Ever since he first danced his way into the hearts of moviegoers in the 2006 romantic drama Step Up, Channing Tatum has been one of the most popular, versatile and surprising actors in Hollywood. With the ability to effectively jump back and forth between the worlds of comedy, romance and drama —sometimes all in one movie— Tatum has long made the case for himself being one of the best actors of his generation, even if he doesn’t always get the credit he deserves.
As we look ahead to some of his promising movies on the horizon, specifically DOG, the upcoming buddy adventure about an Army Ranger bringing a military dog to a soldier’s funeral, and then THE LOST CITY, which follows a model as he attempts to save a writer from an eccentric billionaire, now seems like the perfect time to highlight five of Channing Tatum’s best movies that showcase everything he has to offer.
In 2017, Channing Tatum and director Steven Soderbergh got together for the fourth time in their respective careers for the dark comedy heist film LOGAN LUCKY. This all-star affair, which featured a cast consisting of Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough and others, follows Jimmy Logan (Tatum), a recently laid off construction worker who puts together a team to pull off “Ocean’s Seven-Eleven,” an elaborate robbery at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the middle of the annual Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race.
Channing Tatum is at the top of his game in this hilarious, tense and action-packed comedy, and his portrayal of the down-on-his-luck divorcee is so likable you can’t help but root for him at every turn —even when he’s at fault for his current situation. It’s hard to imagine anyone else taking on the role of Jimmy Logan and being able to add as much comedy and humanity as Tatum.
The collaboration between Channing Tatum and Steven Soderbergh, which started with HAYWIRE, really picked up the next year with the 2012 comedy-drama MAGIC MIKE, which centered on the world of male strippers in Tampa, Florida. Tatum takes on the role of Michael “Magic Mike” Lane, the Xquisite Strip Club’s main attraction who finds himself at a crossroads, both professionally and personally, after taking a young aspiring dancer under his wing.
On the surface, MAGIC MIKE —this applies to both the movie and the main character— seems like a shallow and beefy movie about male strippers, but a few minutes in, you realize it is anything but a two-hour parade of men in skimpy underwear. And a lot of that is due to Channing Tatum’s performance, which showcases both his talents as a dramatic actor and a dancer, especially in all of those epic dance numbers peppered throughout this riveting drama.
21 Jump Street
One of the biggest surprises at the box office in early 2012 was Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s adaptation of “21 Jump Street”, which brought the beloved crime procedural show about an undercover operation at a high school into the 21st Century. This version follows police officers Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) as they infiltrate the various social circles at Sagan High School to uncover a massive drug conspiracy.
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill bring out the best in one another in 21 JUMP STREET and together make for one of the best pairings in a buddy cop movie in quite some time. Hill’s performance was no surprise at the time, considering his work in SUPERBAD and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, but Tatum, who hadn’t been in all that many comedies at the time, showed he was a force to be reckoned with in the genre. And if you look at his filmography after the film’s release, Tatum continued to show up —and grow more comfortable— in more comedic roles with movies like THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, LOGAN LUCKY, AMERICA; THE MOVIE and one of the many cameos in FREE GUY.
White House Down
Roland Emmerich has a reputation of bringing destruction to some of the most iconic landmarks on all corners of the map, and he kept that going in the 2013 action thriller WHITE HOUSE DOWN, which saw the partial or complete destruction of the U.S. Capitol, Air Force One and the White House itself. The movie centers on Capitol Police Officer John Cale (Channing Tatum) as he finds himself in the right place at the right time to protect President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) in the middle of a surprise attack at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Channing Tatum had already established himself as an action star at this point in his career with the likes of FIGHTING, the G.I. JOE movies and HAYWIRE, but his portrayal of a police officer, father and aspiring Secret Service agent in WHITE HOUSE DOWN further cemented his legacy. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves big action flicks with insane set pieces and electric leads like Tatum and Jamie Foxx.
In 2015, Bennett Miller brought one of the most shocking sports stories of the late 20th Century to the big screen with FOXCATCHER, which was nothing short of a masterpiece and accumulated all kinds of awards and accolades upon its release This dark and dramatic tale follows Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) as he is taken under the wing of John E. du Pont (Steve Carell), a wealthy sports enthusiast with a terrifying temper and other issues.
A lot of the buzz surrounding the release of FOXCATCHER was focused on the performances by Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, who played Dave Schultz, but Channing Tatum’s portrayal of a broken down athlete attempting to get back to his former Olympic glory is just as impressive. The way in which Tatum is able to embody the real-life figure’s determination and self-doubt is nothing short of masterful and still stands as one of his best performances so far.
These are just some of the best Channing Tatum movies that have been released over the years, and with the release of DOG and THE LOST CITY later on, expect the list to keep on growing in the very near future.