ASIAN MOVIES REMADE IN AMERICA - NO SPRING ROLL FOR YOU

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Jackie Chan Art Translating a story from one culture to another isn't a very easy thing to do. For a start, you have the language barrier to contend with. Then, you have to deal with all those puritans who prefer the original. Plus, to make matters even worse, at the end of the day, it'll most probably end up on one of those poxy lists. You know. Like the one which now follows. Ha!





The Seven Samurai / The Magnificent Seven

 

Its a little known fact that the actor, Anthony Quinn, was the first person to buy the film rites to remake Akira Kurosawa's 1954 classic, 'The Seven Samurai': With him assigned to play one of the main leads, Chris, whilst Yul Brynner was assigned to direct. However, once the studio got involved they had other ideas. And so, after an out of court settlement, it resulted in Anthony being out of the project, Yul being in, and low and behold, 'The Magnificent Seven' was born.


Yojimbo / A Fistful Of Dollars

  

Another Akira Kurosawa project that resulted in a courtroom battle involved his 1961 film, 'Yojimbo'. You see, even though 'Yojimbo' was based on a 1929 novel written by Dashiell Hammett, entitled "Red Harvest", Akira still thought that Sergio Leoni was in breach of copyright with his 1964 spaghetti-western remake, 'A Fistful Of Dollars'. Eventually, Akira won his case, and was awarded 15% of the worldwide gross, and exclusive distribution rights for Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Ironically enough, it was a lot more money than he received from making Yojimbo.


Gojira / Godzilla

 

Despite not technically being a direct remake, the first two versions of Godzilla, one released in 1954 in Japan, the other, 1956 in America, are vastly different in their tonal approach. For example, the original Japanese version was a very serious affair, and represented the monster as being some sort of iconic nuclear force. The American version, on the other hand, omitted a lot of these scenes, and replaced them with new footage of Raymond Burr, who played an American reporter, covering the monster's activities for an English-speaking audience.


Infernal Affairs / The Departed

  

Two men, one a thief, the other a cop, swap roles in life and find out that remakes are hard to reproduce, in spite winning an Academy Award, ha! Seriously though, when Martin Scorsese first agreed to make 'The Departed', he didn't realize that it was based on a three part Hong Kong crime trilogy named, 'Infernal Affairs'. Not that it mattered much. In an interview he gave to journalists in 2006, Andrew Lau, the co-director of Infernal Affairs, said: "Of course I think the version I made is better, but the Hollywood version is pretty good too. Scorsese made his version more attuned to American culture".


Il Mare / The Lake House

 

Now this romantic tale of two time-crossed lovers that once owned the same house was originally a Korean film called, 'Il Mare'. And yes, I must admit, no matter who played the two main leads, be it Gianna Jun and Jung-Jae Lee, or Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, I still wanted to gag whenever one of them would gaze off into the distance and talk about love and all of that cr*p. 


Shall We Dance / Shall We Dance

  

Oh! And while I'm on the subject of gagging, which one of you wants to watch a remake about a middle-aged lawyer who takes up ballroom dancing classes to impress some dame? Come on. I know you want to. It stars Richard Gere (Ouch!), Susan Sarandon (Honk-Honk!), Jennifer Lopez (Bling-Bling), and was adapted from a Japanese film that took its name from an old Rodgers and Hammerstein number, performed in 'The King and I'!


Miracles / Pocketful of Miracles

 

OK. So maybe this should be in another list. A list relating to Asian films adapted from American ones. But hey! How could I resist including this magnificent Jackie Chan kung-fu flick? Especially since it was based on Frank Capra's 1961 comedy classic, 'Pocketful of Miracles', which in turn was based on another of Frank's films, 'Lady for a Day'.


The Ring / The Ring

  

In stark contrast to those two remakes involving Akira Kurosawa I mentioned up above, Kôji Suzuki actually fared an awful lot better in the remake department. Legally speaking of course. And why do I say such a thing? Well, since 2010, his American adaptation of his own Japanese movie, both called 'The Ring', became the highest grossing horror remake in recorded history, totaling over 249 million dollars at the world wide box office.


Now I know there were a lot more films I could've added to this list. Films such as Bruce Willis's Last Man Standing, Nicolas Cage's Bangkok Dangerous, Jennifer Connelly's Dark Waters, and so on, and so forth. But then again, if I did that, I would not be able to talk about this subject again at a later date, would I? Ha!