While commercial expectations for director Patrick Hughes‘s latest feature film, The Expendables 3, fell short in the face of the millions of illegal downloads it suffered from, the film still bares the brunt of mixed and mostly critical opinions that exemplify just what happens when you take an R-rated property and water it down to try and include a broader audience. With that in mind, it was just at the top of the year when Hughes was officially attached to direct an American adaptation of an overseas cult hit that has already garnered a substantially grand audience in the last several years, and with the current state of consumer opinions on Hollywood remakes of foreign films for lack of original ideas, to say the least, discretion is key.
Screen Gems is reinstituting the American standard of martial arts action with a remake of filmmaker Gareth Huw Evans’s his feature-length contained action thriller, The Raid. The proud predecessor of its 2014 sequel, The Raid 2 back in March, The Raid became one of the most celebrated modern day martial arts action thrillers of all time, with Silat expert and action choreographer Iko Uwais in his second lead role after debuting in Evans’ 2009 action drama, Merantau, and no doubt became one of the biggest building blocks of his career with upcoming work as a Hollywood choreographer recently assigned to direct the action with fellow coordinator, cohort and Evans screen regular, martial artist and actor Yayan Ruhian on the upcoming surprise sci-fi sequel, Beyond Skyline starring Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Kingdom).
On top of this, the two are also putting together the action sequences for Hughes‘ remake of The Raid, for which the plot has been largely subject to speculation despite some beliefs among netizens that it will likely do what most remakes do (see Brick Mansions). However, Grillo, the only actor currently cast for the film right now in the public eye, indicated some of the possibilities at the time in an interview with Collider back in June, stating, “You know, the script is great. Patrick Hughes, now that he has this time – who just directed The Expendables 3 – he’s tweaking it a little bit. Sony really is behind the project and I loved it. [I’m] one of the three main characters and, you know, I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to actually go do it because it’s gonna be Americanized, but not overtly Americanized. It’s really gonna keep a lot of what made the first Raid so great.”.
On Wednesday, in a fully released interview with The Hollywood News, Grillo took some time to update his take on what the vision for the film will be, and the current process of preparing the yet-unnamed actors involved and properly scoring the film involved in the film with respect to the original. “It’s close in story, obviously it’s an American version but it will take place in Indonesia.” he says. “But it’s going to have it’s own twists, its own identity. We’re not going to make a straight copy of the first RAID, we won’t do that.”
Production was initially carved in for September before ultimately moving back to January 2015, further adding some mystery to the process of developing the film. Of course, one obvious reason goes back to casting and training of its actors who may not exactly be the equivalent of Uwais and Ruhian – both already being homegrown, seasoned and experienced martial artists as well as screenfighters. And considering the caliber of the action sequences of the first film, and the talent involved at the time, it’s clear that this particular production has a long way to go, and as a fan of Evans’ work, Grillo know this. “I loved it.” he said. “I just thought it was really original and it’s a fanboys favourite so its a real delicate situation when you make a film that was recently made and is so good. You have to do it justice or else there’s no reason to make it.”
Grillo continued sharing his perspective on the subject of the film’s elongated development, saying “You know they keep pushing the date of the film for that exact reason. They’re trying to find the right actors for the piece, find the right actors who can do the physical work. Because they won’t make the movie unless it is as good as or better than the original because the original RAID was genius. So we’re in the process now of trying to put the cast together and find the right people to do both.” He was also asked about the style of the action and how it will contribute to a quality reinterpretation of the original film regarding the sequences, stating “It’s so much hand-to-hand combat and martial arts that they want to have a window (in the shoot schedule) just to prepare the actors to learn how to fight. That’s a big commitment so that’s why it’s taking a little while to gather motion.”
As you may guess, it’s easy to see why Grillo, Hughes, the mystery cast and stuntmen are taking their time. Nowadays, you can’t just remake a film and expect it to deliver all the same notes with forthcoming approval simply because it’s an English. That said, it’s still early days for this production, and a cast has yet to be determined with names like martial arts star Scott Adkins, The Winter Soldier co-star Anthony Mackie, Dracula Untold star Luke Evans, the Hemsworth brothers, Liam and Chris, and newly cast True Detective co-star, actor Taylor Kitsch having previously been speculated, and otherwise unconfirmed for roles in the film.
Out Of The Furnace co-scribe Brad Inglesby is providing the script with Evans himself serving as executive producer, alongside the company of XYZ Films who produced both orginal films and are likely to produce Evans’ third ‘Raid’ film which is expected to move forward by 2017. That said, depending on how you feel about Out Of The Furnance, both ‘Raid’ films and The Expendables 3 (and/or Hughes’ earlier work on Red Hill), for now, it’s safe to say this American remake of one of Indonesia’s latest awesome achievements in film is in good hands.
However, lest the debate end there, feel free to comment below and share your views on what you hope for The Raid in the coming months.
H/T: The Hollywood News
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