John Woo's The Killer remake old news?
Back in October 2007 we first heard that The Killer was going to be remade by John H. Lee, and in fact you can read it right here on Filmstalker, but the other day a press release came out about it and everyone got excited again, for the same reasons.
Well not entirely the same. We knew about the remake, we knew about the director, but we didn't know that it was going to be filmed in 3D. Well, it wouldn't have been back then, it wasn't the craze to up the ticket prices, it is now though.
Back then we were told by the producer Terence Chang that John Woo's classic The Killer was going to be remade and brought to L.A., although the lead character would still be Korean and the backdrops would be L.A.'s Koreatown, Chinatown and South Central.
"I ask myself why they chose me and whether I can top it...But then I realize it's not about making it better. It's about making my own version. My strength is dealing with human emotions, austerity and elegance."
Lee directed the film A Moment to Remember (Nae meorisokui jiwoogae) which was hugely popular in Japan, I believe breaking opening records at the time.
The Killer tells the story of an assassin who is on one last job, earning enough money to pay for an operation to restore the sight of someone he once accidentally blinded, and on that last job he's unsurprisingly double crossed so he heads out for revenge.
So that was back then, what's changed now in the new announcement through Deadline?
Well we hear that the writer of the remake is John Campbell, that Jung Woo-Sung from The Good, the Bad, the Weird (Filmstalker review) and the upcoming Reign of Assassins will star, that the plot has changed slightly, and that they are delivering it in 3D.
Excellent choice of lead actor, that's new and I think someone very capable of filling Chow Yun-Fat's shoes, and the plot sounds like it's been changed slightly but keeping the core:
Set in present day, an elite Asian assassin risks everything to protect a beautiful singer that he unintentionally blinded, but can only do so with the help of an LAPD detective who is trying to catch him.
The only really new news is the fact that it's going to be in 3D, and there's the first worrying aspect. I'm sure everyone's agreed to 3D and they aren't being pressured into it by the Hollywood studios desperate to saturate those two audiences and maximise profits, but why does The Killer need 3D?
Well perhaps since the violence is stylised and it's visually exciting, that's one reason isn't it? Actually I could agree there, it's got the potential to deliver some visually breathtaking sequences, but my concern is that the 3D is done cheaply and won't be the up-market, deeply involved and detailed 3D that could make this amazing, it'll be the conveyor belt studio financially calculated for return 3D.
What makes this even more worrying is the fact that it has so much potential. Woo is behind it, Chang is producing, there's a great director and star, and the plot seems to be close to the original. Is this going to turn out to be a missed opportunity and a waste of talent?