(This week marks the 30th anniversary of Die Hard, arguably the greatest action movie of all time. To celebrate, /Film is exploring the film from every angle with a series of articles. Today: the cast and crew look back on the making of an action classic.)
John McTiernan‘s 1988 action tour de force is one of my favorite movies ever made. It’s a masterclass on every level: building entertaining characters, crafting escalating action, establishing and navigating geography, and putting an empathetic hero through the ringer in the face of extraordinary odds. McTiernan and his collaborators made this all look easy, but as the rash of Hollywood imitators that followed quickly proved, it was anything but.
Die Hard turns 30 years old this weekend, and to celebrate, I spoke with cinematographer Jan de Bont, writer Steven E. de Souza, and actor Reginald VelJohnson (who played Sergeant Al Powell) about why the film still holds up, how some of its most memorable scenes came together, and much more. Read More »
Jan De Bont had a moment in the sun in the mid ’90s when he directed Speed and Twister, and it should never be forgotten that he was a kick-ass cinematographer. You might have seen his work in a minor film called Die Hard. But De Bont last directed Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, released in 2001. Though a few different projects have seemed like possible new films for the director in the years since, nothing has taken that final step of delivering a cake with a concealed metal file so that De Bont could break himself out of director jail.
Now producers Joseph and Jack Nasser, who have a film named For a Good Time, Call… premiering at Sundance, are evidently ready to toss that big ring of cell keys to De Bont. They’ve signed him to direct Five Minutes to Live, which will be a remake of a heist film that was originally released in 1961 with Johnny Cash in the lead role. Read More »
With the lone exception of Speed, the critical appreciation for Jan de Bont‘s directorial efforts (Twister, The Haunting, Lara Craft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Speed 2: Cruise Control) has never come close to the success that he’s found at the worldwide box office—but now he may be aiming to change that. With years having gone by since his last film, his return to cinema looks to be a departure from the Hollywood genre pics he’s done throughout his career.
Find out all there is to know about the film, including who’s set to star, after the break. Read More »
“This sequel is, like, so Hollywood.”
Surreal. It’s beginning to feel like I’m the windshield and Hollywood’s remakes and sequels are the insects. Jan de Bont (yes, Speed, Speed 2: Cruise Control) will direct a sequel to 1991’s Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze/Gary Busey starrer Point Break entitled Point Break: Indo. Yes, it’s a theatrical sequel from RGM and Essential Entertainment. IESB reports that Reeves and Swayze have most likely been asked to return. Bodhi lives! This wise-ass guy from my middle school cafeteria days owes me $5. IESB also has the official plot synopsis…
When Billy Dalton, military special ops and star surfer, is disqualified from the pro-surfing tour, he takes off for the coast of Bali looking for the perfect wave. While there he’s recruited by a private security force who are trying to find a gang known as The Bush Administration, surfing outlaws and modern day pirates who work like “The Ex-Presidents,” a bank robbing crew from Malibu twenty years ago.
The Bush Administration? Really? That rots my brain. Of note, however, is that the original screenwriter, W. Peter Illiff (Patriot Games, Varsity Blues and \m/) also penned this installment, so the bitchin’ dialogue should remain intact. The production company is also boasting that de Bont’s film looks to have the “most extreme action stunts ever caught on camera.” Hmm, cameo by MEG? Kidding.
As you may recall, a Point Break sequel has been kicked around for many months. I’m rather skeptical that Swayze will be back due to his health, and back in March Reeves spat on all sequels, so…maybe Lori Petty can return a la Sandra Bullock? But here’s hoping for a gnarly reunion, I know Busey is (even though his character already RIP’d). Too bad director Kathryn Bigelow has bigger fish to fry, like Iraq. Her original (she also helmed Near Dark and Strange Days) is still one of the most re-watchable popcorn movies of the ’90s; the action film equivalent to really, really good chewing gum, a nice contact buzz and the smell of Mr. Zoggs’s Sex Wax in the morning.
UPDATE: Stream the first Point Break in its entirety at HULU. via AzizIsBored
Discuss: What is Jan de Bont thinking? What are you thinking? What’s Gary Busey thinking?
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Yesterday we reported that Dennis Hopper is set to star in Speed 3. We wondered is Speed series helmer Jan de Bont would also make a return, but decided that he would probably be too busy. Bont has been attached to Meg, a monster flick which involves the Carcharodon Megalodon, the 70 foot, 40 ton prehistoric cousin of the great white shark. The film has been delayed, but was supposed to go ahead come fall. Well apparently not.
Steve Alten, the author of the book, has revealed in his latest newsletter that the project has fallen into development hell. Alten wrote:
MEG MOVIE: Extinct at New Line Cinema
Yes, this is bad news mostly in the wasted two years.
The key execs at New Line always treated MEG like an unwanted stepchild, and now, with my option set to expire in October, the[y] decided NOT to proceed.
In a way this is actually GOOD news. The MEG movie WILL HAPPEN and it is better to wait and do it right with the right team than accept mediocrity. From now until October 30th (the day I officially get MEG back) we’ll be hard at work! Until then, I am restricted from offering details publicly because (technically) New Line still owns the rights to MEG. There are many people at New Line that really did work very hard on MEG and I appreciate their efforts. No bad feelings let’s just move on and work with the right studio that ACTUALLY WANTS TO MAKE A GREAT MOVIE AND OWN A BILLION DOLLAR FRANCHISE.
Hopefully some other movie studio will pick up the rights as it could make a cool movie. On the other hand it could be Deep Blue Sea, so it has to be done right. But the good news is that this frees Jan de Bont for a third Speed film. We’ll keep you updated.
Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?
The Guardian has revealed that 20th Century Fox has plans to make a third Speed movie, which will feature returning star Dennis Hopper. Here is what the article says:
“He certainly isn’t in the mood to discuss any of the half a dozen films he is due to appear in this year, a roster which is due to include a performance in Speed 3, even though I have plenty of questions about that. Surely his character Howard Payne died in a decapitation incident in the last reel of Speed 1? “It’s a river of shit,” he tells me pleasantly but firmly, “from which I have tried to extract some gold.”
So there you have it. No word on if Speed helmer Jan de Bont will return for the third film. Bont is in preproduction on Meg, a monster flick which involves the Carcharodon Megalodon, the 70 foot, 40 ton prehistoric cousin of the great white shark. The movie has supposedly been on hold because New Line were busy working on Rush Hour 3. But now with Ratner’s film set to hit theaters, I would think that Bont would be contractually obligated to go into production on Meg. Also no word on if Speed series stars Keanu Reeves and/or Sandra Bullock will also return. Let’s just hope for no Boats this time around.
My big concern is the obvious one which has already been asked: How will they bring Dennis Hopper’s character Howard Payne back from the dead? Could Speed 3 be a prequel or spin-off? One thing is for sure, Hopper isn’t talking.