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 »

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“The first casualty of war is innocence. Oops, the truth. I meant the first casualty of war is always the truth.”

Here’s the first trailer for Renny Harlin‘s 5 Days of War, which covers people trying to cover the war that broke out between Russia and Georgia in 2008. Serious topics aren’t exactly in the director’s wheelhouse; he’s best known for sequels (Die Hard 2, Nightmare on Elm St. 4) and the occasionally effective action movie (The Long Kiss Goodnight, Cliffhanger).

So I’ve been interested to see what comes of this slightly more serious project since it was announced in 2009. Harlin’s facility with action is certainly on display in this trailer, and I can’t really tell whether or not to have any expectations beyond that. Check it out below and make your own call. Read More »

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We wrote a couple months ago about Renny Harlin‘s upcoming film about the 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia. Now, as then, I’m interested in the film to see if Harlin can take what made a few of his films really entertaining (I’m thinking of Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea and The Long Kiss Goodnight) and apply it to something that isn’t so flashy. Can he come up with a film that’s actually good? It’s been a while. Today he’s got some of the cast lined up for the picture, which we now know will be called simply Georgia. Read More »

Renny Harlin Jumps On Russia/Georgia War Movie

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Renny Harlin had been hoping to get back to ‘real’ movies with Mannerheim, about Finnish politician Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, but financing for that project fell apart at the last minute. So Variety reports that he’s now set to direct a film based on the five-day conflict between Russia and Georgia, which took place on August 8 2008. This project is coming together fast, with Harlin just getting the script weeks ago, and will be a low-budget affair. But maybe that’s just what Harlin needs to break him out of the cycle of big, bad Hollywood movies.

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WWE Refuses to Stop Making Crappy Movies

John CenaI’m not a pro wrestling bash-er. I use to be a fan back in that big boom. I actually believe there is untapped talent in the organization, and am shocked that World Wrestling Entertainment has been unable to produce one single watchable movie.

That said, I think Vince McMahon should give up on his movie dreams. The last three efforts (See No Evil, The Marine, and The Condemned) have an average IMDb user rating of a 5.1 (which is pretty poor by even genre movie standards). Made for an estimated $50 million, the three films have made less than $41 million domestically. Lionsgate dumped the wrestling entertainment company, but the WWE have found another sucker in the form of the Fox genre arm, Fox Atomic.

WWE is teaming with Fox Atomic to produce 12 Rounds, an action film about a New Orleans police detective whose girlfriend is kidnapped. Star wrestler John Cena will star alongside Steve Harris, Aidan Gillen and Brian White. Hack action director Renny Harlin has been tapped to direct. Harlin, best known for directing Die Hard 2, has been recently involved in some of the worst genre movies of recent years: Driven, Exorcist: The Beginning and The Covenant.

Production begins on February 25th in New Orleans. Good luck with that. Let’s hope that the 133th round is direct to dvd.

source: Variety