Welcome to Double Feature, a weekly column where Scott Pierce pairs a recent release that is the butter to an older flick's popcorn. Beware of spoilers.
White House Down's John Cale () is as American as apple pie. His John McClane-veneer is so obvious that the film becomes a parody of director 's own specific brand of explosive, proud-to-be-an-American patriotism. That's especially true when 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is referenced as the "famous building" in one of his own revered romps, Independence Day. Keep in mind that Emmerich is German.
Cale is a flawed, but puppy dog-faced hero. His young daughter calls him by his first name because they're not on the best of terms. The women of his life let him know how pathetic he is. However, 's assessment that he can't become a member of the secret service (he got C's in college) is irrelevant to the rest of us. After all, we've seen Cale twerk as Magic Mike. You're always rooting for him even when he's "failing." He's a war hero and a cop on top of his ability to booty pop.
His star truly is able to shine after the President of the United States () removes all troops from the Middle East because we're getting along fine and dandy with Iran. It proves to be a bad call when terrorists quickly take over the White House, but luckily Cale is able to prove his worth by giving the President a rocket launcher, all the while uncovering the intentions of the opposing forces.
Coming in at 137-minutes, you don't want to watch White House Down with an action movie equally as stupid or one with burning landmarks. Even the smartest people don't have enough brain cells to survive that marathon. Likewise, you can't pair it with an Academy Award-winning tense, smart thriller. You need something that straddles the line between comedy, sincerity, and action. Enter The Long Kiss Goodnight.
While Emmerich tries to remake Die Hard for 2013, The Long Kiss Goodnight's director, , actually made one. He directed the film's first sequel, along with another '90s action classic, Cliffhanger. Eventually, he went on direct Cutthroat Island with his ex-wife, , which nearly destroyed his career. As such, this hilarious, exciting buddy movie was largely overlooked.
Like Tatum's John Cale, Geena Davis' Samantha Caine is the embodiment of the red, white, and blue. She's a school teacher, she has a loving and devoted husband, and she's a member of the PTA. There's a few notable things that make her different: She suffers from amnesia, her body is full of scars, and she occasionally has confusing flashbacks to her former life. Caine's character has a one up on Cale because her flaws are uncovered when her identity as a highly trained government assassin named Charly Baltimore is revealed. Suddenly, she wants nothing to do with her kid or her small New England town.
Samantha Caines's humanity completely abandons ship when she decides to go back to being Charly Baltimore bottle blonde. The only thing keeping her grounded is her private eye sidekick, played by , as they outrun renegade government hit men. The tables turn when the film's villain manages to snag the daughter she no longer wants. Whereas Cale and the President in White House Down were good guys all along, Samantha Caine and Jackson's gumshoe have evolving identities that force them to actually become heroes and parents, instead of being misunderstood from the start. Anonymous bodies may be mowed down with gunfire, explosions, and lethal takedowns in both films, but The Long Kiss Goodnight's fantastic, funny script by gives it serious backbone.