Yes, that is the movie that War Party duo, Frank Grillo and director Joe Carnahan are setting out to remaster with their own vision. It's been an epicenter of much brouhaha for many a fan who already think that the 2011 Iko Uwais-led starrer and its sequel from director Gareth Huw Evans is enough with a third pending and a fanbase this apprehensive toward anything they love like The Raid being remade in any capacity is likely hard to please.
|Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan|
JOE CARNAHAN: What Frank and I both cotton to is this idea of special operators. Special forces operation guys often times like football players. They’re never 100%. Soft tissue damage in their hands, radial fractures, knees are shot, this and that. So this idea you’re catching a guy who is compelled to go after his brother after he just got his ass kicked in a completely different operation. You’re getting a guy who’s like the walking wounded. So you’re immediately plugging in to this very mortal, very human, everybody’s been hurt, everybody’s tweaked their back; in fact, more people have an affinity and an understanding of that situation than being this completely physically fit monster that doesn’t feel pain.They see their characters not as indestructible martial arts masters, but more in the mold of special ops soldiers or football players. Specifically, these guys play hurt. No one is at 100%. They’re all dealing with injury, they tape it up, rub some dirt on it, play at 80%, and go do their job.
》When you have these kinds of characters, the complexion of the movie changes. For Carnahan and Grillo, they want the entire film to feel like the “knife fight between Adam Goldberg and the German in Saving Private Ryan.” They want that knock-down, drag-out, deeply uncomfortable brutality.
CARNAHAN: There’s a level of brutality, a level of violence. If our movie felt like the knife fight between Adam Goldberg and the German in Saving Private Ryan the entirety of the movie, then we’ve done exactly what we need to do. Something that grueling and tough.
FRANK GRILLO: You want to look away but you can’t.As for the fans, Weintraub gets just the answers he needs with regard to the purpose Carnahan and Grillo see in readapting the film.
GRILLO: Many Americans, most Americans, have never seen The Raid before.
CARNAHAN: By the way, Smokin’ Aces is about an assault on a penthouse with a bunch of crazy people fighting their way up to the top. That was six years before The Raid was made. So it’s not like these are things that don’t interest me. I can show you a pattern. I dig that kind of an idea.
GRILLO: And I’ll tell you something that bothers me. When people say you’re doing to do “The Hollywood Version” of The Raid–
CARNAHAN: Or whitewash it.
GRILLO: First of all, we’re not the Hollywood version of anything. We come through the back door all the time. I’m not Tom Cruise. I’m not the Hollywood version. I’m not knocking Tom Cruise, but he’s Tom Cruise. He gets to do whatever he wants. So my point is we don’t have to do this. We can do anything we want to do. We want to do this because there’s something we see that we want to show to American audiences, and audiences globally. Many people have not seen The Raid.
CARNAHAN: Among cinephiles, it’s a beloved film. But people in Des Moines, Iowa have not seen The Raid.
|Sony Pictures Classics|
CARNAHAN: [It’s set in] Caracas. Because Caracas is a madhouse. It’s almost like a safehouse for bad guys, like they built this block in Caracas because this is where you come to do business and no one will fuck with you. Because it’s such a dangerous place, nobody wants to go in there. Again, it’s heightening elements of The Raid that were already there, I’m taking these story elements and kind of weaponizing them. Just giving them a shot of steroids, because again everything is about zagging—where The Raid zigged, we’ll zag.
》But in addition to the action, Carnahan has zeroed his focus on the heart of the film, which is a story of two brothers:
CARNAHAN: It’s a very different relationship with the brothers, because their father is a very centrifugal figure in this thing. Without getting too deep into it it’s all about the idea that a man is able to create the version of himself that surpasses himself, but one of them sees him for what he really is which is not this world beater. It’s the opposite of—you know Liam Neeson has that line in The Grey of “My dad saw weakness everywhere,” it’s that guy, but he is weak. So the argument between these two brothers, the split between them, is about their dad. He built these things that are superior and that are real soldiers, but he’s not that. You bought that line, I didn’t buy that line. I went my way and you went your way.
GRILLO: I did a movie with Iko. I’m friends with Iko. Iko may be in this movie. We don’t know… So Iko and I did a movie in Indonesia last year. It’s a big kind of sci-fi movie, and I don’t know where it’s going to come out, when it’s going to come out, but Iko and I became best friends. We became brothers. And he’s my boy. When he heard this, he reached out to immediately and said, “Is there a place for me in the movie?” This is the guy who originated the role, and was the star in both movies–it’s a film that everyone wants to be involved in, even the guy who is the guy. So maybe. Joe said maybe there’s a world where he’s one of the other guys. Who knows.
CARNAHAN: We’re going to do this for under $20 million, which is about as down and dirty as you can get, but there’s no studio. It’s us.