Although Spike Lee’s remake of the Korean cult classic Oldboy proved completely dead on arrival at the box-office last month, that’s not enough to stop producers Adi Shankar and Spencer Silna (of 1984 Private Defense Contractors) from moving forward with another American take on a well-received Korean revenge thriller. The producers, who previously worked together on Liam Neeson action drama The Grey and Mark Wahlberg crime thriller Broken City, just picked up English-language rights to Kim Ji-woon’s 2010 brutal thriller I Saw the Devil.
The original film, which starred Choi Min-sik as a ruthless serial killer and Lee Byung-hun as the infuriated fiance of one of his victims, received positive reviews despite its gory and disturbing content. It’s pitch-black material and, while I enjoyed the film, it’s certainly not the first Korean film I’d pick to be remade for American audiences.
Given how much trouble Spike Lee had with Oldboy, I can’t imagine that I Saw the Devil (a less well-regarded film by far) will end up on the fast-track to the big screen. Unless Shankar and Silna can land a truly provocative director for the project, fans of the original will likely be disappointed by a watered-down version made more palatable to the general public.
Announcing plans to develop an American version, Shankar noted that:
Kim Jee-Woon’s I Saw the Devil is perfect in so many ways. The intention is not to remake the film per se, but rather to ‘port’ it for international audiences.
Though it’s unclear how “porting” the original is much different than remaking it, we likely won’t be seeing the American version for some time, given that no stars, director or screenwriter are yet attached.
Are you interested to see another take on the gritty, bloody story of I Saw the Devil, or is this one foreign film that Hollywood should have left alone? Sound off in the comments section!