John Woo To Remake His Bullet Ballet Classic, THE KILLER, In 2016

It was back in the Spring that celebrated film legend, director John Woo, announced his return to action with the forthcoming remake of Japanese crime thriller, Manhunt. This week however, appears to be a continuing pivot on that particular turning point with word now making the rounds that he'll be looking forward to a remake of his ceremonious Hong Kong action classic, The Killer.

The original film was released in 1989 and heralded as a signature title for the director's stylish vision as per the era of Hong Kong cinema at the time. It starred Chow Yun-Fat as a top hitman who takes on one more job to pay for a surgery for an unwitting victim caught in the crossfire while on the run from a detective hot on his tail. 71: Into The Fire co-writer/director John H. Lee who is currently aboard Taewon Entertainment's WW2 drama, Operation Chromite, was once reportedly circled to direct during the course of the remake's development.

Woo was on hand this week at the Tokyo International Film Festival where he not only received the Samurai Award for his groundbreaking work in film, but also discussed plans to direct a remake of the film after finishing Manhunt. “So after Manhunt, I probably will go back to Hollywood to make another action thriller." he said "I’m going to make The Killer in an American version.”

He also added: “It’s a bit like going back to my own style. It’s a criminal story, with love and guns – and maybe some pigeons,”, which is pretty understandable considering he's done quite a few period epics, including Red Cliff and the most recent war drama twofer, The Crossing.

Woo reportedly plans to start filming Manhunt in late Winter, rebooting auteur Sato Junya's 1976 adaptation of Nishimura Juko's classic novel, "Kimi yo Funnu no Kawa o Watare" which focused on an embattled lawyer risking life and limb to clear his name. The director is still very much attached to Hollywood circles so it's likely he'll get the necessary backing he needs to make these happen.

That said, with respect to all the brouhaha over the upcoming remake of 2011 crime thriller, The Raid, this particular matter also exemplifies why a little optimism is in order since The Killer IS Woo's movie. Whether or not creative hinderances factor in will remain to be seen though, but I don't see a huge reason for worry at this juncture.

The man who directed Face/Off and executive produced Chow's crossover debut, The Replacement Killers (my personal favorite) still has a bit of pep in his step, and probably a flock of White doves or two left up his sleeve. So at the very least, yes: Manhunt? A remake of The Killer? Bring it.


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