Gareth Evans' The Raid gleaned rapid critical acclaim for its trimmed down storytelling, characters and out of this world fight choreography. A sequel - aptly titled The Raid 2 - soon followed with a bigger budget and even more hand-to-hand combat throughout. That, too, was followed by The Raid: Redemption. Fans of the Netflix/Marvel Studios series Daredevil have drawn obvious comparisons between the beloved "hallway fight" in the first season of the show and many of the sequences from The Raid. With all the success the franchise garnered, an American reimagining of The Raid was never too far off.
Joe Carnahan (The Grey), is producing and directing, as well as writing the script, of this reimagining along with producing partner Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who will also star in the film. The pair first worked together on The Grey and recently discussed how their version of The Raid will differ from the original critical darling.
In an interview with Collider, Carnahan said he and Grillo were interested in the idea of "special forces operation guys" who always have some kind of injury that prevents them from operating at full strength, citing it as being a more relatable situation that "this completely physically fit monster that doesn’t feel pain." Carnahan went on to say:
"There’s a level of brutality, a level of violence. If our movie felt like the knife fight between Adam Goldberg and the German in Saving Private Ryan the entirety of the movie, then we’ve done exactly what we need to do. Something that grueling and tough."
The stylistic focus seems to be on upping the brutality suffered by the lead characters in this reimagining of The Raid. From Carnahan and Grillo's comments the approach seems a little more John Wick inspired than the first two movies would have been. The image of men who have been thoroughly beaten could also lend itself to a more boxing-style combat, rather than the original Martial Arts-inspiration.
Additionally, the setting of The Raid has changed under Carnahan and Grillo, shifting to Caracas because "it's almost like a safehouse for bad guys." As Carnahan explains, they chose to set the film in Caracas because it heightens the aspects of the original film, upping the ante and upping the action. Further, Carnahan spoke about the relationship between the two brothers of the movie and how it will be changed:
"It’s a very different relationship with the brothers, because their father is a very centrifugal figure in this thing. Without getting too deep into it it’s all about the idea that a man is able to create the version of himself that surpasses himself, but one of them sees him for what he really is which is not this world beater. ... The argument between these two brothers, the split between them, is about their dad. He built these things that are superior and that are real soldiers, but he’s not that."
It seems that this team, along with XYZ Films who is co-producing, are compelled to bring a more personal story to the screen in The Raid, as opposed to an extensive combat scene stretched out to take up the time of a feature film. The shift in focus from style and flair to narration could really work to divorce the identities of the two films that share the same name.
One wonders if it is a good move on behalf of Carnahan and Grillo to stray so far afield from what garnered the original property so many viewers in the first place. If the fights that are featured are going to be choreographed in a more typically American style it may not welcome as much push toward a sequel as happened the first time around.
To return to the John Wick, one of the cornerstones of that beloved American emerging action franchise is the emotional throughline that drives star Keanu Reeves from tentpole action scene to tentpole action scene. Diving deeper into the history of the brothers and their relationship to their father may be the push The Raid needs to crack into blockbuster territory.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for further updates on The Raid remake.