Park this in your Chan-Wook.

It’s been said before, and no doubt by me, and it’ll certainly be said again, as long as the Hollywood machine continues to swallow the perspirative art of others and shit on their hard work:

Stop it! Stop fucking rehashing much-loved, good-fucking-quality films (or even much-loved, b-grade shlock), and start coming up with something for yourselves. And if you’ve got no fucking imagination (a supposition that’s tantamount to asking if bears shit in the woods, or the Pope’s guilty of fondling little boys) then at least you could get talented scriptwriters and/or directors to do the thieving.

Having said that, though, even then I have a hard time accepting any remake as a worthwhile piece of art. I thoroughly enjoyed The Departed, for instance, until I realised that not only was it a remake of Lau & Mak’s Infernal Affairs, it was pillaged scene for scene (with the odd minor exception) from the original. While it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch it does, needless to say, strike it forever from my list of respectable films. Same goes for True Grit. From The Cohen Brothers? Losing the edge a bit there fella’s.  

I nearly choked when I discovered that a remake is in the works of Park Chan-Wook’s tense and stunning thriller Old Boy. Ok, so Spike Lee, is an off-beat enough director to do womething interesting with it, but getting Protosevich (I am Legend, The Cell, Thor) to write it? The pen might be mightier than the sword, but in Protosevich’s case, not mightier than his knuckles, which no doubt are going to bludgeon the film to death with their ham-fistedness.

Still, I suppose that in the view of the majority of the cinema-going public, being the intellectually retarded contributors to obesity statistics that they are, subtitles do equate to having to fucking think about something. Yeah, remaking anything that requires the dire levels of eye-brain co-ordination inherent in foreign-language films is probably the way to go.

And while we’re on the topic, was there something wrong with the eighties? I mean apart from spandex, neon, and jeans tight enough to turn your feet as black as your mascara? Seemingly so, if the need to denegrate the cinema of the period by doing a newer, shinier version is anything to go by.

Look, yes, I know there is that whole “it’s a homage, a mark of respect” nonsense. To be honest, that’s just utter fucking bullshit. A homage is taking the stylistic elements (or something) of a beloved auteur and incorporating them into something new – at least nominally original – not ripping off their work a scene at a time, with better lighting. Does plagiarism mean nothing anymore? Like recording a cover of a great song, if you are going to do something different with it (a la Rolfe Harris’ Stairway to Heaven, replete with wobble board and the slapping of thighs), go right ahead, but if all you can manage to sound like a man who’s put his nuts in a vice in an attempt to mimic Robert Plant’s high notes, then fuck off and leave it alone, for pity’s sake. 

But who am I to tell Hollywood not to hire the budget, Irish-Brad-Pitt-Wannabe Colin Farrel to reprise The Governator’s role as Doug Quaid in a Total Recall remake, or some arsehole not to try to scrape a few more dollars out of the Evil Dead franchise, not by squeezing out another sequel, but by regurgitating the original film… Who gives a shit that they were both excellent films in their own right? Fuck it, slap a dollar sign on people’s nostalgic moments of cinematic pleasure, you’ve got one on every other fucking thing on the planet. And Highlander is getting a new, polished overhaul as well. Highlander! Fucking HIGHLANDER!!! – no doubt to be written by the mastermind behind 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and Independence Day; and staring superb character actor Gerard Butler, for the authentic Scottish element. Yeah, yeah, Christopher Lambert could hardly be accused of being an actor, but the original Highlander is undeniably one of the most classic films of all time.

I don’t know whether I am made sick more by the fact that Hollywood is trying to make a buck out of every sacred piece of cinema history; by it’s systematic destruction of future generations’ enjoyment of those old gems by tarnishing them with the brush of big-budget, poorly written rip-offs; or by the fact that, almost certainly, I will go and see them all…


~ by Gethin A. Lynes on July 14th, 2011.

2 Responses to “Park this in your Chan-Wook.”

  1. Just for clarity’s sake, the Coen brothers didn’t remake the classic John Wayne film. They did their own adaption of the book the original film was based on. Apparently they banned any of their cast and crew from watching the old one whilst they were making theirs.

    Otherwise, damn fine rant mate.

    • Yeah fair point, and by all accounts Spike Lee is doing “his own adaptation” of the orginal graphic novel… Still, for all that it was not a remake of the classic John Wayne, the Coen’s bears some uncanny fucking resemblance…

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