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A group of terrorists, a ransom demand, a hidden agenda, a scrupulous leader, a man alone in the building, fighting back and shooting firearms while rolling over in his bloody shirt. I am not sure whether there are other examples where a sacred cow of cinema has been so bluntly replicated not once, but twice, and within a few months. The plot descriptions for Die Hard, Olympus has Fallen and White House Down are exactly identical, and the often-read nickname “Die Hard in the White House” reflects this very accurately (for both of the latter).

And you know what: I don’t care! I found both Olympus and White House Down to be thoroughly entertaining. Never mind I cannot remember whoever played the hero in White House Down (or in “Olympus”, for that matter), it really does not matter. What matters is a spectacular opening with plenty of infrastructure going up in flames, a calm middle sequence with silent conversations between the hero and his ally (who in this case happens to be the US President, aka Jamie Foxx), and a showdown that does away with the rest of the building and the terrorists. Of course it is ballsy to not inject a single bit of original idea into the basic plot, but if you enter the screening in the right mindset (i.e. with logic and aesthetic taste temporarily shut off) there is no way of not enjoying the carnage that befalls the supposedly impenetrable White House. And there’s love interests, ill-hidden relatives, patriotic flag-waving, and a considerable amount of military hardware, computer geniuses and leadership struggles on both ends of the stand-off. Just the way it’s supposed to be in a Roland Emmerich Summer movie.

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