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If you think you’re hearing an echo, it’s because my stomach is a giant empty pit hallowed by the existence of The Raid remake, and sounds bounce off the inner walls like heads bouncing off of the walls in a certain drug lord’s apartment complex. Also, we talked about it a couple of weeks ago, when The Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes first entered negotiations to defy expectations by directing Screen Gems’ Americanized version of Gareth Evans’ The Raid: Redemption. The studio is now making things official by announcing Hughes has definitely been hired, just in case you thought something "terrible" had happened to the remake in the meantime.
It’s still a question of what any filmmaker can bring to this remake that justifies its existence, especially when Evans’ intensity-raising sequel The Raid 2 is coming out here theatrically in the U.S. later this month - albeit in a limited fashion. Plus, Spike Lee’s Oldboy came out on Blu-ray/DVD here today, and its comparative paltriness to the original is so fresh in the memory that being reminded of this remake is kind of a bummer all around. But from misery springs hope, and Hughes needs all the support he can get.
The Australian filmmaker's history is filled with a few popular shorts, including the clever paper-based office romance Signs, but he moved into the feature world with 2010’s enjoyable western thriller Red Hill. Not a perfect debut, but one that remained exciting and was a good indicator of Hughes’ potential. Pause for a trailer.
There’s no bigger calling card for "action director" than landing the Expendables sequel, so that’s a positive sign for what The Raid: Boston or Wherever can turn into. Of course, these are two completely different kinds of action films. With the western-made star-studded Expendables series is big and broad, while capturing The Raid’s insane choreography requires a different set of skills. Some of those same choreographers are coming back for this remake, so we know the fights themselves are going to be interesting. The question is whether or not there are actors who can pull it off.
The script was written by Brad Inglesby, who co-wrote the slow-burning crime drama Out of the Furnace with director Scott Cooper. His next flick is Liam Neeson’s hitman actioner Run All Night, which is set to come out next year. It’s an original story, even though it’s following the same set up of a DEA squad trying to take down a crime boss get trapped inside a building filled with his acrobatic thugs.
Now we just have to wait until August to see where Sylvester Stallone is taking the Expendables for their next highly flammable adventure to get a better read on Hughes' abilities as a filmmaker..