CATEGORIES Features, Movies

Die Hard White House DownAlamy / Sony


Channing Tatum's new movie is called "White House Down," but it could go by another name: "Die Hard in the White House." Of course, what action movie in the last 25 years hasn't been described (or originally pitched) as "Die Hard on a ___?" After all, it's a pretty good formula: Rugged won't-play-by-the-rules hero single-handedly defeats the villains who've taken hostages, including one of the hero's loved ones. Gunfire, carnage, explosions, and witty quips ensue.

But "White House Down" really does take the "Die Hard" playbook and run with it -- not that there's anything wrong with that. And while Tatum never says "Yippee-ki-yay" in the new flick, there are plenty of other ways the film pays homage to one of the granddaddies of American action movies:

1. Terrorists
"Die Hard"
A high-rise building is taken over by German terrorists who have a secret agenda.

"White House Down"
The White House is taken over by homegrown terrorists who have a secret agenda.

2. Hostages
"Die Hard"
The terrorists strike when a Christmas party is in full swing.

"White House Down"
The terrorists strike when the White House staff are still at work and a tour is being conducted.

3. Wrong time, wrong place
"Die Hard"
John McClane (Willis) is a New York City cop in L.A. trying to reconcile with his wife.

"White House Down"
John Cale (Tatum) is a U.S. Capitol Police Officer at the White House interviewing for a job with the Secret Service.

4. It's a one-man war
"Die Hard"
The terrorists are surprised to find that they've got a lone adversary with a machine gun.

"White House Down"
The terrorists (and in-house traitor) don't understand who's protecting the President since all the Secret Service agents are accounted for.

5. Estranged loved ones
"Die Hard"
McClane and his wife Holly are separated, hence the separate coastal living arrangement.

"White House Down"
Cale missed his daughter Emily's flag-twirling demonstration, so getting into the White House is his way of making it up to her.

6. Loved one (secretly) in jeopardy!
"Die Hard"
The terrorists have no idea they're holding McClane's wife hostage, since she's going by her maiden name in the corporate world. But when they do....

"White House Down"
The terrorists have no idea they're holding the John Cale's daughter, Emily, hostage. But when they do....

7. Reporters are jerks
"Die Hard"
Noxious reporter Richard Thornburg puts Holly and everyone else in danger in his drive to get the story.

"White House Down"
After Emily sneaks video footage of the terrorists, the media airs it, then idiotically announces her name and plasters her face all over the news.

8. Gotta have a hacker
"Die Hard"
A slick computer whiz is able to take over the building's security systems and hack into Takagai's vault

"White House Down"
An amoral hacker-for-hire breaches the White House's firewall for some major mayhem.

9. Why use the stairs?
"Die Hard"
McClane makes use of the elevator shaft to evade the terrorists.

"White House Down"
The President and Cale make use of the elevator shaft to evade the terrorists.

10. You gotta have a partner
"Die Hard"
McClane finds an unlikely ally in a beat cop who's the only one who has his back.

"White House Down"
The movie almost becomes a buddy comedy once the President realizes Cale's the only one who has his back.

11. Building goes boom!
"Die Hard"
McClane avoids a cataclysmic fireball by jumping off the skyscraper's roof near the end of the film, while secured by a fire hose.

"White House Down"
The terrorists set their plan in motion by blowing up the U.S. Capitol.

12. Roof top fight
"Die Hard"
McClane takes to the roof to try to get help and is shot at for his troubles. And then he's forced to jump from the roof when it all goes boom.

"White House Down"
When the terrorists take up position on top of the White House, Cale's got to stop them from using their javelin missiles on the cavalry choppers. (He also gets shot at for his troubles.)

13. The iconic white tank top
"Die Hard"
McClane is wearing just a white tank top for most of the movie (although it does inexplicably turn dark green at one point), then has his epic showdown with Hans Gruber barefoot and shirtless.

"White House Down"
Surely putting Tatum in a form-fitting white tank top on the poster is the movie's greatest homage to "Die Hard." But unlike with Willis, Tatum's tank stays on. (Hey, you can always just rent "Magic Mike" again.)

'White House Down': Roland Emmerich's 6-Second Review (Guest Editor Series)