The Raid is one of the greatest action movies to come along in the last decade. Before John Wick, this martial arts feature set the standard on what action should be, and though the story is nowhere near Academy Award-worthy, the tremendous fight sequences surely are. Several years later, Gareth Evans released the final chapter, The Raid 2, and the explosive sequel managed to improve upon its predecessors in terms of action, characters, and story, leaving off the franchise on a high note. Since then, there have been whispers about the possibility of an American remake. Originally, Joe Carnahan was attached to write and direct the American version with Frank Grillo set to star. However, the duo parted ways with XYZ Films, who own the rights to The Raid. Now, it’s been confirmed that Michael Bay will produce the remake for Netflix, with The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Patrick Hughes and James Beaufort set for directorial duties. Evans will be acting as executive producer. The plot for the American pic is that it will be set in the Badlands of Philadelphia, where an elite undercover DEA task force will “climb a ladder of cartel informants to catch an elusive kingpin.” So now comes to the question, is a remake of one of the best action films of all time necessary?
Obviously, foreign remakes are nothing new in Hollywood. The Departed is a remake of the Hong Kong film, Internal Affairs. The Ring is the American version of Japan’s Ringu. Then there’s The Wicker Man, The Uninvited, The Grudge, Old Boy, Death Note, Cowboy Bebop, the list goes on and on. As I previously stated, The Raid is not a perfect film. The plot is fairly simplistic. There’s barely any character development as the only thing you’ll remember is basically the epic fight sequences. So, the plot can be improved upon in some aspects. However, it’s an action/martial arts film, thus this genre doesn’t particularly need to be a heavily character-driven piece. Granted, it can’t be Transformers dumb, meaning that the action and violence shouldn’t be the thing that moves the story forward. We understand Rama’s objective and goal throughout the first film. He and his team are looking to arrest the brutal crime lord Tama.
However, when his team’s cover has been blown, every criminal inside of the high-rise apartment building goes after their heads. The objective and journey is simple. In truth, there’s no need for a remake. Even if the fight sequences are top notch, The Raid’s style truly changed the way fights are done in the action genre. Movies like John Wick got their influence from the epic martial arts feature, and it’s actually getting rare to see the old American style of constant cuts and angles during fight scenes. It’s nearly impossible that the remake will introduce a new element that will evolve the entire action genre as a whole. Can it be done? Of course, and I’m sure another action feature will come along someday and introduce something fresh and exciting that’s never been done before, but considering this is a remake of The Raid, that’s just nearly impossible here. The story is nothing particularly new. In fact, I highly recommend the underrated Dredd, the 2012 Karl Urban vehicle. It doesn’t have the epic fights scenes of The Raid, but it’s still an incredible action film with a colorful cast of characters and some cool, over-the-top violence. That’s the closest to a good Raid remake you’ll likely see. When you take away the impact of The Raid fight sequences, the movie is just another fight film. It’s not an important and political piece nor is it an incredible story in vain of The Godfather. It’s not even outdated. The Indonesian film came out in 2011, not 1911. Hollywood is simply wasting their money on a movie that Americans either A) won’t see it being as close to as good as the John Wick series or B) Have already seen the original and won’t plan on checking out the Michael Bay produced film. Given the recent success of Squid Game or Parasite, the days of foreign to English transitions should be coming to a close. I get it, some people hate foreign films because they don’t like reading the subtitles. However, there’s a certain magic that is lost when it’s turned into an American remake. Location is also a big character when it comes to foreign movies, and by remaking it for western audiences, you’re stripping them of one the biggest characteristics about foreign movies. Now, I’m not trashing this upcoming remake. It could be great. Hell, it could actually turn out to be genre defining! But as of now, it sounds pointless and just another way to add money to Hollywood’s pockets.
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