With classic titles like The Killer (still slated for a 3D remake) and Hard Boiled on his resume, director John Woo has been a mainstay in the world of Hong Kong action films since the late 1980s – but it looks like the filmmaker is now poised to return stateside.
It sounds as though, Woo is set to helm an English-language remake of the 1963 Japanese film Youth of the Beast – to be written by Rob Frisbee, former winner of TV’s The Amazing Race.
According to IndieWire, the Tokyo-set film, entitled Day of the Beast, follows an American who gets mixed up in a battle between the Yakuza and a gang of Russian mobsters. No word yet on who will play the unlucky tourist. Woo will also co-produce the film under his Lion Rock production company.
While he may be best known for his contributions to Asian cinema, Woo brought his particular brand of violence and style to the U.S. in the early 1990s, with the Jean Claude Van Damme vehicle Hard Target. He later went on to score hits with Broken Arrow, Face-Off and (love it or hate it) Mission: Impossible II. Following the disappointing turnout for his last two Hollywood films – the Nicolas Cage war epic Windtalkers and ill-received Ben Affleck sci-fi actioner Paycheck – Woo returned his focus to his Chinese roots. His most recent project was the two-part period epic Red Cliff. Released in Asia in 2008 and 2009, the film went on to earn $248 million at the international box office.
While there is no denying that Woo has serious chops when it comes to bringing action to the big screen, his Hollywood resume remains a bit spotty – and even though remakes of homegrown properties may be all the rage in the U.S., mainstream audiences are not familiar with the original film that Woo is remaking. This is a double-edged sword, since Day of the Beast can avoid comparisons to its source material, but it also means that there is no built-in audience eagerly anticipating a fresh take on the material.
That said, it is far too early to tell how Woo will approach the film and if a Hollywood regular like Martin Scorsese can transform a Hong-Kong film into the Oscar-winning The Departed, there’s certainly room for Woo to do the same for a Japanese classic.
We’ll keep you updated on Day of the Beast as further news breaks.