John McTiernan

The Rise and Fall of an Action Movie Icon


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About the Book

John McTiernan is one of the most influential action filmmakers of his generation. Educated at the American Film Institute and influenced by European cinematic style, he made his name with a trio of groundbreaking action films—Predator, Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October. His later output was a mixture of successes and failures, including Last Action Hero, one of the most colossal misfires in Hollywood history. His career and personal life unravelled when he was indicted and briefly imprisoned for involvement in a wiretapping scandal. Drawing on extensive research, the author covers McTiernan’s tumultuous life and career, from his early triumphs through his extensive legal battles and his multiple attempts at a comeback.

About the Author(s)

Larry Taylor is an author and film historian. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Bibliographic Details

Larry Taylor

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7316-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3233-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part I: Euros and Nomads
1. The European Influence 11
2. Nomads 17
Part II: Welcome to the Jungle
3. Predator 23
4. The Van Damme Experiment 29
5. A Survival Story 34
6. Predator and “Taking the Piss Out” of ’80s Machismo 38
7. John McTiernan, Man of Action 42
Part III: Yippee Ki Yay
8. Nothing Lasts Forever 47
9. An Ode to Joy, Not Terror 54
10. Nakatomi Nuance 59
11. The New Action Template 63
Part IV: The Connery Years
12. The Clancy Phenomenon 69
13. There Will Never Be Another Red October 78
14. Finding the Medicine Man 81
Part V: Too Big to Fail?
15. Extremely Violent 89
16. Last Action Hero: Ahead of Its Time or Timeless Disaster? 97
17. “Simon Says” 104
18. No McTiernan, No Real McClane 112
Part VI: Highs and Lows
19. Trouble at Home 117
20. The Norse Debacle 119
21. In Defense of The 13th Warrior 125
22. Silver Lining 128
23. The Catherine Banning Affair 137
Part VII: Downward Spiral
24. Rollerball 143
25. Dodging a Bullet 153
26. Basic 155
Part VIII: Pellicano
27. The Pellicano Problem 163
28. The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove 171
29. Keep Moving 174
30. Inmate #43029-112 177
31. The Legal Mountain 182
32. Burning Bridges 188
33. The Comeback Kid? 191
34. Nothing Lasts Forever 194
Chapter Notes 201
Bibliography 208
Index 211

Book Reviews & Awards

• “An engrossing and enjoyable read…get yourself to your local bookstore and pick up your own copy of this fascinating and intriguing look at the life and career of one of the greatest action movie directors of all time.”—FanBase Press

• “This book does an incredible job detailing the history of John McTiernan’s work celebrating his many victories and unfortunately his fall from the ranks as one of the most successful film directors in Hollywood.”—Manta Ray Pictures