Secret Paycheck

Five and a half weeks between a theatrical release (7.12.13) and the DVD/Bluray street date (8.20)…hmmm. Plus the hand of director Mark Steven Johnson (Grumpy Old Men, Simon Birch, Daredevil, When in Rome, the two Ghost Rider pics)…yeah. Plus a title that SCREAMS American Film Market lowlifes hustlin’ ’round Santa Monica in their alligator shoes. Plus Robert DeNiro, the King of Paycheck Performers**, in the lead. I’ll see it nonetheless because it has John Travolta playing a hell-bent Bosnian madman. The more foam-in-the-mouth, the better.

There’s a Deliverance element in this thing. Note Travolta’s bow-and-arrow. And that it was partly shot in the Appalachian Mountains of north Georgia, and that one of the locales was chosen by Johnson “to create the effect and mood he had previously seen in [John Boorman's] Deliverance,” according to a 1.21.12 Independent Mail piece.

The project “was originally set in the 1970s and titled Shrapnel,” it says here. It was apparently being pondered by Travolta and Nicolas Cage as a follow-up to Face Off, and by John McTiernan as a directing gig.

Intimidating Wiki Synopsis: “Deep in the Appalachian mountains, a reclusive American military veteran (De Niro) and a European tourist (Travolta) strike up an unlikely friendship. But when the tourist’s true intentions come to light, what follows is a tense battle across some of America’s most forbidding landscape proving the old adage: the purest form of war is one-on-one.”

** De Niro’s closest rival in the straight-paycheck realm is Liam Neeson, but compare their resumes and Neeson can’t hold a candle.

  • Alex

    I wonder why De Niro needs the money so badly.

    • Topher0820

      I wonder if its not the money itself but he’s one of those guys that just needs to work constantly

      • Indeed

        Probably the latter. Christopher (“Chrissy” as Jeff would address him) Walken is a perfect example of someone who just likes the process of making movies. Cant hold it against the guy simply because all of them arent Oscar contenders.

  • Gridlock

    Usually, in Hollywood, it’s because of an audit from one of 2 large, terrifying and brutally litigious organisations.

    • Alex

      The IRS and the mob?

  • PatJim

    ahem, no, not the two Ghost Rider movies.

  • PatJim

    if he has anything left in the tank, we need to spring McTeirnan.

  • KEN

    Compare the box office revenues of their paycheck movies, De Niro can’t hold a candle.

  • DiscoNap

    Is that an old adage? Sounds like something a false macho kid in a Wes Anderson movie would say.

  • cinefan25

    So, I guess all of the love that you had for DeNiro for his performance in SLP has now disappeared completely.

  • Joe Leydon

    There are paycheck movies… and then there are paycheck movies. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1815708/

    • Shawn

      “Freelancers” played in theaters for, as far as I can determine, a single week on a single screen in a Times Square-area multiplex, no doubt fulfilling some sort of contractual obligation. RDN’s first direct-to-home picture, in effect. Shuddering as I type that.

  • Breedlove

    Pathetic. DeNiro’s been making a fool out of himself for years now. Biggest joke in Hollywood. Travolta’s right up there too. Neeson is much more relevant and interesting and doing much better work. He starred in the best film of 2012 and should have been nominated for the Oscar.

    • Raising_Kaned

      Jeffrey Wells says…

      Hey, a-hole — ever heard of a little movie released last year called Silver Linings Playbook? DeNiro’s in that, and he’s pretty damned incredible, if you ask me.

      Don’t just waltz down these halls of Cinematic Valhalla and besmirch the treasured paintingz of the true Godz. There will be hell to pay for such ignorance, I know that as right as rain.

  • NephewOfAnarchy

    Is this going to be a real theatrical release or some three screen bullshit? Seems like the kind of thing that would be a nice low key mid-July tonic to, you know, RIPD and Red 2.

    And really, Deniro and Neeson are Paycheck Kings (TM), but Travolta gets a pass?

  • hupto

    Sorry, but Travolta’s played the crazed villain twice too often to bring anything new to that character. This looks more like a low-grade version of THE HUNTED (the Friedkin one).

  • jermsguy

    What is Christian Slater? A paycheck duke?