Ferocious 5 sheds light on a whole universe of pop and geek culture connections with bite-size lists. Explore topics, properties, fandoms you never knew existed in this article series on Bunkazilla. This week, as some sort of sequel, Hugh K. David takes a look at remakes of popular English Language films….
While so much discussion online debates the pros and cons of Anglophone remakes of movies shot in other languages, it’s always worth talking about the inverse: those films shot in languages other than English which famously remake an English-language original. Here are five in no particular order worth watching out for….
1. Antigang (aka The Sweeney: Paris) (2015)
Starring one of the only French actors well known to subtitle-phobic audiences across the west, Jean Reno is supposedly the reason this got made. He saw the potential for a vehicle for himself in Nick Love’s much-maligned 2012 U.K. big-screen adap of the classic 70s cop show, et voila! Director Benjamin Rocher steps away from his directing partner on zombie flicks La Horde (2009) and Goal of the Dead (2014) to helm this solo, and despite working with the same core script and even borrowing a key action scene wholesale, manages to improve on the ‘original’ significantly.
2: Ghajini (2008)
Bollywood has ALWAYS remade films from elsewhere, sometimes legitimately, sometimes ‘inspired by’. However, sometimes others get there first, in this case Tollywood, remaking Christopher Nolan’s Memento in 2005. Bolly star Aamir Khan again supposedly saw an opportunity for a star vehicle here and remade it in Hindi, making further changes to the storyline although keeping lead actress Asin Thottumkal. Rumour has it Nolan was unhappy with the lack of royalties/fees but it was worked out when he came to India and met the crew.
3. Connected (2008)
Hong Kong has had a fair bit of success with its stars, directors and choreographers working in Hollywood, Canada and elsewhere, while Infernal Affairs 1 & 2 became The Departed. However, 2005’s Cellular, from the late director David Ellis (of Final Destination and Snakes on a Plane fame) was a crisp little thriller of the kind veteran writer-director Larry Cohen has always been good at, buffed up by Fast & Furious scribe Chris Morgan and a top cast – Chris Evans, Jason Statham, Kim Basinger, William H. Macy and Jessica Biel.
Not the obvious choice for a remake, but that’s exactly why Connected works so well. The late director Benny Chan was another skilled artisan specialising in cracking little thrillers, the ideal person to helm it, adapted by his regular writer Alan Kuen. Louis Koo got to do something different from his usual star persona, with Barbie Hsu and Nick Cheung also doing excellent work.
4. Saidoweizu (サイドウェイズ , 2009)
It’s one thing to remake the story from another film. It’s another to set in the same country, albeit it a different wine-making region of it. Yes, the Japanese take on Alexander Payne’s 2004 Oscar-nominated literary adap, the mature comedy-drama Sideways, dared to set itself in the U.S. as well! Being produced by Fox probably helped that decision, while director Cellin Gluck has had quite the career on both sides of the Pacific, working with a huge range of prestigious directors.
5. Perfetti sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers, 2016)
So, this is an absolutely fascinating exception to all the rules when it comes to these sort of articles. We’re listing the original Italian comedy-drama by Paolo Genovese here, because as of 2019 there were 18 remakes produced in other languages, with another five on the way! Apparently, that meant it made it into that year’s Guinness World Records… Interestingly enough, for an award-winner like this, it might be no surprise then that many of the remakes are by prestigious talents in their own countries, another unique point when it comes to remakes generally. And apparently most of them are worth seeing!
That’s the list for now. There have been many more remakes of English Language Movies. Is there one we don’t know about? Let us know in the comments below!
Until next time… stomp on monsters of culture, stomp on!