Tag Archives: John McClane

White House Redux

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No sooner has Gerard Butler saved 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from wholly plausible and in no way absurd destruction at the hands of terrorists in “Olympus Has Fallen” than another screen hunk is up to the same patriotic larks.

Hollywood does love high concept duplication of effort, after all: we’ve had duelling volcano, asteroid, CGI Insect fable, Robin Hood and even Alfred Hitchcock films since 1990, so it’s no surprise that 2013 sees not at least two movies set amidst the smouldering ruins of a White House under terrorist attack.  Puzzingly, schlockbuster DTV studio The Asylum have been entirely remiss by not cranking out a Z-budget, franchise-aping homage to this trend.  Perplexed ain’t the half of it…

The aforementioned “Olympus…” is now out and garnering decent notices – as much for saving Gerard Butler from the inglorious rom-com movie jail he was seemingly doing time in.   The redoubtable Den of Geek even dubbed it a better “Die Hard” movie than the apparently dire “A Good Day To Die Hard“, which probably suggests that multiplex audiences might have preferred to see John McClane duking it out in the Oval Office than in Red Square.

Late June, then, sees the arrival of Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Channing Tatum (and Channing Tatum’s omnipresent nipples) in serial White House mangler Roland Emmerich‘s “White House Down” and a new trailer for said action opus has arrived, bringing with it amazing scenes of America under siege, panicky news people reporting on artfully staged chaos and Mr Tatum’s sweatily exuberant protuberances bewitching all who encounter them (I understand that Channing’s bits have their own three picture deal at Fox).

I’m intrigued to see what Roland Emmerich does with an unabashed action movie for a change – his stock in trade is the contemporary disaster movie and whilst he’s an old hand at laying waste to global monuments and iconic buildings, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be able to deliver on the tropes that fans of earnest blokes in increasingly dank vests wielding sub-machine guns seek from their Friday night frag fests.

The film opens on June 28th in the US, and in September in the UK.  It’s almost as if the subject matter won’t resonate quite so much with us cynical Brits…

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Yippee Ki-Ay, Muddled Farmers!

 

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Oh, John McClane – what absurdity have your corporate masters wrought?

News reaches us today that Twentieth Century Fox, noted purveyors of the cinematic arts, have taken the proverbial low road and are releasing “A Good Day to Die Hard” with a 12A rating.  The BBFC, our film classification organisation, offered Fox an uncut 15 certificate – the closest US equivalent being the R rating – but Fox took the BBFC’s advice on the necessary trims to get the rating down to a level suitable for the UK’s sugar-addled tween boys to behold.

In related news, I’m bailing on this franchise.

I have no problem with reducing the level of violence in a movie – given the choice between thrilling adventure and bloody conflict, I’m fine with dialling back the gore – but I do have problems with a distributor lying to an audience about the actual tone of their film in order to make a double-dip cash-grab.  Remember the ‘uncut’ release of “Die Hard 4.0” on DVD and Blu-Ray?  Yep, pretty much the same film as the theatrical cut bar some more unfettered cursing and stupid digital blood.

We can only expect Fox to push a bogus, unexpurgated cut in due course which presents the preferred, definitive experience for cineastes – wouldn’t it be better to have the courage of your convictions and make an actual, honest-to-goodness, “Die Hard” movie again?  Or is that just a notion which boggles minds over at Fox?

I call reboot, people.  Free McClane!

 

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The name’s McClane…John McClane.

It’s good to know where you stand sometimes – witness this clip, via IGN.com, from February’s “A Good Die To Die Hard”.

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With each moment of glorious vehicular abuse, John McClane‘s caterpillar to butterfly like evolution from resourceful beat cop to blue-collar James Bond seems complete, doesn’t it?  The beaten-down, right-guy-in-the-wrong-place vibe of the original movie has long since become unravelled by the need to pitch McClane into new and more exaggerated jeopardy with each sequel.

Remember this bit from “Live Free or Die Hard”/”Die Hard 4.0”?  Yes, quite.

"Free Pussy Riot? Challenge accepted..."

“Free Pussy Riot? Challenge accepted…”

If I were a harsher critic of this series, I’d say that this was more or less the point at which the franchise jumped the shark (and then killed it with a concealed rocket launcher), but I just can’t bring myself to get ticked off at the “Die Hard” flicks or their increasingly irascible hero.  As Willis gets craggier and ever more likely to request that you damn kids get off his lawn with each movie, he somehow becomes more endearing – witness the bit in the first clip linked above where he punches out a Russian motorist to commandeer his vehicle.

