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Face-Off: White House Down vs. Olympus Has Fallen

06.12.2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column put a couple of modern espionage operatives against each other, and you were almost split down the middle between MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE's Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the BOURNE trilogy's Jason Bourne (Matt Damon).

This weekend, Channing Tatum is back on the beat (with co-star Jonah Hill) in the sequel 22 JUMP STREET. Tatum's latest stands a good chance of performing better than last summer's expensive starring vehicle, the action flick WHITE HOUSE DOWN -- which may have been a victim of being late to screens after the similar OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN beat it to the punch. How do these two "DIE HARD in D.C." flicks stack up?

SPOILERS below for those who haven’t seen them.

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
HERO
John Cale (Channing Tatum), a Capitol police officer who wants to become a Secret Service agent. On the day of his interview, he inadvertently becomes the only man capable of protecting the President during a terrorist attack on the White House
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), a former Secret Service agent for the President, taken off duty when the First Lady dies in an accident on his watch. Eighteen months later when the White House comes under attack by terrorists, Banning ditches his US Treasury post and heads to the building to systematically and violently dispatch the bad guys and rescue the President
PRESIDENT
James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx), who is intercepted by Cale before the invaders can capture him. Sawyer then follows and assists Cale in neutralizing the terrorist threat
Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) , a widower after his First Lady (Ashley Judd) gets literally iced in the opening scene. Unfortunately Asher also spends most of the movie tied up in a bunker with the terrorists
OTHER STAFF
Secret Service Deputy Special Agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Vice President Hammond (Michael Murphy), General Caulfield (Lance Reddick), Secret Service agent Kellerman (Matt Craven), a plucky tour guide (Nicholas Wright)
House Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), Secret Service Director Jacobs (Angela Bassett), Secretary of Defense McMillan (Melissa Leo), Secret Service agent Roma (Cole Hauser), General Clegg (Robert Forster)
VILLAINS
The President's head of security Walker (James Woods), who disagrees with Sawyer's foreign policy and wants revenge for the death of his soldier son. Using his henchman Stenz (Jason Clarke) and a small army of mercenaries to invade the White House, Walker and House Speaker Raphelson (Richard Jenkins) attempt a coup d'état to take over the Presidency and countermand Sawyer's peace treaty in the Middle East
Korean radical Kang (Rick Yune), who uses a small army of heavily armed terrorists to assault the White House with a plan to unite North and South Korea, and to self-destruct America's nuclear arsenal in their silos and turn the country into a radioactive wasteland. He gets inside assistance from Forbes (Dylan McDermott), a former colleague of Banning who helps Kang because he disagrees with Asher's policies
KID IN PERIL
Emily (Joey King), Cale's precocious politics-obsessed 11-year-old daughter who gets taken hostage by the terrorists and used as leverage
The President's son Connor (Finley Jacobsen), who Banning finds hiding in the White House and has the sense to quickly get him safely outside so he can return to his business of mercilessly slaughtering terrorists
VIOLENCE
Cale shoots a whole bunch of mercenaries, blows up Stenz with grenades, and perforates Walker with a minigun (although he would've been red mist if not for the movie's PG-13 restraints).

Additionally, POTUS kicks the hell out of one merc and takes out another with a submachinegun, Air Force One gets blown to smithereens with the Vice President and staff on board, Secret Service agents are gunned down by the mercs, and two helicopters full of soldiers get blasted out of the sky
Banning single-handedly wades through the terrorists in glorious R-rated fashion, stabbing heads, snapping necks, filling them with bullets, and even mashing one dude's skull with a bust of Abraham Lincoln. He finally goes hand-to-hand with Kang himself and finishes off the villain with his signature move -- a blade in the noggin.

