Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Another day, another remake (announcement)

They seem to have been remaking John Woo's The Killer for the longest time. Back in the early 1990s I remember buying a script for a US remake (by Walter Hill I believe) that I gave up reading after about ten pages. (I think I've still got it somewhere; I might have to dig it out and give it another go.)

I love The Killer. The excitement of seeing the film for the first time back in 1990, even on badly dubbed video, was truly papable. You knew you were watching something genuinely amazing and I saw it several times over the course of a few days, then tracked down a copy of A Better Tomorrow. Woo became a cinematic God in my eyes, a view compounded by Hardboiled a couple of years later, and I remember watching Bruce Willis indulging in a bit of slow-mo two-handed gunplay in The Last Boy Scout and realising Tony Scott was a fan too.

According to a story on Hollywood Reporter, Woo's longtime producer Terence Chang has finally set up the remake which will be relocated to Los Angeles with the action moving through Koreatown, Chinatown and South Central, a Korean star instead of Chow Yun-fat and Korean-American director John H. Lee in the hot seat. "I ask myself why they chose me and whether I can top it," said Lee. "But then I realize it's not about making it better. It's about making my own version. My strength is dealing with human emotions, austerity and elegance." I wish Lee the best of luck. It's a tough act to follow.

Recently, after the disappointment of Shoot 'Em Up, I rewatched Hardboiled. It's still an amazing film and it makes Woo's Hollywood sojourn even more dispiriting. What happened? Hard Target was trashy fun, Broken Arrow had moments, Face/Off was ridiculous but hugely enjoyable, and I'm even fond of his own American Once A Thief remake, but then there came M:I:II (which did have a great trailer, admittedly), Windtalkers, and — gulp — Paycheck...

Here's hoping Woo's latest Red Cliff marks a return to form.

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