John Woo Remaking 'Le Samourai' + His Own Film 'The Killer'
We just talked about John Woo's forthcoming first foray onto IMAX screens with Flying Tigers, but the action filmmakers is planning even further down the road with a couple of remakes in mind. Variety recently spoke with the director who revealed that he hopes to remake the 1967 French classic Le Samourai, not to mention remaking his own 1989 Hong Kong police action flick The Killer. In addition, Woo is apparently also developing a couple of new martial arts fueled films. One will be an homage to Hong Kong filmmakers Chang Cheh and King Hu, while the other is a samurai movie in the same vein as an Akira Kursowa movie.
While I've never been a fan of directors who decide to remake or even slightly change their previous works years or even decades later, Woo's eye for action has likely gotten better in the past 21 years, so perhaps it could work. The original starred Chow Yun-Fat as assassin Ah Jong, who accidentally damages the eyes of the singer Jennie (Sally Yeh) during a shootout. He later discovers that if Jennie does not have an expensive operation soon, she will go blind, so he decides to perform one last hit to get the money for the operation. A remake could be fun, I suppose, but I'm willing to bet Woo's die-hard fans wouldn't be too keen on seeing it.
However, I'm completely against his remaking Le Samourai, a favorite French film of mine introduced to me during my college years which just should not be touched by contemporary filmmakers. The 1967 film followed hitman Jef Costello who, after offing a nightclub owner, has to deal with both his double-crossing employer who now wants him dead, and the dogged police investigator who's determined to rein him in. The film meshes elements of samurai and gangster films into an innovative and truly magnificent classic. I just don't want it touched. However, what I wouldn't mind seeing is another manifestation of Woo's dream to one day direct a musical. Apparently he almost directed the recent incarnation of Phantom of the Opera, but wanted to change-up the songs in it a little too much, so they ended up with Joel Schumacher instead.
With so many projects and desires floating around in his head, Woo's got a future slate for at least the next ten years, and it doesn't sound like he'll be taking any breaks anytime soon. Woo says, "I don't want to stop. I'm a pretty reasonable person. I have no other luxuries or desires, I just love to work and work and work." I'm sure his fans don't mind hearing that one bit! What do you guys think of all these new projects?