Also, dozens of civilians and police are messily mowed down by the terrorists' C-130 gunship, tourists are crushed by the crumbling Washington Monument, pretty much every Secret Service agent gets annihilated by a small army of attackers, and several helicopters of soldiers get blasted out of the sky
DIRECTOR
Roland Emmerich, who never met a national landmark he couldn't obliterate (as also demonstrated in INDEPENDENCE DAY, 2012, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and GODZILLA). He also brought us the slightly less destructive THE PATRIOT, 10000 BC, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, STARGATE and ANONYMOUS
Antoine Fuqua, who gained experience with lots of people being shot in THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, TEARS OF THE SUN, SHOOTER, and TRAINING DAY. He also brought us KING ARTHUR, the crime story BROOKLYN’S FINEST and the action-comedy BAIT (starring the other movie's President, Jamie Foxx)
BOX OFFICE
$205 million worldwide (on a reported $150 million budget)
$161 million worldwide (on a reported $70 million budget)
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN
Both cliché-riddled movies are entertaining enough popcorn flicks (if equally flagrant in their DIE HARDiness) with appealing casts and plenty of action. WHITE HOUSE DOWN feels almost like a spiritual sequel to 21 JUMP STREET following Tatum's dim yet competent officer later in his life, and while both Tatum and Foxx get credit for keeping things light, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN ultimately wins more points for its tension and ridiculous brutality, both from Butler's ex-Special Forces badass and the ruthless terrorists' tactics. (Additional bonus for taking the endangered child out of the equation.)

WHITE HOUSE DOWN did eventually make more dough at the box office (mostly from international audiences), but the more reasonable cost of OLYMPUS pushed it into the black and justified plans for a sequel, LONDON HAS FALLEN.

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

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10:38PM on 06/12/2014

Knife to the ****ing head

Just like he promiced. OhF was the much better film of the two.
Just like he promiced. OhF was the much better film of the two.
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-2
2:38PM on 06/12/2014
OLYMPUS: 4/10
WHD: 3/10
OLYMPUS: 4/10
WHD: 3/10
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1:47PM on 06/12/2014

Olympus

This is a no brainier for me considering I turned off White House Downer within the first 20 min. From the little I watched, it was astoundingly stupid. And not stupid fun which can be good, just stupid.
This is a no brainier for me considering I turned off White House Downer within the first 20 min. From the little I watched, it was astoundingly stupid. And not stupid fun which can be good, just stupid.
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1:19PM on 06/12/2014

Die Hard 5

i had this idea years ago that Die Hard 5 should be one of these movies. John McClain is at the white house getting some honor and he has to protect the president from an attack. A Good Day To Die Hard sucked so hard. at least 4 was a fun action film. the fifth movie we got was a pathetic excuse for an action movie.

but movies here though i really enjoyed, and could imagine Bruce Willis in either role
i had this idea years ago that Die Hard 5 should be one of these movies. John McClain is at the white house getting some honor and he has to protect the president from an attack. A Good Day To Die Hard sucked so hard. at least 4 was a fun action film. the fifth movie we got was a pathetic excuse for an action movie.

but movies here though i really enjoyed, and could imagine Bruce Willis in either role
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12:38PM on 06/12/2014
Olympus Has Fallen was one of those films that was suppose to ride the upcoming blockbuster in White House Down, yet overall did better profit wise, and was the better film by a mile.
Olympus Has Fallen was one of those films that was suppose to ride the upcoming blockbuster in White House Down, yet overall did better profit wise, and was the better film by a mile.
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11:43AM on 06/12/2014
Tatum's daughter was the most annoying charachter in movies since Jar Jar Binks....
Tatum's daughter was the most annoying charachter in movies since Jar Jar Binks....
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11:08AM on 06/12/2014

OHF all day

Olympus Has Fallen was bad ass fun. White House Down was one of the stupidest, STUPIDEST, movies I've ever seen. The characters, acting, plot, and action scenes were unrealistic and insulting.
Olympus Has Fallen was bad ass fun. White House Down was one of the stupidest, STUPIDEST, movies I've ever seen. The characters, acting, plot, and action scenes were unrealistic and insulting.
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-1
9:26AM on 06/12/2014

Ok so

We are comparing poop and vomit... great.
We are comparing poop and vomit... great.
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9:19AM on 06/12/2014

Ummm...

How did White House Down win the Box Office vote when Olympus had higher net sales. I don't think Jamie Foxx was the better president either. I don't think Aaron Eckhart was much better, but at least he was believable as the president... he didn't complain about a pair of sneakers once!
How did White House Down win the Box Office vote when Olympus had higher net sales. I don't think Jamie Foxx was the better president either. I don't think Aaron Eckhart was much better, but at least he was believable as the president... he didn't complain about a pair of sneakers once!
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11:15AM on 06/12/2014
Regardless of its profitability, the bottom line is still that more people paid to see WHD.
Regardless of its profitability, the bottom line is still that more people paid to see WHD.
8:57AM on 06/12/2014
I vote for the real DIE HARD movie of 2013. Olympus rules!
I vote for the real DIE HARD movie of 2013. Olympus rules!
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+0
8:56AM on 06/12/2014

Duplicate.....