The films now inhabit some kind of pleasant virtual realm where vacationing  Jerseyite McClane can slug a random citizen with impunity and suffer barely a politsya scolding by way of consequence – five minutes browsing on YouTube will doubtless find you numerous videos indicating that such behaviour in Moscow will earn you a one way ticket to Slabville:  Our Russian compatriots do not eff around.

“A Good Day To Die Hard” opens in cinemas in February.  And a delightfully morally unambiguous slice of retro-mayhem it promises to be.

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Like father, like gun…

 

If it’s Monday, I must be destroying large swathes of Moscow…

How can the same shizz happen to the same guy…five times?

Yes, after Len Wiseman‘s Die Hard 4.0 (“Live Free or Die Hard to folks Stateside) relaunched John McClane‘s cinematic adventures a few years ago, we’re due another go-round with NYC’s most lethal killing machine/proud pop.

Another tough day at the office…

And, indeed, it appears that this instalment of the “Die Hard” series is ‘take your kid to work day’, as McClane Junior is along for the ride and the proverbial apple

And here it is – the first teaser trailer for February 2013’s “A Good Day to Die Hard”, directed by bonkers Irishman John Moore (his previous work includes “Max Payne“, “The Omen” remake, “Flight of the Phoenix” and “Behind Enemy Lines“).

Things explode, young women are incapable of keeping their clothes on around him, Ode to Joy is playing all the time – it’s as comfortable as a pair of worn-in shoes, frankly.

See you down the front on February 14th (or thereabouts), fight fans.

 

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Kevin Smith – tough on airlines, not biggest Bruce Willis fan.

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I make no bones about being a Kevin Smith fan.  Even if “Clerks” had been the totality of his output and he had never made another film, one could make a case for his being an original and engaging cinema voice quite unlike any other.

Thankfully, he has made more than a few films well worthy of viewing – I regularly put “Mallrats” in for a viewing, love the hell out of “Dogma” as a statement on faith and think “Clerks 2” may be that rare sequel which is better than the original instalment in the series.

Even films like “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” get regular play from me – it isn’t big, it certainly isn’t clever but its profane warmth, Morris Day and The Time climactic dance number and George Carlin cameo make it worth checking out every couple of years.  And I like “Jersey Girl” without any irony whatsoever – I think it’s a charming and oddly truthful look at being an adult and trying to negotiate your dreams and balance far-fetched notions with the demands of family.

My issues with Smith’s recent output are shared by the director himself in his new book, “Tough Shit – Life Advice From a Fat Lazy Slob Who Did Good”.

He seems bemused and chastened by the failure of “Zack and Miri Make A Porno” – which I confess to having found not very interesting when I watched half of it a few years ago.  It’s still on my Blu-Ray shelf, waiting to be watched completely and probably isn’t anywhere near as annoying as I found it on initial viewing.

Reflecting on the fact that he somehow managed to end kindred spirit Seth Rogen‘s box office winning streak when they worked together, Smith is quick to note that by the time that “Zack and Miri” came around, his films were increasingly informed by cinema as an art form itself rather than any resemblance to real life and suffered accordingly for that disconnection from the audience.

Still, at least I own “Zack and Miri” – I have yet to find a copy of Smith’s subsequent major studio Bruce Willis vehicle “Cop Out” online which is cheap enough to persuade me to buy it.  I rented the film and made my way through twenty minutes before getting the distinct sense that A) Bruce Willis was phoning it in and B) That Kevin, if not quite at the phone booth, was certainly in the queue behind Willis and making ready to do same.

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Reading Smith’s new book, it’s a wonder that he made it through the shoot without giving the once and future John McClane a richly deserved kick in the unmentionables.

Diva antics like you wouldn’t believe, a refusal to turn up and y’know act, and a distinct sense that he stopped enjoying his work many years ago – Willis doesn’t come over well and this negative pen portrait is only enhanced by Smith employing the same degree of lacerating analysis to himself, so as to neatly sidestep any accusations of placing the blame for an underperforming film on its lead actor in a bid to excuse his own shortcomings as a film maker – short comings which Smith is only too keen to point out at regular intervals in the book.

It’s an enjoyable read and a neat spin on the traditional self-help/motivational tome which clogs up bookstores the planet over – Smith’s central thesis is that life is so unavoidably finite and essentially devoid of meaning that any minute spent doing something that you hate is a moment too long.

Admittedly, in Smith’s case, such vocational pursuits are usually studio films with a decent pay cheque attached but the point is well made – if you’re going to check out from this planetary orbit in thirty or so years, you may as well do so having spent your life engaged in things which make you happy.

Any ideas on how to turn wearing cargo shorts, liking unhip European metal bands and tickling my dog’s belly into a mortgage-paying career opportunity will be gratefully received.

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