Happy "Trying Too Hard" Day!
For a year or two, it looked like Simon West was going to give Michael Bay a run for Jerry Bruckheimer’s money as the modern day king of mindless action. But then he followed up the gleefully ludicrous Con Air with the plain old ludicrous The General’s Daughter and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. And then we knew better.
The studios, however, seemed unconvinced. Indifferent to the appalling idiocy of his second and third features, Universal (and producer Barry Mendel) figured West was just the guy to transfer Patrick McGoohan’s immensely cerebral The Prisoner to the big screen (a threat happily extinguished in 2006 when Christopher Nolan and Janet & David Webb Peoples rescued the property); he also flirted with Black Hawk Down before Bruckheimer came to his senses and realized there was a legitimately great film to be made from the material.
The latter slight must still sting something awful because, two years after embarrassing himself with the marginally profitable remake of When a Stranger Calls, West is set to take another swing at realistic, ground-level combat with an adaptation of Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad. It’s the story of a Los Angeles Times journalist (David Zucchino) who, whilst covering the Iraq War, unwittingly finds himself riding along with the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Military Division as it goes toe-to-toe with Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard in a bloody effort to wrest control of the country’s capital. Sounds fascinating, right?
I just wish it were fascinating to, say, Michael Mann instead of West. Freedom Films, Emmett/Furla Films and Simon West Productions will produce Thunder Run independently – so if you’re hoping for West to get replaced by Luis Llosa, you can forget it.