Not sure how it double-posted.....
Not sure how it double-posted.....
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+4
8:56AM on 06/12/2014

While I agree that Olympus is INFINITELY better.....

I have to give the article a thumbs-down because there isn't a single category that White House Down would win. Most notably, saying Emmerich is the superior director is delusional, and claiming that WHD won the box office when it lost tens of millions of dollars is......well, I'm not sure what that's supposed to be.
I have to give the article a thumbs-down because there isn't a single category that White House Down would win. Most notably, saying Emmerich is the superior director is delusional, and claiming that WHD won the box office when it lost tens of millions of dollars is......well, I'm not sure what that's supposed to be.
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+1
8:55AM on 06/12/2014
Loved Olympus! Thought it was very underrated.
Loved Olympus! Thought it was very underrated.
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8:29AM on 06/12/2014

Olympus

Felt like a true action movie that just gave me what I wanted. A good hero, plenty of R-rated violence, and a quicker pace.
Felt like a true action movie that just gave me what I wanted. A good hero, plenty of R-rated violence, and a quicker pace.
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8:20AM on 06/12/2014
I liked both for different reasons....and they're both far better than A good day to die hard
I liked both for different reasons....and they're both far better than A good day to die hard
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8:03AM on 06/12/2014

Let the abuse begin.

Feck `em.White House Down is better.Cut out the first 30 minutes and its a so bad it`s good kind of movie.We get it Channing Tatum character is adorable.I mean he talks to a squirrel a fecking squirrel.Also OHF is much like Dredd(which i loved) but it looks like Mike Banning is walking down and entering the same room every time,just with a few added chairs and may`be a desk to tell the audience that this is a different room in the White House,hence the dark lighting ,Dredd looked like he was
Feck `em.White House Down is better.Cut out the first 30 minutes and its a so bad it`s good kind of movie.We get it Channing Tatum character is adorable.I mean he talks to a squirrel a fecking squirrel.Also OHF is much like Dredd(which i loved) but it looks like Mike Banning is walking down and entering the same room every time,just with a few added chairs and may`be a desk to tell the audience that this is a different room in the White House,hence the dark lighting ,Dredd looked like he was walking down the same corridor.In WHD its like the white house is a friggin American mall its FECKING HUGE! There`s a elevator behind a bookcase! Also the white singlet he wears throughout the movie too remind us this could of being a Die Hard movie in another life,Cale,JOHN Cale.This movie is big budget yet has green screen that makes 1960`s movies look futuristic compared to it.Cale`s daughter runs out in a homage to The Rock but one ups it but not waving green flares but the fecking American Flag to divert a attack, democracy f-ck yeah.At least this movie isn`t trying to hide the fact that the cast and crew are sh-tmoppers.OHF is so serious,you`re not going to win a oscar by playing straight and serious,so why try.Have fun like WHD.Even the title tells you what you are in for.Olympus has fallen sounds like Zesus tripped over an ottoman.
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8:03AM on 06/12/2014
Double post.
ps:He talks to a Squirrel! Not even Nic Cage does that in his movies.FTW.
Double post.
ps:He talks to a Squirrel! Not even Nic Cage does that in his movies.FTW.
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7:48AM on 06/12/2014

Wait...

Was his name seriously "John Cale"?
Interesting choice, to name their buff action hero after an artsy Welsh musician...
Was his name seriously "John Cale"?
Interesting choice, to name their buff action hero after an artsy Welsh musician...
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+1
5:01AM on 06/12/2014
The thing that I disagree is "the box office section". Olympus Has Fallen had an impressive run on box office, it made its production budget back and it might have lighten the promotional campaign cost a little bit, before the movie hit the home market (Blu Ray, DVD, DVD-rentals, PPV,etc etc... on the other hand White House Down never managed to recoup the $150 mil. budget while it was released on theaters, plus it had more spending on promotional campaign... So I think OHF wins this category
The thing that I disagree is "the box office section". Olympus Has Fallen had an impressive run on box office, it made its production budget back and it might have lighten the promotional campaign cost a little bit, before the movie hit the home market (Blu Ray, DVD, DVD-rentals, PPV,etc etc... on the other hand White House Down never managed to recoup the $150 mil. budget while it was released on theaters, plus it had more spending on promotional campaign... So I think OHF wins this category too !
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4:40AM on 06/12/2014

I probably would have checked nothing on both sides...

