In the wake of his rather fantastic (and critically lauded) nearly five hour long epic piece of cinema, Red Cliff, it looks like John Woo may finally be back in the good graces of Hollywood producers everywhere.
After a collection of underwhelming studio fair, ranging from original IPs like Face/Off, to franchise films like his take on Mission: Impossible II, the filmmaker didn’t seem to have the same luster that made him one of the greatest action filmmakers of his time, through films like Hard Boiled and The Killer.
Well, since the aforementioned Red Cliff hit, the director has gathered quite a long list of possible projects.
His next film, as announced last week, will be his first IMAX film, a $90 million WWII film called Flying Tigers. The film will follow a volunteer fighter squadron, which is formed to assist the Chinese in fighting the Japanese prior to the U.S.’ entrance into the war. This will apparently be the director’s next film, and I must say, this sounds fantastic. There may not be a single director working that I would rather see work within the IMAX format, than the visually artistic (particularly after what I saw in Red Cliff) director that is John Woo. However, this is far from the only thing the director has in the works.
In a long interview with Variety, the director revealed that he is still working on two English language remakes, both of which will be based off of films currently in the Criterion Collection.
The first film that Woo will be helming is his long talked about remake on Jean-Pierre Melville’s film, Le Samourai. This film has been apparently on the books, but we haven’t heard much about the project, since November of last year, when, after much talk about it being delayed, Woo again brought it up. At this point, the film doesn’t seem to be moving all that much quicker, but the fact that Woo keeps bringing it up, I can’t help but think that this won’t be far too off. That said, Woo was at one point in time attached to a remake of Le Cercle Rouge (then fell into the hands of Johnny To, and is now in the grasp of John Hillcoat). Hopefully this one doesn’t suffer from that same faith, and thankfully it doesn’t seem like the director will let that happen.
Now, Woo is already familiar with Le Samourai, as the action auteur played homage to the legendary crime film in his fellow Criterion staple, The Killer. Well, while some outlets, like The Playlist believe this may not be the case, the director is apparently working on an English language remake of his classic 1989 film. This isn’t the first we’ve heard of a remake for the film, as people like Walter Hill and John H. Lee have been attached to a remake of the film, but now it looks like it has gotten back into the original director’s hands. The aforementioned Playlist mentions that it could be a hint at a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s The Killer Elite, which is completely possible as it has been something the director has talked about in the past, but personally, I think that this is far more likely.
The thing about this news that I’m not too keen on, is why remake both films. The original The Killer was a film heavily inspired by the great Le Samourai, and would seem a little bit redundant of a choice to follow up, or lead up to, a remake of the Melville film. Now, if they were a double feature of some sort, or shot back to back, maybe with the same actors, that could be kind of cool, as a pure work of art, but to me, the remake of The Killer Elite is a far more interesting choice.
That said, at this point, I’ll see anything that Woo does, so who am I to be picky. It’s a better world for having Woo make films in it, so I am going to be the last one to decide what he should or shouldn’t do. But what do you think? What film sounds interesting to you?