Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 by Russ Fischer
I’m not going to say that remaking a stone-cold classic like Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai is a fool’s errand. After all, some guy named Sergio Leone remade another Kurosawa classic, Yojimbo, and produced a classic of his own, A Fistful of Dollars, in doing so. Still, does it seem like a good idea? Not so much. The Weinstein Company has been mulling over a Seven Samurai remake for some time, and now the company has set a director: Scott Mann, who last directed the action/fight film The Tournament.
Variety says that the action will be shifted around a bit,
It centers on a town in Northern Thailand that recruits seven paramilitary contractors from around the globe to defend it from an imminent attack.
John Fusco (Young Guns, one draft of the new TMNT film) has been working on the script, and Scott Mann will join him in pulling together a draft over the next few months, with an eye to shooting the film later this year.
And, for the love of movies, if you haven’t seen the original film, by all means do so. It is a wonderful movie in nearly every respect — there aren’t many pictures that get closer to being perfect. So much of what we think of as the action movie template was defined in Seven Samurai. There is a good Criterion blu-ray, the film is streaming on Netflix, and on Hulu Plus.
I think we’ve featured some stuff on The Tournament back when the film was out, but here’s the trailer again, so you can start to imagine what sort of film Scott Mann might make out of Seven Samurai.
I’m not inspired yet. The simple substitution of paramilitary contractors for samurai seems to miss the point entirely. There is a complexity to the samurai’s relationship to other social classes in feudal Japan — something very much addressed by the original film — that isn’t part of being a paramilitary contractor at all. But I’m so inured to the development of classic remakes that I figure, worst case scenario, I can just ignore this new Seven Samurai in the same way I’ve passed over other unworthy remakes.
(And, yes, as comments point out, there is The Magnificent Seven, a pretty good remake of Seven Samurai, already in existence, as well as many others. Remaking this movie is not new by any means.)