It was more of a competition of "which is the worse of the two."
For me, it was White House Down, but not by a wide margin.
It was more of a competition of "which is the worse of the two."
For me, it was White House Down, but not by a wide margin.
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2:22AM on 06/12/2014
Olympus Has Fallen for me. It's an old-school action formula that works out pretty well, major thanks to Gerard Butler. However, White House Down is a silly popcorn blockbuster movie fun a la Roland Emmerich style. If that's your cup of tea, you'll love it. But I like Olympus Has Fallen better.
Olympus Has Fallen for me. It's an old-school action formula that works out pretty well, major thanks to Gerard Butler. However, White House Down is a silly popcorn blockbuster movie fun a la Roland Emmerich style. If that's your cup of tea, you'll love it. But I like Olympus Has Fallen better.
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1:55AM on 06/12/2014
Olympus Has Fallen, and it's not even close.
Olympus Has Fallen, and it's not even close.
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1:37AM on 06/12/2014

Olympus

That movie was an old school 90s film. White House Down was absolutely terrible. The cheesy jokes, the bad chemistry, and the laughable story all made it a turd.
That movie was an old school 90s film. White House Down was absolutely terrible. The cheesy jokes, the bad chemistry, and the laughable story all made it a turd.
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1:15AM on 06/12/2014
Could you imagine is Olympus had WHD budget?!
Could you imagine is Olympus had WHD budget?!
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1:01AM on 06/12/2014

Olympus Has Fallen

I enjoyed both films (both for different reasons), but Olympus Has Fallen is easily the better film out the two. Better hero, action, and story. In fact, I thought Olympus Has Fallen was one of the better action films of the last decade. That's how good I thought it was.
I enjoyed both films (both for different reasons), but Olympus Has Fallen is easily the better film out the two. Better hero, action, and story. In fact, I thought Olympus Has Fallen was one of the better action films of the last decade. That's how good I thought it was.
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12:55AM on 06/12/2014
Honestly, I'd give the edge to White House Down. Now, hear me out: neither Olympus Has Fallen nor White House Down were great movies, but White House Down had more fun with the premise. Because of the tongue in cheek tone, it came off as less jinogistic than Olympus Has Fallen, even with the daughter waving off an airstrike with the giant American flag.

White House Down had better production values (even though there definitely was iffy CGI) and the set-pieces were more impressive and I
Honestly, I'd give the edge to White House Down. Now, hear me out: neither Olympus Has Fallen nor White House Down were great movies, but White House Down had more fun with the premise. Because of the tongue in cheek tone, it came off as less jinogistic than Olympus Has Fallen, even with the daughter waving off an airstrike with the giant American flag.

White House Down had better production values (even though there definitely was iffy CGI) and the set-pieces were more impressive and I just had a lot more fun with it. I even thought the villains led by Jason Clarke were more memorable and actually scarier than the North Korean villains led by Rick Yune in Olympus. Granted, Olympus Has Fallen does have the feel of a 90s action thriller (with all the pros and cons that that implies) and Aaron Eckhart was a far more convincing president than Jamie Foxx. But White House Down has the presidential limousine drifting across the White House lawn and I really couldn't get mad at that because it was clear what kind of tone they were aiming for and I found it enjoyable. Of course, Olympus Has Fallen is the cooler title. White House Down sounds like a Monica Lewinsky biopic.
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11:11AM on 06/12/2014
The daughter waving them off with the American flag is by far the worst thing in the movie and one of the stupidest things I've ever seen
The daughter waving them off with the American flag is by far the worst thing in the movie and one of the stupidest things I've ever seen
12:48AM on 06/12/2014

For a second there I was worried...

If White House Down won this colum I would have had to resign my membership here at joblo.

If White House Down won this colum I would have had to resign my membership here at joblo.

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1:54AM on 06/12/2014
This.
This.
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