After his Jake Gyllenhall-starring boxing drama Southpaw, director Antoine Fuqua will reunite with his two Training Day stars Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington [who will play a role Tom Cruise was previously linked with] for his next movie. Sounds like a good idea, considering that Washington won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in Training Day and Hawke got nominated as well. Add rising star Chris Pratt along for the ride and you’ve got almost a sure-fire success….haven’t you?
Well unfortunately the film in question is yet another remake, and one of a much-loved classic, the 1960 John Sturges-directed Western starring the great team of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Yul Brynner and the two we tend to forget, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz. Not another bloody remake I feel like crying, especially when the film has had at least one unofficial remake – the Star Wars-esque Battle Beyond The Stars – while a myriad of films have been inspired by it, though of course it’s worth remembering that the 1960 film itself was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s brilliant Seven Samurai from 1954, and the screenwriters of the new version – John Lee Hancock [ Snow White And The Huntsmen, The Blind Side, and a rather better writer than a director] and Nic Pizzolatto [a double WGA winner for HBO’s True Detective] are basing their script on the script for the 1954 film which was written by Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni, though it seems that Pizzolatto did the first draft and Hancock has rewritten it.
I can’t say I’m enthralled by this despite the pedigree, and westerns don’t tend to attract decent audiences these days [though of course there are exceptions such as Django Unchained]. I’m calling this another pointless, unwanted remake for the moment, at least until I hear more.