American remakes of great foreign movies aren't a new commodity, so Sony's longstanding desire to shoot their own rendition of Welsh filmmaker Gareth Huw Evans' wildly acclaimed martial arts film The Raid: Redemption isn't exactly surprising. If you were hoping that the project might end up circling the drain and fade into obscurity, you're about to have your hopes dashed; Sony (through subsidiary Screen Gems) is still making it happen. As of today, the production not only has a screenplay in the can, but also a director set to take the reins.
That would be Patrick Hughes, whose sophomore effort - a little film called The Expendables 3 - is on its way to an August release this summer. Hughes made his debut in 2010 with Red Hill; the jury is out on what he has to offer in the former franchise, so for the moment he's just a fresh face who has one very solid picture under his belt. Meanwhile, the man responsible for the script is Brad Ingelsby, the writer on last winter's Out of the Furnace and the upcoming umpteenth Liam Neeson action vehicle, Run All Night.
News of this development comes courtesy of the folks at The Wrap, who also hint that two of the three brothers Hemsworth have been put on the table as potential casting options (though no first names are specified). Further, Screen Gems plans to begin shooting this fall, which puts the film a good ways off from seeing the theatrical light of day. For now, everything else on the American Raid remains up in the air.
There are a couple of different axes here to consider: one, getting Ingelsby over Jon and Erich Hoeber (the guys who penned 2012's Battleship) feels like an upgrade at a glance, even for those whose reactions to Out of the Furnace were mixed. (Admittedly, the writing on a film like The Raid: Redemption isn't its most important characteristic.) Two, Hughes' hiring is something of a wild card. Red Hill is a worthy first endeavor, but it doesn't strictly suggest that Hughes has the kind of energy needed to make a film like The Raid remake sing.
If anything, Hughes' work on The Expendables 3 will serve as a better barometer in terms of what he'll be able to bring to a pure action movie. That one is still months away, and depending on who you ask, new blood can only improve that gasping series; that said, fan anticipation for the third entry in the 80's action icon extravaganza might ratchet up a bit now that Hughes' participation in The Raid: Redemption remake is on the table. He's shown that he can build tension with verve; now he has to show that he can choreograph brutal fist fights with similar skill.
That's going to be his biggest challenge. The Raid: Redemption is an exercise in execution, both behind the camera and in front of it. Evans stages his fights with flawless clarity, placing his camera in exactly the right spot at any given moment, and his cast is comprised almost entirely of bona fide martial artists. Time will tell if Hughes and his as-yet-shapeless cast are up to the task of matching the energy of the original.
For now, this is a particularly well-timed announcement; Sony is releasing The Raid: Redemption's sequel, The Raid 2: Berandal, at the end of March. Already a recipient of a swath of positive praise (with some healthy criticism in there to balance out the effusion), the movie looks like a hot ticket, and it seems like Sony wants to capitalize on that notoriety as quickly as they can. We'll see whether or not they can bring it with their own take on The Raid: Redemption eventually.
The Expendables 3 arrives in theaters August 15th, 2014; we'll keep you posted on details of The Raid remake as they become available.
Source: The Wrap