Adaptive Killing

Some people simply say they are fans of John Woo. I can’t say that, because I have to admit that I am not. I am a fan of John Woo’s Hong Kong heroic bloodshed movies, his pre-Windtalkers Hollywood output, and his more recent historical work in China, meaning Red Cliff. That’s the part of John Woo’s oeuvre that I love.

And among all of that, the Killer holds a place of distinction. It was the first John Woo movie I ever saw, and it was the movie I used to get other people interested in John Woo. If you can stomach the melodrama, and you love the balletic violence, there’s more where that came from. It’s also a high-water mark, arguably along with Hard Boiled.

Now there’s going to be an English-language adaptation of the Killer. It doesn’t sound like a straight re-make, but darn close. Word is that Woo is producing, along with Terence Chang, so there’s a strong connection to the original. It’s going to be directed by Korea’s John H. Lee (who shares a given and surname with Chow Yun Fat’s character in the Replacement Killers, so that’s certainly less than six degrees), and starring Jung Woo-Sung (he of Musa the Warrior, the Good, the Bad, and the Weird and John H. Lee’s A Moment to Remember) in the Chow Yun Fat role.

It might be in 3D.

I wish I could be excited about this, but unless this is going to be shot in Korea, Hong Kong or China, without Hollywood representation, and unless fate smiles on it, I have a sense this is going to be a mess. Korea has had some very good action movies, but even when they try to mimic the HK heroic bloodshed style, it tends to be American-ized. If John H. Lee considers the action scenes from movies like the Good, the Bad, and the Weird, Old Boy, Nowhere to Hide, and A Bittersweet Life we might see something interesting.

Will it have the Killer’s impact? I doubt that. I doubt that very, very much.

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One Response to Adaptive Killing


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    Chris says:

    I tend to agree. The Killer is one of those movies that defines a genre. While I have no problem at all with someone taking on a movie like that and retelling/rebooting it. Like Last Man Standing is a good example of this, as is aforementioned The Good, The bad the Weird. It’s not that those movie are better then their foundations. They are just other versions of the story in a different setting/vibe. The key being they aren’t there to replace the originals.

    Unfortunately that is where this movie seems to be going. It’s like the George Lukas effect. The hubris is there to say ‘I can remake it better’. But that just doesn’t ever seem to work out well in movies.

    So when I first heard the news. I was thinking cool a reboot. But as more information comes out this doesn’t seem to be what he’s up to and that’s what worries me.

    I’ve resolved myself to expecting this to be a Hollywood style action fest and not much more.

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