his “I’m still awesome after Fresh Prince and now I’m in movies” days and Bill Pullman has one of the all-time great fake president names: President Thomas J. Whitmore.

It’s not often when a bordering middle aged president climbs into a fighter jet that he hasn’t flown in years (or ever, I mean, the technology updates so quickly on those things) and totally wins the day.

3. The Fifth Element

Oh, you forgot about The Fifth Element being a President movie, I bet. But, you shouldn’t forget about President Lindberg. And this movie is really awesome and has Bruce Willis at his finest. It’s camp, but it’s not. It’s tech-ey, futuristic, but not too much. It’s basically great in every way.

And very few movies that have a scene that starts like this would make this list, so you know it has to be special:

4. Escape from New York

What all do I have to say about this? It’s an awesome movie. The basic plot is this: Everything is going to hell. And I mean everything. Oh, and the President has been captured by bad guys. And the guy who can save him is a fugitive (but former good awesome guy) is named Snake and played by Kurt Russell. If you haven’t, watch it. Now.

5. xXx: State of the Union

Probably Ice Cube’s best movie in his attempt to be an Action Hero. Overall, a pretty good one. Also, how can you go wrong with Samuel L. Jackson constantly saying that he has to “kill a bitch” and Willem Dafoe being a little creepster.

The basic plot is you wondering wear the hell Vin Diesel, excuse me, Xander Cage, went. He’s not really one to be killed. Other than that, it’s about an attempt by a splinter faction of the American military to overthrow and kill the President.

Not that we think about these things in America – nor is this a great forum for it, but it is a neat concept for a movie. Military overtrhows are never even in the consciousness of Americans. Like, it just couldn’t happen. And this movie kind of makes you think about it.

At least for a moment. And then Ice Cube drives a car really fast.

6. In the Line of Fire

More of a thriller than pure action, it’s a slick movie about a down-and-out, but still functioning and employed alcoholic Secret Service agent who is still struggling internally with the day JFK was shot. And now, there’s an assassin (creepstakes award-winner John Malkovich, who is really good in this role) who totally wants to kill this fictional president.

It should also be noted that Clint Eastwood is just awesome. Not just in this movie. But, in general.

Gene Hackman is a manslut, somehow there’s an issue with this old master jewel thief (Eastwood), and then there’s a hitman, some other stuff happened…to be honest, I just remember enjoying this movie, but not much about it. I remember I was kind of creeped out by Eastwood’s character’s relationship with his daughter (played by Laura Linney). But, this is here, because after number 8, the list of quality Presidents in Action movies goes down precipitously.

8. Murder at 1600

Wesley Snipes is a homicide detective who begins to unravel the murder of a White House Secretary at the White House. Your basic thriller with lots of cover-ups.

This movie also one of the greatest quotes in action/thriller history: “I’ve got a murder at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” Everytime Snipes says that, it’s clearly awesome.

Also, Alan Alda has a special place in my heart.

9. Vantage Point

This is universally thought of at LAH as kind of silly.
Joe: “Vantage Point was terrible.”

Basically – you have President Henry Ashton (not a good Prez name…already off to a bad start) getting assassinated early on. Then, you find terrorists. And, it’s all told from about eight different points of view (or “Vantage Points…” cough). It’s not a bad concept, but mostly just a bad movie.

10. The President’s Man and The President’s Man: A Line in the Sand

The basic plot is the President has a special guy that he goes to whenever there’s some national or international emergency that requires beatdowns and roundhouse kicks. Chuck Norris is that guy.

This is a twofer. Totally better than Vantage Point, it’s a Chuck Norris vehicle, it doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not, there’s a lot of great action, many laugh out loud hilarious parts (in “Line in the Sand”, Chuck Norris disarms the same nuclear bomb, twice, helped by a handheld electric screwdriver), and it’s an actual action movie.

Why is it all the way down at 10 on this list? They were made for TV movies, and you can totally tell, because the cut-aways to commercials are clearly planned, and when the camera comes back from black, they make another establishing shot. Kind of … cheap. But it’s fun.

This is from The President’s Man: Line in the Sand. Chuck Norris and this other dude (his protege) are fighting a father-and-son terrorist duo. There’s a different guy who plays Norris’s protege in the first movie, who I actually like better.

Honorary Mentions (mostly because they don’t directly involve the President): The Jackal, Bulworth

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