News broke a few days ago pertaining to trade news updates regarding a reboot of the 1997 action thriller, Face/Off. You’re Next and The Guest duo Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett were reported to “reboot” the original for Paramount with Wingard at the helm and since then, the two took to social media to clarify just what’s what.
Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. updated his exclusive report on Thursday with word that a sequel is in the works for the John Woo-directed action thriller that starred John Travolta as a vengeful FBI agent whose desperate mission to close the book on his son’s death at the hands of a terrorist finds him fighting for his life and that of his family, when a bold face-swapping procedure to go undercover goes completely sideways.
Wingard, who is currently at the helm for this year’s Godzilla VS. Kong, took to Instagram stating “I would NEVER re-imagine or remake FACE/OFF. It’s a perfect action movie. Simon Barrett and I are writing a direct SEQUEL! 🙂 :)”. Barrett reposted on his own Facebook page, adding in part “…I would NEVER re-imagine or remake FACE/OFF. It’s a perfect action movie.”
Going on a tangent for a bit here: I disagree on the notion that a perfect action film can’t be remade or re-imagine. Taking a new approach on a movie doesn’t discount its predecessor, and suggesting it’s not possible recreate something through a better lens stifles creativity (I’ve been making this case ever since news broke that Boss Level director Joe Carnahan was re-imagining The Raid, before the rights elapsed and Adam G. Simon’s screenplay was instead re-tweaked for the tentatively-titled Zeno, per Collider nearly a year ago).
Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time a film was made adapting the same genre. It all depends on the vision of those involved, and the metrics they use in order to gauge if whether or not certain story elements may or may not work. Dredd 3D proved to be a thousand times better than Danny Cannon’s 1995 predecessor, and Roy Chow’s Wong Fei-Hung redux, Rise Of The Legend certainly rose to the occasion, and let’s not get into how many times I’ve heard The Fast And The Furious was nothing but a remake of Point Break; Both are fantastic films in their own right, while the former appears to be well on its way to become a full-fledged saga tetractys. Neither this, nor especially the 2015 hatchet job by Ericson Core, doesn’t diminish the shelf life of Kathryn Bigelow’s movie in any way.
As for the subject matter here, a sequel to Woo’s film sounds tantalizing as all hell. What remains to be seen though is whether or not Wingard, if he so chooses to, can heighten expectations in emulating what Woo succeeded with the kinds of balletic gun battles and action scenes he transcribed from his Hong Kong resumè to Hollywood for a decade with five films in between. Wingard is totally capable of delivering action scenes though, and I’m curious as to who will be on his stunt team, just as I was when it was announced he was taking the wheel to re-imagine (or sequelize, if that) 2009 South Korean horror thriller, I Saw The Devil.
Of course this also brings questions as to what may come of last year’s then-annoucned Chad Stahelski/Derek Kolstad pairing for an English-language treatment of The Man From Nowhere, which is at least one of two films Stahelski wants part of in revising for today’s audiences. I saw more excitement than brouhaha about this around the virtual watercooler in the wake of what also happens to be, using Barret’s terminology here, “a perfect action movie” by director Lee Jeong-beom, and given the success rate Stahelski has had so far in delivering a lucrative franchise in John Wick, there hasn’t really been a huge need for caution so far.
I’d say Wingard is in good condition for a Face/Off sequel. To that end, I wonder if the maestro himself will be involved in any capacity as Woo possibly adding his signature to this project might even boost it some, particularly since he hasn’t directed anything since he remade Manhunt, and his current prospects for a female-fronted revisal of his own Hong Kong classic, The Killer, is currently stuck in limbo.
For the time being, Neal Moritz is producing Face/Off 2 with David Permut serving as executive producer, and with a sequel in tow, it may likely mean the return of Travolta back in the mix as dauntless FBI agent Sean Archer in some way shape or form. Alas, we shall see what the next move is from here out.