Missing In Action: The Throne Of John McTiernan

When you speak about some of the most prominent directors in the history of Cinema, names such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, Satyajit Ray, Alfred Hitchcock, Krzysztof Kieślowski and others (the list goes on) comes to your mind immediately as well as talked terrestrially. Be it film schools or film seminars, film festivals or any film convention, or maybe just a simple conversation on cinema, some of these names will surely suffice the topic. But I’m not here to talk about these legends rather I want to talk about someone who will never be discussed in any film forums, or whose films will never be a part of the syllabus in any film school (not sure if they are), but still holds a distinct place in the heart of ‘Die Hard’ fans – ladies and gentleman – John McTiernan!

I’m also not interested in discussing the legal issues and controversies surrounding John McTiernan or his pretentious downfall from being the undisputed ‘King’ of action films to just another forgotten name in the business. What I want to talk about is – the John McTiernan – who has directed cult classics such as Die Hard and Predator, while other notable works include – The Hunt for Red October, The 13th Warrior, The Thomas Crown Affair and the action satire Last Action Hero. ‘Die Hard’ is still regarded as the greatest action film of all time by fans and critics all around the globe.

John McTiernan in Die Hard Shoot
Source – Vanity Fair

During his earlier days, McTiernan didn’t get a chance to make high budget films in his career, but he did get the opportunity to collaborate with some of the biggest names in the genre like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery, Samuel L. Jackson, and Antonio Banderas to name a few. If you look at two of his most cult films, Die Hard and Predator, there’s practically no substantial plot – a cop trying to save hostages from a German terrorist at one hand, while on the other hand a group of mercenaries fighting for their survival against a killer Alien.  But the way he crafted those films enthrals audiences even to this very day.

John McTiernan in Predator Shoot
Source – Deep Cuts

It was only last night that I was watching The Predator (2018), and how it felt so mediocre thirty years after the original film was released, which was a similar case with other Predator films as well, or even the Die Hard franchise that could never reach the same height as the first one. McTiernan himself directed the third installment of the Die Hard franchise, which received moderate success. He also directed a pretty impressive action satire, Last Action Hero, which poked fun at the action genre. The film came out before it’s time and widely misunderstood as some lame action-comedy film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. During the latter part of his career, McTiernan’s films tanked at the box office and also fetched negative reviews that marked the beginning of his fallen empire.

McTiernan has been out of action for over one and a half decades, and while there have been few rumors about his comeback – I remember some news about a film starring Robert De Nero and Dave Bautista a few years back – there hasn’t been anything concrete till date. But fans did get a moment to rejoice when he made a short promotional film for Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands last year. The promotional film is available on YouTube if you haven’t seen it yet. It gave us a glimpse of vintage McTiernan proving he has still got some fuel left in the tank. There were few speculations and rumor of him helming a Ghost Recon film, but it’s complete radio silence since then.

He is one of those few vintage directors like John Woo who mastered the art of making action films, and even though he has been missing in action for a while, who knows[bctt tweet=” Someday he will make an entrance like John McLane, until then “Yippee Ki Yay MotherFucker”.” username=”SMomus”]

What do you think?

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