Many of us grew up watching Renny Harlin’s action movies like Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2, and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. It would be several more years before Jackie Chan was properly introduced to America with the U.S. release of Rumble in the Bronx. The two represent quite different approaches to action, with Harlin embodying the explosive bombastic American style and Chan his own unique brand of comedic martial arts.
Harlin directed Chan’s latest movie, Skiptrace. Chan plays Hong Kong detective Benny Chan, who is mismatched with an American gambler Connor Watts (Johnny Knoxville). Chan has to get Watts back to Hong Kong, but their journey will take them from Russia, to the mainland, through the desert and the cities, all while being chased by bad guys led by Dasha (Eve Torres). Some of Chan’s trademark set pieces include a fight in a Russian nesting doll factory, and another scene has him singing “Rolling in the Deep.”
We spoke with Harlin by phone out of his Beijing office, because he’s staying put there. I had actually corresponded with Harlin on Twitter last year after the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles showed his maligned pirate film Cutthroat Island. 20 years later it finally played to a friendly crowd. We started out talking about the Cutthroat Island screening, and discussed Jackie Chan, American vs. Chinese filmmaking, and more. Read More »
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan became a huge star in the United States. His incredible stunt work caught the attention of Hollywood and action fans alike, and a handful of his movies received a domestic release in theaters, albeit with dubbed dialogue. Shortly thereafter, Chan was starring in Hollywood films like Rush Hour with Chris Tucker, Shanghai Noon with Owen Wilson and even his own starring vehicle, The Tuxedo. Now he’s back in a movie that feels like it got lost in a couch cushion back in 2001.
Skiptrace is a new action comedy from Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger director Renny Harlin, and it puts Jackie Chan into the lead role alongside an American actor for comedic relief. This time it’s Jackass star Johnny Knoxville starring alongside Jackie Chan, and as you’ll see in the trailer that just debuted, the two couldn’t be a more mismatched pair. Watch the Skiptrace trailer after the jump. Read More »
A couple months back, Paul Scheer and the gang covered The Covenant on How Did This Get Made? Ever since then, Paul and I have been trying to arrange an interview with the film’s director, the great Renny Harlin, a Finnish-born filmmaker best known for helming action-packed classics like Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger.
It took a little while to coordinate the conversation, as Harlin has been stationed in China these past two years. But luckily for us, between finishing post on his upcoming Jackie Chan film Skiptrace and launching his new production company in Beijing, Harlin carved out an hour to take a stroll down memory lane.
During our chat, we talked about all sorts of things. From his mission to assemble the “sexiest cast ever” for The Covenant to his original choice to play the villain in Cliffhanger. But as interesting as details like that can be—and as wonderfully quotable as Harlin tends to be—they pale in comparison to the unexpected and over-arching story of Harlin’s career. A career that, as you will now see, never even should have been…
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Jackie Chan isn’t yet ready to become Expendable, because he’s busy making his own big action films. One project he’s been developing is called Skiptrace, and features Jackie and Seann William Scott in a globe-trotting action buddy comedy. Now Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, The Long Kiss Goodnight) will direct the film, with a shoot planned for later this summer. Fan Bingbing (Iron Man 3, X-Men: Days of Future Past) will also appear.
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Posted on Friday, December 13th, 2013 by Angie Han
It remains to be seen which of the two Hercules movies due out next year will emerge victorious from the blood-stained arena that is the global box office. But in the race to put out a whole bunch of trailers, The Legend of Hercules is beating Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules by a very comfortable margin.
Summit has just released the third trailer for the sword-and-sandal epic, which was directed by Renny Harlin and stars Kellan Lutz as the half-god hero. The results are, well, about what you’d expect. Watch it after the jump.
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What was once Hercules: The Legend Begins is now The Legend of Hercules. The film directed by Renny Harlin and starring Kellan Lutz hasn’t changed otherwise, but below we’ve got a new trailer and poster to reflect the name change. Read More »
Here’s a new tease for the Great Hercules Smackdown of 2014. Two films featuring the mythological character will hit theaters next year, and the first will be Hercules: The Legend Begins, from Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger) and starring Kellan Lutz (Twilight) in the lead role.
This isn’t the story of arrogant Hercules having to clean stables to appease daddy Zeus; it’s about a badass warrior who also happens to be a lovesick puppy. It seems like 300 meets Gladiator, and then Hercules is reminded that his father was a god, and the powers start to manifest. Check out a trailer below. Read More »
Posted on Friday, April 5th, 2013 by Angie Han
While Brett Ratner’s Hercules for MGM/Paramount has been busy nailing down supporting actors over the past couple of months, Millennium’s competing Hercules 3D is just getting started on casting. And first up is the legendary warrior himself. Twilight actor Kellan Lutz has just signed on to take the lead in the film, which is being directed by Renny Harlin. Hit the jump for more info.
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Posted on Monday, February 4th, 2013 by Angie Han
Weeks after MGM and Paramount announced a summer 2014 release for their Hercules project with director Brett Ratner and star Dwayne Johnson, Millennium has set a spring 2014 date for its own take on the hero. This one comes from Die Hard 2 helmer Renny Harlin and will be in 3D, as evidenced by its title Hercules 3D. No stars are attached as of yet, but look for that to change soon as the project barrels toward a May start. More details after the jump.
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Hollywood loves stories of failure almost more than it loves success. The tales of flops such as Heaven’s Gate, Ishtar and The Bonfire of the Vanities have spawned endless conversations, magazine articles and no few books. But the story of a flop is often distilled down into over-simplified factoids and circumstances. In the broad public view, all most people tend to know is that a movie was over-ambitious or poorly conceived, and that it tanked, possibly taking companies and careers with it.
One of the legendary flops is Renny Harlin‘s Cutthroat Island, a 1995 pirate film that starred his then-wife Geena Davis and actor Matthew Modine. The film cost almost a hundred million to make, and raked in only about one-tenth that amount. Stories have flown that the movie’s failure was responsible for the demise of production company Carolco. That company previously made Basic Instinct, Cliffhanger, Terminator 2, and other successful films, as well as another oft-discussed dog, Showgirls, released only months before Cutthroat Island.
In a new interview to promote his current film 5 Days of War, Harlin talks candidly about the experience of making Cutthroat Island, and the fact of it being a financial disaster. His statements are frank. While he indicts Carolco for making the film when he says the company was insolvent, he also accepts a certain arrogance of his own, inflated by the success of Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, as being part of the problem. But, he says, if he’d been allowed to walk away, the movie never would have happened at all. Read More »