When 2012’s “The Raid: Redemption” made its way into theaters around the world, it set a new precedent for action practically overnight, and sent director Gareth Evans and leading man Iko Uwais into immediate superstardom. The release of “The Raid” was further accompanied by the news of an English-language remake being in the works, with director Joe Carnahan and Iko’s “Beyond Skyline” co-star Frank Grillo having long been attached to the project. While this version has been in-development for some time, ICYMI, Carnahan gave perhaps the most definitive update yet in a recent interview with Collider.
The details revealed by Carnahan seemingly confirm the project as the “re-imagining” that he’s long positioned it as, rather than a straight-up remake. Carnahan placed a particular emphasis on the opening of the film to give fans a glimpse of what his take on “The Raid” has in store:
“You meet Frank’s character having just rotated back from a really, really, brutal special forces operation. He’s got soft tissue damage in his hands, and his rotator cuff is blown out, and they take fluid off his knees, and the doctors basically tell him, ‘Listen you’re at the razor’s edge of PTSD and you need three months of just nothing, some R&R, because you’re jacked up.’ And in that space he gets the message that his brother, who he thought had been dead for four years, is actually alive and working for a very bad guy in Caracas, and in 18 hours they’re gonna kill his brother. These forces are gonna descend and murder the bad guy and murder the brother, so do you wanna go and get your brother, who you thought is dead? Do you want that opportunity? So that’s where we start.”
Fans of “The Raid” will recall the plot device of the estranged brother of the protagonist Rama, played by Iko Uwais, as a central element to the film, and judging from Carnahan’s statement, its appears to be the remake’s major, albeit modified, connective tissue with the original. Carnahan further revealed that his take on the “The Raid” will feel more akin to a war film with heavy emotional stakes:
“I want the entire movie to feel like the knife fight between Adam Goldberg and the German in Saving Private Ryan. Everything. In every great action film there’s always an emotional quotient that you’re dealing with…You have to have a sense of stakes. For all of the tremendous excess of those last two Matrix films, which I enjoyed the hell out of, they never really got to the tension of just Keanu Reeves trying to answer a phone at the end of the first movie. There was great pathos, there was a great sense of, ‘Is he gonna make it?’ The spectacle I think outweighs the heart and soul of it, and that’s what you have to remember is you’ve gotta have that attached.”
It’s clear from Carnahan’s statements that his re-imagining of “The Raid” will be anything but the original with another coat of paint, with the “raiding” concept of the original and the plot element of two estranged brothers pretty clearly being a completely different spin on the material. Carnahan also indicated that the project will hopefully head into active production sometime this summer, so fans will soon have a chance to see what his re-imagining of “The Raid” has in store for them, and his vision of it certainly sounds provocative…