C'mon Hollywood: Don't let the 24 movie slip away!
With eight seasons of hard-hitting action, drama, suspense, and political intrigue, 24 stands as one of the most successful drama series on television. It was an instant hit, winning numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards, including best dramatic series and best actor for star Keifer Sutherland. For him, the role of CTU agent Jack Bauer was the role of a lifetime. The sheer amount of scene-chewing guest stars on the show was phenomenal to boot. The stories were taut and oftentimes ludicrous (in terms of time, anyway), but always presented with such urgency that you couldn’t help but get sucked in. In terms of action and violence, the show definitely pushed the boundaries and capitalized on shock value, killing off characters you’d never expect to die.
Keifer Sutherland took ownership of his role as Bauer and brought a ferocious intensity, wit, smarts, and brutality, all of which you would hope and expect from an agent of his caliber. Sutherland’s Bauer was strong, vulnerable, flawed, and completely dedicated to his country, which is something worth noting. Bauer was always one step ahead, never relenting the mission or his ulterior motives (i.e. saving his family from certain danger), but finding a way to accomplish both. And he didn’t always win the day. Many times, Jack Bauer saved the world, but lost his own loved ones and his own sanity.
The producers chose to end the show on a high note with the intent of continuing Jack Bauer’s journey on the big screen. However, two years later, a number of things have stalled the process and therein lays the problem. The script has been in some form of completion for a while and numerous directors have been touted, from Antoine Fuqua to Tony Scott, but with nothing going. Sutherland, meanwhile, has begun work on his new dramatic series, Touch, which is taking up the majority of his time, adding to the issue of scheduling. In addition, the film has been snagged on budgetary issues, which isn’t all that uncommon.
With all of these factors in play and the recent news of the originally set Spring 2012 start date pushed back to 2013, 24 is starting to feel like one of those projects that is always in discussions, but never going anywhere. As the creators of the show move on to other projects, the distance between getting the series translated into a successful film franchise grows that much farther away.
Some may feel that eight seasons of Jack Bauer and his terrorist-cracking antics is enough. But, I don’t. And, I’d agree that he’s survived some shit that no human being could ever possibly survive. However, that’s the beauty of the character. He works as that super-agent anomaly that can’t be put down. It’s a blast to watch Jack do his thing, whether it be shooting, punching, kicking, blowing shit up, cutting off heads, whatever. He is a master of his trade and I want to see him do all of those things in a packed IMAX theater with a bigger budget and slew of guest stars.
What needs to happen is that the producers, along with Sutherland, need to become self aware like Skynet. It’s all about priorities. Sutherland needs to put Bauer at the forefront of his career. It’s unlikely that his new show, Touch, is going to catch on. It’s compelling, but not enough to be involved with for an extended period of time. I foresee a cancellation after two seasons. That’s another two years wasted, when 24 could have already been established on the big screen.
A director needs to be hired that can bring the action home and focus solely on the project, building it along with Sutherland and the producers. It should be tailored towards the new two-hour format with care and precision, and geared towards establishing a Jack Bauer franchise, letting the character be the key ingredient, not the 24-hour format. In the end, the title was only ever about the format, not the main character. The show was always about Bauer.
24 has the potential to be a golden goose for all involved, and for us fans, a chance to enjoy the action heroics of one of the most kick ass characters created in a long time. For non-fans, it’s a chance to discover the awesome and see what all the fuss was about. It’s a career-defining role for Sutherland, one he’ll never escape, let alone top, so why not make the most of it? Fans often lament the absence of true action heroes in cinema today and rightfully so. Jack Bauer is the answer to fill that void. Let’s hope all involved take stock of what they have and deliver what we all deserve; another chapter in the Jack Bauer legacy.
|Extra Tidbit:||Time to sound off with your choice for who should direct this project: I'd like to see a veteran action director on this, someone like John McTiernan, Tony Scott, or even Renny Harlin at the helm. Hit us with your choice below.|