Last year, Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted) produced Black Lightning in Russia. The movie was directed by Alexander Voytinskiy and Dmitriy Kiselev, the latter of whom edited Night Watch and Day Watch and pulled second-unit directorial duty on Wanted. The original Black Lightning looked like a slick, commercial adventure about a student whose fortunes turn around when he acquires a flying car. Bekmambetov called it “the Russian response to Transformers and Batman.”

Now Bekmambetov is talking to Universal (which co-financed Black Lightning in Russia) about a US remake.

Variety merely says that the director is talking with Universal about the remake, and at this point there’s no indication that he would do more than produce. After working with so many possible future directorial projects in the last few months, to settle on a remake of a film like this would be crazy.

Here are the not entirely kind words I had for the Black Lightning trailer, when it was released months ago:

The teaser released earlier this year looked more or less like a car commercial, but this just looks like flashy studio product in a different language. That’s pretty much par for the course for Bekmambetov, who seems to love making movies that are almost alternate reality versions of studio films, whether he’s working for a US studio or a Russian company. They cost less and go farther when it comes to outlandish scenarios and action. They also have more guys in hoods than average. Granted, he’s not directing this film; Alexandr Voitinsky and Dmitriy Kiselev are. But his stamp is definitely on this footage.

If only I’d known then that the film might end up being quickly remade in the US. Based on the potential of Night Watch I hoped that Bekmambetov might develop into a director not unlike Sam Raimi. But of all the projects we’ve heard Bekmambetov’s name attached to in the last year, there isn’t a one that is particularly inspiring. (I almost want to see his version of Moby Dick, just because it sounded so insane.) Meanwhile, there’s also talk of a Russian-Chinese sequel to Black Lightning.

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