Hollywood really loves two things: superhero movies and remakes. Sometimes those remakes are reboots of already popular English-language hits, but just as often they're translations of foreign language films. Think The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Godzilla or pretty much any horror movie released in the '00s.
There are a whole load of foreign movie remakes coming your way in the next couple of years. So put on your reading glasses and watch all these before the unsubtitled versions are released, at which point you can feel really smug and say things like, "Of course, the original is better because..."
The straightforward action movie - cops go into an apartment block and try to bring down a crime lord; fisticuffs ensue - is elevated to art by absolutely storming fight choreography. It was inevitable that a US production company would try to remake this Indonesian hit. Patrick Hughes, director of The Expendables 3, has been hired to direct and Taylor Kitsch has secured the lead role.
The Secret In Their Eyes
The winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2010, this is the story of a retired legal counselor looking back on an unsolved murder and an unrequited love that have both haunted him for years. The US remake is very starry. The leading role has been gender-reversed, so Julia Roberts will play the legal counselor, who was originally played by Ricardo Darin. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chiwetel Ejiofor are both also on board, though it's not clear what their roles will be. The film is to be written and directed by Billy Ray, who made the excellent Shattered Glass and wrote the first Hunger Games movie.
Takashi Miike's movies are not routinely snapped up for remake, because they're mostly deeply disturbing and not what you'd call mainstream. Audition is one of his more popular films, but still completely weird. It's the story of a widower whose friend decides it's time for him to start dating again, so sets up 'auditions' for a new girlfriend. One of the women who shows interest is Asami (Eihi Shiina), who lives alone in an apartment with nothing but a phone and a sack. A sack that is not empty. The English-language version will be less a remake of the film than a new adaptation of the novel by Ryu Murakami, to be directed by Richard Gray. Whether Gray repeats the vomit-eating scene from Miike's version remains to be seen (through barely parted fingers).
This 1982 cult martial arts movie marked the cinema debut of Jet Li, playing a young man who swears to avenge the murder of his father by a treacherous general, training in a monastery to become a skilled fighter. It's highly revered among martial arts movie experts. The remake is slated to be directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) and written by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James) so we can expect the new version to be kind of a big deal.
Tell No One
Based on the novel by Harlen Coben, this French thriller by Guillaume Canet (who you might remember as the French guy in The Beach) has been on for a remake for years. It came out in 2006 and tells the story of a man who is accused of murder, bringing back vivid memories of the murder of his wife years ago. His state of mind is not helped at all when he's send a video of his murdered wife apparently alive and well. Ben Affleck was circling an English-language version for a while but later ditched it. Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) is now warming up the director's chair.
Two brothers experience a terrible accident during a deep-sea dive to prepare for the laying of a Norwegian petroleum pipe. When one of the brothers tries to find out what caused this accident he finds the authorities very keen to hide the truth. The original version, directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg (Insomnia), was a moderate hit in Norway and was immediately earmarked for an English-language remake by Smokehouse Pictures, the production company owned by Grant Heslov and George Clooney. Clooney's given no indication that he'll actually direct. He's a little busy making his film based on the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
It was called 'Snabba Cash' in its native Sweden, which is an enormous amount of fun to say. It stars Joel Kinnaman (Robocop) as a promising student who lives a double life pretending to be an enormously rich playboy. His need to keep his charade going leads him into a life of crime, which is where everything starts to go wrong. The film was a massive hit in Sweden and started a bidding war for the remake rights in America. Warner Bros won and have started work on an English language version starring...Zac Efron.
Released in Korea in 2009, this thriller focuses on a homicide detective with a troubled home life - do any detectives have a pleasant home life? - who makes a worrying discovery during investigation of a murder scene: the evidence points to his wife being involved. He tries to hide any connection to her, but things are further complicated when a stranger calls him, stating he knows of his wife's links to the scene and tries to blackmail the detective. An American remake is currently being written by Peter O'Brien, who has no screenplay credits but wrote the game story for Halo: Reach. He is not the same Peter O'Brien who played Shane in Neighbours.