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The convoluted flop that marked the final stand for one of action’s greatest-ever directors gets its story straight on Netflix

It's still the underwhelming footnote to an all-timer of a career.

Image via Sony

There’s a definite distinction between directors that have made action movies and action movie directors who specialize in the genre, with John McTiernan comfortably standing out as one of the greatest ever. Unfortunately, it’s been 20 years since he last helmed a feature, and it would be fair to call his last effort Basic a damp squib.

The filmmaker may have fallen on hard times and controversies after the last two decades saw him plead guilty to perjury after lying to the FBI, spend time behind bars, and file for bankruptcy to effectively torpedo his mainstream career forevermore, but his legacy was already well secured after he’d helmed the likes of Die Hard, Predator, The Hunt for Red October, Last Action Hero, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and The Thomas Crown Affair remake.

Image via Sony

Basic was a pale shadow of his former work, though, finding itself savaged by critics and ignored by paying customers, leading to the much-heralded Pulp Fiction reunion of Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta failing to recoup its $50 million budget from the box office. However, in a long-overdue stroke of luck, the convoluted mystery thriller has finally managed to find itself a brand new set of eyeballs.

Per FlixPatrol, Basic has been quietly snaking its way up the Netflix global charts for the last several days, and now finds itself as one of the Top 20 most-watched features on the entire platform. As far-fetched as it may be, the labyrinthine and increasingly ludicrous tale of a military investigator trying to uncover the truth behind a spate of mysterious deaths has at least shaken off the dust to become semi-relevant again.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.