As a huge fan of 2004’s Layer Cake, a terrific crime caper that put director Matthew Vaughn on the map and proved a star-making vehicle for future Bond Daniel Craig, I was admittedly pretty disheartened when it was revealed a few years back that Jason Statham would be toplining sequel Viva La Madness.
Given that neither Vaughn nor Craig are involved, making a sequel didn’t feel right then, and it’s still not exactly a thrilling proposition now, with Statham telling Digital Spy that the project is on track to shoot next year:
“J.J. Connelly’s written a great book called ‘Viva La Madness,’ and we’re taking that book and doing something great with it. He’s such a talented writer. The book was incredible. I loved ‘Layer Cake’ and this is, if anything, better. The chance to work with someone of that caliber, to do something back home, it’s the most exciting thing on my plate. We’re doing it next year, and it’s full steam ahead. We’re putting all the finance together, and we’re off and racing.”
At this point, though, why even categorize Viva La Madness as a Layer Cake sequel? The original left Craig’s XXXX in a seemingly fatal position, gunned down on the steps of a gangster club by a romantic rival, so it’s going to be pretty tough for audiences to accept that the character not only survived that but now looks completely different. When you add in that Viva La Madness takes place in a very different location than Layer Cake, classifying it as a sequel makes even less sense.
Of course, no matter what Statham says, there are still a lot of questions that need to be resolved here. Who penned the script, and who’s directing? Which other actors are attached, if any? Here’s hoping that Statham is self-aware enough to surround himself with a top-notch crew, lest Viva La Madness become just another derivative actioner for the prolific star. Especially with the great source material on hand, that would be a real shame.
Here’s the book synopsis:
J. J. Connolly, the favorite voice of London gangster fiction, returns with a tour de force: the Get Carter of the noughties, Layer Cake has also been made into a highly-praised film by Matthew Vaughn, starring Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller (it’s also the most shoplifted book in England). Now Connolly is back with a sequel that sees him on the same stunning form, with his trademark razor-sharp dialogue and quick-fire violence, but also finding dark humor and pathos in the lives of violent men. From the London underworld, Viva la Madness moves to international crime with trans-Atlantic drug deals, money laundering, and high-tech electronic fraud, portrayed with the same uncanny believability. The anonymous hero of Layer Cake is pulled back into the drug game before he can escape to a sunny retirement. In a dazzling combination of London low-life, Caribbean high-life, and Venezuelan drug cartels toting machine-guns in Mayfair, our hero’s voice and mission are authentic, thrilling, and whiplash-inducing in equal shares.
Source: The Playlist