It's not often that a foreign filmmaker ends up helming an English-language remake of their original work, but that's the case with 13 - a reworking of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winning Noir tale 13 Tzameti from Georgian writer/director Géla Babluani.
An international teaser for 13 was released all the way back in November 2010 and it painted Babluani's remake as being a chillingly bleak and nail-biting drama/thriller. Does the newly-released domestic trailer support that idea?
Unfortunately, the answer is "not really." The domestic theatrical preview for 13 doesn't build up suspense and tension like the previous trailer did; instead, it just sort of drops you into the film's troubling and dark setting: a world where men participate in twisted games of Russian Roulette, in order to improve their financial status (assuming they don't end up getting killed in the process).
Here is the official synopsis for 13:
A naive young man assumes a dead man’s identity and finds himself embroiled in an underground world of power, violence, and chance where men gamble behind closed doors on the lives of other men.
Now check out the U.S. trailer for 13 (via Yahoo! Movies) below:
13 boasts many a familiar face for U.S. moviegoers, including Jason Statham and his Expendables costar Mickey Rourke, Ray Winstone (The Departed), Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson - with Sam Riley playing Vince, the "naive young" protagonist of the film.
All in all, that's a pretty decent collection of actors - including a handful who are known for rarely turning in a bad performance. 13 also marks one of the rare occasions where Statham fans will get to see the man not playing a deadly assassin type. Depending on your feelings about his acting abilities, that's either a good or bad thing, though.
Babluani had a larger budget with which to tell the same story in 13 - one that could easily be a disturbing, but thrilling, allegory about people who literally profit off the survival (or death) or others (read into that what you will). However, this remake just doesn't look like it will pack quite the unnerving punch as 13 Tzameti, in part because of said difference in production values - seeing how the original actually benefitted from its minimalistic design (re: black-and-white cinematography, simplistic audial accompaniment).
The idea that 13 isn't anything too special only seems to be supported by the amount of time it has spent sitting on the shelf, waiting to secure an official U.S. release date (never a good sign). Plus, there's been little to no advanced positive buzz surrounding the project, which is also an indicator that this might not be anything great. Still, best to wait and see...
13 will arrive in U.S. theaters on October 28th, 2011.
Source: Yahoo! Movies