Focusing mainly on action flicks, John McTiernan had a fairly successful run of average to above-average movies that were generally well-received by fans and critics. It’s been ten years since he’s directed, and while I don’t know all the details, I imagine an ongoing trial related to lying to the FBI limited his ability to work in this capacity. He began serving his one-year sentence in April of this year.
It’s hard to say McTiernan gets the most of his actors, as pretty much everyone below I’ve seen do better elsewhere (with the possible exception of Alan Rickman). But he’s obviously skilled at directing stunts and special effects and it’s rare to be bored while watching one of his films.
Predator: Great sets, special effects and camerawork, along with the occasional good one-liner, help this action movie that really lacks in the acting department. The cinematic shining moment for my state’s former governor, for whatever that’s worth.
Die Hard: With A Vengeance: I saw this when it came out in 1995 having not seen any other in the movie in the series. I was underwhelmed. I felt the action scenes didn’t slow down long enough for me to enjoy them. I’d be willing to give it a second shot now that I’ve seen the first two.
The Hunt For Red October: The first of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels, The Hunt for Red October is a fairly gripping Cold War submarine story. Shortly, Sean Connery is a Soviet submarine captain who is heading directly for America, but to attack or defect? Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) is desperately trying to find out in time. Rough around the edges, but well-acted and suspenseful.
Die Hard: An evil group of baddies led by Alan Rickman take hostages in a skyscraper, including Bruce Willis’s wife. Willis spends the whole movie trying to save everyone and himself. The action is good, and unlike the third movie, there is room to breathe. Obviously some implausible moments, and the chief of police (among others in authority) is pointlessly obnoxious to make Willis and his sidekick look good, but it’s all made better by Alan Rickman, who plays a deliciously evil antagonist. One of my favorite action flicks. Yippy-ky-yay!
Other John McTiernan Movies You May Have Seen
Medicine Man (I fell asleep halfway through and had no desire to finish it)
Last Action Hero
The 13th Warrior
The Thomas Crown Affair