Do you hear that? That’s the sound of hundreds of action cinephiles softly weeping around the world.
In one of the more dismaying news items of the month (and that’s including the widely contested casting of Ben Affleck as Batman), the American remake of Indonesian martial arts flick The Raid: Redemption, which just clocked in at #21 on We Got This Covered’s list of the Top 100 Action Movies, has just landed in the hands of Battleship writers Erich and Jon Hoeber.
I’ll wait while you scan that again to make sure you read it right. Unfortunately, this is not some kind of a prank. American film studio Screen Gems, trusted with the rights to remake a terrific genre flick, has inexplicably sanctioned the same writers who brought us the godawful Whiteout and so-bad-it-hurt Battleship to rewrite the script for the American version.
You might say that I’m being unfairly harsh by calling out Screen Gems here without having seen any of the Hoebers’ script, and I probably am. However, The Raid: Redemption worked almost entirely because of its action scenes, bare-bones story and incredibly simple script. The Hoebers, who also wrote RED and RED 2, have deservedly earned a reputation for delivering cheesy, one-liner-laden screenplays, and if action movie dialogue clichés clog up the script for this remake, fans of the original will probably respond with the verbal equivalent of a scene from The Raid: Redemption. In other words, it won’t be pretty.
The Indonesian film wowed us here at We Got This Covered last year with its expertly choreographed, remarkably innovative action sequences and crisp, tight direction (check out Kristal Cooper’s rave review here), but the immediate announcement of an American remake had previously raised more than a few eyebrows.
Though director Gareth Evans, hard at work on a sequel to the original entitled Berandal, will be involved with the remake in a producing capacity, the lightning-in-a-bottle appeal of The Raid: Redemption may be hard for Screen Gems to replicate, in light of how dubious the grounds for a remake actually are. The original’s simple plot doesn’t leave much room for expansion, so most of what Screen Gems will be doing is attempting to stage the same action sequences again but with new actors. With two writers notorious for their cringe-worthy one-liners now on board, the remake may be on shakier ground with fans than ever.
Did you see The Raid: Redemption? If so, how do you feel about the idea of an American remake? Let us know below.