Word play may not be my thing (I warm the bench mostly,) but it must count for something that I would circumvent my limited vocabulary by smashing "explore" and "explosion" together to describe my experience of watching these videos. The behind-the-scenes footage of Die Hard 2 will give you an inside look at the stage combat, stunts, exploding squibs, and a heavily padded Bruce Willis. The video commentaries by director Renny Harlin are less commentaries on his film specifically than on filmmaking as a whole. It's basically like sitting in a film school lecture, only better -- because your professor directed Die Hard 2. Hit the jump for some excellent moviemaking lessons!
It's difficult, at least for me, to detach myself from the narrative world of action movies to see the real world working underneath. That's why I think I enjoy action movie BTS footage more than any other genre. I know that a fight sequence is one of the most challenging things to shoot, so being able to take a look at how it's done is invaluable -- even though I probably won't be writing or directing any action flicks any time soon. Check out the BTS footage below:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=smd6Cj_2URs
Here's a commentary by the film's director Renny Harlin about filmmaking and action films. The great thing about this first video is that Harlin basically takes us to film school for 12 minutes. He describes how he chose his shots, composed them, shot them, what lenses he used -- and he gives reasons why, which is sometimes more important than learning how.
In this second commentary, Harlin teaches us all about action films. It's a detailed walk-through of the entire genre; the tropes, the clichés, even the "snappy lines" often used in action films from that time.
What do you think? Were Renny Harlin's commentaries helpful to you? What was the most interesting aspect of either of the videos? What are some interesting lessons you've picked up while working on action films?