April 23, 2014

John McTiernan back in the game to direct “Shrapnel”

By Scott Mendelson

HollywoodNews.com: Just a few days after Jan De Bont inked a deal to end his seven-year sabbatical, now fellow action god John McTiernan is apparently back in the saddle as well. McTiernan, best known as ‘that guy who directed Die Hard’, is set to direct an original picture entitled “Shrapnel,” which will apparently involve two war veterans who hunt each other in some kind of game. Unbeknownst to me until today, he also has a project apparently in production called The Camel Wars, which involves an Iraqi-American being sent to fight in the Iraq War. According to IMDB, said action-drama will be released on June 1st, 2011.

Unlike Jan De Bont, who directed four films over five years, made a fifth (“Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life”) in 2003 and then vanished, McTiernan worked relatively steadily for a good seventeen years, making eleven films between 1986 (“Nomads”) and 2003 (Basic). Of course, McTiernan is known for the triple whammy of “Predator” (1987), “Die Hard” (1988) and “The Hunt For Red October” (1990).

Alas, general misfortune soon followed, as the mediocre “Medicine Man” (1992) and the 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger box office and the critical stinker “Last Action Hero” (which to be fair, probably looked like a winner on paper) caused McTiernan to retreat to the Die Hard franchise for the third entry, “Die Hard: With A Vengeance” (1995). The $100 million+ costing sequel barely crossed $100 million in the US, but wracked up $266 million overseas, becoming one of the first films in modern times to far exceed its domestic gross overseas (the picture holds up exceptionally well fifteen years later).

1996 to 2003 brought a run of mediocre films that tanked at the box office, with the only bright spot being the 1999 remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair.” The 13th Warrior debuted at the end of summer 1999, and although it was better than expected, the studio barely bothered to market the troubled and delayed Michael Crichton adaptation (McTiernan was allegedly fired from the film). Rollerball and Basic came and went in 2002 and 2003, and that was the end of McTiernan until now.

To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos.

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About Scott Mendelson

Mendelson's Memos: The basics - 30 years old, married with one child, currently residing in Woodland Hills, CA. I am simply a longtime film critic and pundit of sorts, especially in the realm of box office. The main content will be film reviews, trailer reviews, essays, and box office analysis and comparison. I also syndicate myself at The Huffington Post and Open Salon. I will update as often as my schedule allows. Yes, I'm on Facebook/Twitter/LinkIn, so feel free to find me there. All comments are appreciated, just be civil and try to keep a level discourse, as I will make every effort to do the same. Read more at Mendelson's Memos:

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