Badass U.S. Presidents in Media

I know I’ve only recently begun talking about archetypes in media— actually, only one: the Doll Archetype— but I feel this one is one that needs to be expanded upon much further: Badass U.S. Presidents.

I’m sure most of us have seen the awesome that is Air Force One with Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, but how many other examples of Badass U.S. Presidents can you think of? Not too many, huh? I originally intended for this to be a Top 10 list of Badass U.S. Presidents in Film, but I soon found that I didn’t have enough material for even a Top 5 list. As much as this didn’t really surprise me, it did get me thinking about it a lot. Why hasn’t this amazing source of media gold been mined for all it’s worth yet? Who wouldn’t want to see the leader of the free world roll up his sleeves dirty and beat some baddies? Well, lets just go over what we have so far:

For those who aren’t familiar with Air Force One, it is, as the name implies, about The President’s jet: Air Force One. Harrison Ford stars as President James Marshall, who had just given a speech in Moscow detailing his new plan on the war against terrorism. On his way back to Washington, Air Force One is hijacked by Soviet extremists, lead by Gary Oldman, threatening to kill everyone on the plane if their demands aren’t meant. The President isn’t immediately captured, and the terrorists believe he made it off the plane via escape pod, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Like the badass president he is, Harrison Ford begins to single-handedly take back the plane by fighting back against the Russians, eventually saving the plane, and hence the day. You cannot deny that complete and utter badass this President holds.

But what other examples are there of badass presidents in media? Well, the next one that comes to mind is another 90’s film, Independence Day, starring Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, as well as Bill Pullman as President Thomas J. Whitmore. While Bill Pullman’s role isn’t as large as Ford’s in Air Force One, he still plays his badass hand of cards by giving an epic speech just before hopping in a fighter jet to fight an invasion of genocidal aliens. Badass points to Pullman.

After this we have Jack Nicholson with his role as President James Dale in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks. While not as directly straightforward and badass as Ford and Pullman, there’s just something about Jack Nicholson’s character in this movie which reeks of badass. He doesn’t do anything heroic— in fact, he’s portrayed as a corrupted politician that, like most, just happens to be a great speaker— but he has such presence that, had he lived, would’ve definitely had him in the group of badass presidents. His final speech just before being murdered is so great that I sometimes find myself looking it up on Youtube.com just to see it again and again (and then spam it to other people). In fact, lets watch it now:

Eh, he was an asshole; I’d have killed him too. But nevertheless, that asshole was a badass.

Moving away from film and into the manga realm (yes, there’s a manga featuring Badass U.S. Presidents), we see the greatness that is Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku. Now, I’ve only read a chapter or two myself, but from what I’ve seen this manga exceeds epicness in portraying real life world leaders in a high stakes setting over a game of Mahjong. Since I haven’t really followed it, I won’t go into details, but I will say that it is awesome. The strictly satirical humor of such leaders as the President Bush Junior and Senior will have you slapping your knees in laughter. Just imagine Balls of Fury meets Mahjong meets Politics.

So, what else is there? Well, the upcoming film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based off the book of the same name, is certainly raising hopes that this Badass U.S. President archetype catches on a bit more and we can start seeing U.S. Presidents becoming the new action heroes, or maybe the old action heroes as Presidents (Bruce Willis would be an awesome president, and you know it). But we’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, we still have the badassery of Harrison Ford, Bill Pullman, and even Jack Nicholson? But certainly my knowledge isn’t so extending to know everything about each subject, just most, so if you can think of any other examples of Badass U.S. Presidents in media, whether it be film, literature, video games, whatever, please let me know because I’m very interested in this archetype and would love to see more. Until then, well, this has just been the Geek With Taste babbling about inconsequential topics once again.

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