In the new White House Down, the terrorists who attack the chief executive’s residence make a key error: they forget that it’s Jamie Foxx playing President James Sawyer. (Or maybe it’s Djames Sawyer; the D is silent.)
It makes sense that the Django Unchained avenger plays a leader who isn’t afraid to mix it up personally with his antagonists. After all, Hollywood has a long tradition of creating action-hero presidents. Sometimes, that has meant playing up the military exploits of their pre-White House years (see Charlton Heston fight pirates as a pre-presidential Andrew Jackson in 1955’s The Buccaneer). Sometimes, it’s imagining how historical figures better known for wielding fountain pens than firearms might have reacted face-to-face with violent bad guys. And sometimes, it’s inventing fictional presidents who fulfill the fantasy of macho heroics inspired by the youthful and vigorous men whom we’ve elected to the presidency since 1992.
Of course, the notion of a special-ops president who slugs his way past his Secret Service detail to attack villains with his own fists is patently absurd, and the movies have pointed that out as well. Here, then, are ten screen presidents who’ve earned a seat in the Oval Office by satisfying moviegoers’ bloodlust.
Next Independence Day