At least two things could be said regarding the forthcoming remake of director Gareth Huw Evans’s hit 2011 crime thriller, The Raid – One: That it’s long overdue (depending on who you ask), and Two: Any mention of it is nothing short of a conversational powder keg for avid martial arts cinema fans. Some could care less, I suppose, but people have their tastes and The Raid assuredly caters to those of its target audience.
The movie drew swelling audiences around the world in the span of a few years lending an electrifying, much-needed surge for Indonesian action cinema, and featuring some of the most physically arduous and tough performances in fight scene choreography ever shot on film. Much to our delight, it led to a sequel that immersed us even more than before, and in all their glory, further added to the genre fervor with actor Iko Uwais, fresh-faced upon his debut in the 2009 signature Silat coming-of-age martial arts drama, Merantau.
Uwais’s caliber struck like lightining in The Raid among his equally skilled cast including Donny Alamsyah who starred as his brother, Andi, Judo exponent and former competitor, actor Joe Taslim who plays tactical squad leader, Tama, and Yayan Ruhian who scores big in seperate roles between both films, though notably as the writhing, bloodthirsty Mad Dog in the 2011 initiate, and Cecep Arif Rahman who doubles Karambit deadliness in the 2014 sequel in a blood-soaked battle to the finish. Take a look at those films and you can see how these movies would strike a chord or several with folks from the floors of film festivals here and abroad to the netizens on numerous forums living the fandom through and through.
Moreover, you may even also see how it would strike as a point of interest if Hollywood were to take the opportunity to utilize the near limitless talent of Hollywood’s stunt elite to bring the action stateside for a remake. Eventually, the conversation has taken some peculiar and odd turns, having sat at Screen Gems since 2011, then with the prospects of The Expendables 3 helmer Patrick Hughes tapped to direct and a number of stunt coordinators eyeing the chance to design the action.
Add actor Frank Grillo, whose noted 35 years of practice, competition and training in boxing, wrestling with Rickson Gracie, the Machado Brothers and the like certainly landed him in good favor with the martial arts crowd and with roles in films like Gavin O’Connor’s MMA sibling drama, Warrior, the Russos’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War and the Audience network’s hit MMA drama, Kingdom. It all eventually added to his career escalation with his casting in Liam O’Donnell’s upcoming sci-fi thriller sequel, Beyond Skyline, alongside Uwais and Ruhian and thus bringing just the kind of promising tough guy grittiness a line-up like this boasts.
And then came the tweet that changed everything back in January 2015 when Grillo, a month since wrapping his scenes in Yogyakarta, Indonesia for Beyond Skyline
at the time, took to Twitter as the hype was already in the air for his hopeful appearance in Screen Gems’s remake of The Raid
, announcing himself that he would depart from the project. Granted, the film was still in search of a lead actor that could match Uwais’s endurance, intensity and caliber at the time and nothing turned up, and when came the news of Hughes’s departure along with Screen Gems and by then
, the next guess was anyone’s by then with whether or not this, or Evans’s long-awaited third film would be the first to strike.
Onward and forward more than a year later as Grillo nabbed a good bit of forthcoming film appearances – namely reteaming with executive producer, War Party banner partner Joe Carnahan for director Jeremy Rush’s Netflix crime thriller, Wheelman
. He also has martial arts action star Wu Jing’s next starring/directing venture, Wolf Warrior 2
, on deck in addition to the season three return of Kingdom
on May 31 for the Audience Network, and Carnahan, last tapped to script an adaptation of popular video game, Uncharted
, is in tow with directing Colombia Pictures’s fourth installment of buddy cop action comedy, Bad Boys For Life
. Taking all this into account, however, it will be a matter time to see how things map out given the latest news over at We Live Film
that Grillo is back in the running to work on a remake of The Raid
with Carnahan in talks to possibly direct from his own script.
“My partner Joe Carnahan and I, we got the Raid title from Screen Gems and we’re going to remake the movie,” Grillo said. “We’re in the process of doing that right now. Us, a company called XYZ who own the movie, we’re going to relaunch The Raid.”
Conceptually, the film in its current development is being viewed as much more faithful installation, following Out Of The Furnace co-scribe Brad Inglesby’s own script with a more promising and fresher idea that won’t merely mimic Evans’s 2011 movie.
“Totally new script,” Grillo said. “Joe Carnahan rewrote it. Far more faithful to what Gareth did in the first movie and yet it’s an entirely new spin on the film. Gareth is a big part of this because he’s one of the producers. It’s us not trying to remake a film as much as it is to give our version of what that thing was.”
On the action front with respect to the accomplishments of both films, Grillo himself highlights the work of 87Eleven Action Design who themselves have an increasing foothold in fight and stunt coordination, and even direction for major Hollywood pictures. This alone echoes confirms some of my own exchanges with renowned stunt and fight coordinators who have mentioned their involvement in remaking The Raid in some capacity in the past few years.
“Insane fights, insane tactical stuff,” Grillo said. “We’re big fans of John Wick. Those guys are good friends of ours. It’s 10 times better than what that was tactically. We have the best people in the world coming to choreograph what we think will be fights no one’s ever seen before. So to honor what the first Raid movie was but to elevate it.”
The news comes in the wake of this month’s events from the Winter Press Tour for the Television Critics Association where Grillo was on hand to promote Kingdom
. A representative at XYZ Films declined to comment on the matter upon inquiry although with Grillo on record, I wouldn’t let this one slip. At any rate, at least we’ll still have more than discount Blu-Ray re-releases of the first two films
and a comic book follow-up
to pine over from here on.
Personally, I’m more keen on seeing who Grillo, Carnahan and the folks at XYZ Films would cast. I have my own ideas on who I would like to see star despite having no influence here on the matter, though one can hope. As for the director in mention here, I haven’t seen The Grey at all but I have seen Carnahan’s work on The A-Team and Stretch and I have thoroughly enjoyed both movies to date; Stretch is especially on Netflix as of this article as well and I highly recommend it as you’ll get a crapton of fun, crazy thrills and surprises from that movie. It’s full of all kinds of nutty goodness and you honestly don’t want to miss it.
Evans, currently at work with occult thriller, Apostle
, long before any hopeful progress on a third installment for the main trilogy of The Raid,
is producing as well along with XYZ Films, the staple behind the international rights and output of many a film title from Indonesia, including Merantau
, both Raid
titles, the Mo’ Brothers’ Killers
and upcoming Uwais-led Headshot
, and Timo Tjahjanto’s solo debut helmer, The Night Comes For Us
which is already in production.
So, what do you think of the news on The Raid? Comment below and let us know!
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Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.