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Chris Hicks: Want a take-charge president? How about 'Air Force One's' Harrison Ford?

So who's your candidate in the 2016 presidential race? It’s a question that’s come up a lot lately among my friends in various settings.

It’s time to start seriously thinking about whether this is going to be another year of voting against, or if there is someone I’m comfortable backing.

Hmmm. After giving it some serious thought, I’ve made my decision: James Marshall.

You know, the president played by Harrison Ford in “Air Force One.”

You might think that’s a frivolous suggestion, but in today’s combative political climate, a fictional take-charge candidate might have a real chance with a write-in campaign.

Think about it. In that 1997 flick (rated R), Marshall was a real take-charge leader of the free world. He was the POTUS with a plan — “Get off my plane!”

Over the past couple of decades, presidents in movies have become much more proactive. No longer do they just step aside and let their security team kick the bad guys around. These days, they step in and do the kicking themselves.

The latest is “London Has Fallen” (R), opening today, though from the trailer it’s hard to tell if President Benjamin Asher (as played by BYU alum Aaron Eckhart) has an opportunity to slap around some bad guys or if he just lets his Secret Service pal Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) handle all the tough-guy stuff.

After all, this is President Asher’s second terrorist crisis in which Banning has had to leap into action and save the big guy’s life.

“London Has Fallen” is a sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen” (R), which came out in 2013 with Eckhart and Butler in the same roles.

In that film, the president was taken hostage, and it was Banning to the rescue as buildings blew up around them. Now they’re in London, and Banning is apparently trying to keep the president from being taken hostage again as buildings blow up around them.

Come to think of it, if buildings are going to start blowing up wherever President Asher goes, and Banning is called upon to take care of business, maybe Banning would be the better candidate.

There is one small problem, however — Butler, the actor who plays Banning, is actually a native of Scotland. Certain other potential candidates might try to sue him if runs.

This minor movie trend probably began in earnest the year before “Air Force One,” with “Independence Day” (PG-13) — which also has a sequel coming out this year, “Independence Day: Resurgence” (not yet rated), opening June 24.

It’s not a stretch to see Eckhart’s President Asher still in office three years later, but the likelihood of Bill Pullman’s President Thomas Whitmore still residing in the White House two decades later is, to say the least, unlikely.

From the trailer, it’s apparent that Whitmore is the former president this time around, and if the cast list on is to be believed, it appears that Sela Ward plays President Lanford, the current commander in chief.

So will Lanford get into the battle with aliens firsthand, the way Whitmore did in the first film?

A former combat pilot, President Whitmore not only led the airborne fight to take down the evil alien mothership but also fired a rocket straight into the ship’s weak spot, starting its destruction sequence, one of the more memorable moments of “Independence Day.”

Let’s hope Ward’s Lanford has something to do besides simply standing around barking orders. It would be nice to see a female president get directly into the fight.

Another president who wasn’t shy about killing bad guys was James Sawyer, played by Jamie Foxx in “White House Down” (PG-13) — which opened in theaters in the summer of 2013, a mere three months after “Olympus Has Fallen.”

After the White House is taken down by terrorists, President Sawyer is rescued by a cop (Channing Tatum) — but he soon goes on the defensive as the film morphs into “Die Hard On 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” with the president wielding both a rocket launcher and a machine gun.

Then there’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (2012, R), with the title character, played by Benjamin Walker, using his axe to chop down, well, let’s just say it’s more than merely trees for logs.

Yes, I know Lincoln isn’t actually a fictional character. But, sorry, in this film he was.

So if a polling company called and asked me which movie president I’d vote for — Harrison Ford’s Marshall, Aaron Eckhart’s Asher, Bill Pullman’s Whitmore, Jamie Foxx’s Sawyer or Benjamin Walker’s Lincoln — it would be a tough call.

But Ford wins by a nose. A punch in the nose, that is.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at and can be contacted at