I'm not dead set against the idea of remakes per se if the new film has a new take or at least something to say. John Carpenter's The Thing springs to mind as a terrific example of a film that didn't negate the Howard Hawks-produced original and became a classic unto itself. It helps, too, if the original isn't so great.
And so I'm not sure what to think about today's announcement that Handmade and Resident Evil director Paul WS Anderson are remaking John MacKenzie’s masterful thriller The Long Good Friday. Having watched it again recently, the film, which featured a career-best performance from Bob Hoskins as Harold Shand, East End mobster-turned-wannabe Thatcherite property developer out to turn Docklands into a commercial playground with the help of some American friends (ie. the Mafia), retains it power, even if it does look a little dated now. I'm not one for whom the mention of Anderson's name attached to a project necessarily fills me with dread the way it does some. I've met him several times and have always found him to be engaging, charming and extremely passionate about what he does, although his films don't always live up to the talk. To be honest, I'm less keen on the fact they're relocating the story to Miami.
“The Long Good Friday was an astonishing view of 1980’s gangland that shocked audiences with its urban crime and violence," said Anderson in a statement. "I am delighted to have the opportunity to put a new spin on this classic film which promises to reveal today’s gritty underworld in an equally shocking fashion.”
First, though, Anderson has another remake on his plate, his long in development version of Roger Corman's Death Race 2000.