[With A Good Day to Die Hard set to open this Thursday, we'll be taking a look back at the first four Die Hard movies. These reviews will contain spoilers since the movies have been out for years. Click on the respective links for my look back at Die Hard and Die Hard 2.]
I like to consider Die Hard with a Vengeance the true sequel to Die Hard. It’s bigger, bolder, darker, but still retains the same sense of desperation, humor, and intensity of the first movie. Unlike Die Hard 2, the purpose of Die Hard with a Vengeance isn’t to copy the plot elements of the first film, but to take the spirit of the original and paint it on a broader canvas. Die Hard with a Vengeance takes what could have been a stolid, safe entry, and instead shakes up the formula to keep John McClane (Bruce Willis) alive and kicking, which is impressive for a guy who should have died many times over.
[With A Good Day to Die Hard set to open this Thursday, we'll be taking a look back at the first four Die Hard movies. These reviews will contain spoilers since the movies have been out for years.]
When I hear the words “best action movie”, I immediately think of Die Hard. No other film even comes close. It is pure action removed from sci-fi or any other genre. Even though there were plenty of blockbuster action movies in the 1980s, Die Hard is unique in how it constantly puts its hero at a massive disadvantage. To the extent that a blockbuster will allow, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is the everyman. Schwarzenegger and Stallone were the physically imposing heroes, but Willis brought a scrappy quality to McClane even though the character’s actions verged on superhuman. Although he’s very hard to kill, McClane is both the reluctant hero and the ideal 1980s American hero. From its unforgettable protagonist, Die Hard took on an identity that made it distinct and enduring.
It’s been almost fifteen years since Face/Off, and Nicolas Cage and John Travolta are looking at not one but two indie thrillers where they can compete to chew the most scenery. Vulture reports that the actors may re-team on Shrapnel, which is about “a former Bosnian soldier who seeks vengeance against the American who badly wounded him by disguising a deadly war game as a friendly backwoods hunting trip.” I wonder if Cage and Travolta are arguing over who gets to play the Bosnian and put on the most atrocious accent.
Evan Dougherty’s script for Shrapnel was on the 2008 Black List (a list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood) and had John McTiernan attached to direct. However, last October McTiernan was thrown in jail for perjury in the Anthony Pellicano Hollywood wiretap case. He’s currently out on bail and appealing the sentence. Filming on Shrapnel is set to begin in June, but Vulture doesn’t mention if McTiernan is still attached.
Hit the jump to learn about the other project Cage and Travolta are considering.
by Jason Barr Posted: September 10th, 2010 at 7:21 am
Veteran director John McTiernan (Die Hard) has inked a deal to direct the action/thriller Shrapnel. Penned by Evan Daugherty, the film focuses on two war veterans who find themselves hunting one another. The script was on the 2008 Black List which names the top unproduced screenplays of the year. While McTiernan’s track record of directing action seemingly makes him a great fit for the project (you may remember 1987′s Predator), the filmmaker hasn’t had a film in theaters since 2003′s Basic and even his involvement in Shrapnel is dependent upon the resolution of some legal troubles.
Per Variety, McTiernan is still on the hook for “making false statements to law enforcement officials” and faces sentencing on October 4th. If all goes well on that front, the film should begin casting fairly soon according to co-producer Anthony Rhulen. Shrapnel is being produced by the Belgian production company Corsan and Los Angeles’ FilmEngine. The film is currently being shopped to foreign buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“You’re ghostin’ us, motherfucker. I don’t care who you are back in the world, you give away our position one more time, I’ll bleed ya, real quiet. Leave ya here. Got that?” Watching Predator again it’s always amazing how much of the film is intensely quotable. But perhaps it’s that if you were alive and near a playground, twelve year old boys ate this film up, and watched it repeatedly on HBO. The film is about a bunch of tough hombres (including Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Shane Black, Sonny Landham, and Carl Weathers) headed up by Arnold Schwarzenegger who are sent into the Latin America jungles to rescue some hostages, but end up being targeted by an alien who’s come to the jungle to hunt men. It’s a simple premise, precisely executed by John McTiernan, and has become an action classic since release. My review of the new and controversial Blu-ray edition of Predator (labeled the Ultimate Hunter Edition) after the jump.
The Thomas Crown Affair is one of the best movies John McTiernan ever made, features awesome supporting work by Denis Leary and Rene Russo’s breasts, and contains what’s arguably Pierce Brosnan’s finest performance. The film just arrived on BluRay, and there’s a good chance that– if you’re already a fan of the film– you’ve got a copy already in the lowly DVD format. So, is The Thomas Crown Affair worth a double dip? If you don’t have the DVD version, should you pick up this fancy new one? Find out after the jump, my precious snowflakes.
As Blu-ray keeps going we’re going to get releases of some classic films, and Sony has put out to early 90′s action films that benefit from new transfers. Those films are both from 1993: Cliffhanger and The Last Action Hero. The pairing of these films as interesting as they both star action stars from the 1980′s (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone) at the beginning of the end of their runs. But the end of the decade, both had worn out their welcome as the industry shifted towards comic book heroes for their summer thrills. My reviews of Cliffhanger and Last Action Hero after the jump.