The Dirty Dozen remake

A couple of weeks ago, word came out that Suicide Squad director David Ayer was in negotiations to write and direct a remake of The Dirty Dozen, the 1967 classic about an Army major who must lead twelve dangerous convicts behind enemy lines for an assassination mission during World War II. Now Ayer has offered a bit more insight into his approach for the new version, including confirming that his movie will be set during modern day and revealing that he sees it as the possible start of an ongoing action franchise.

Speaking with Collider about the project, Ayer indicates that he sees his Dirty Dozen remake as being akin to some big name Hollywood action franchises:

“I think it’s just an opportunity for a great ensemble action franchise. I’ll have a really solid lead character, and I see it in the vein of the Mission: Impossible movies, or the Fast and Furious franchise, for which I wrote the first one. It’s like anything, you build an amazing family of characters, and then you watch them bounce off of each other and drive each other crazy.”

Ayer also spoke briefly about updating the setting from World War II, which will allow him to better capture the tone he’s looking for:

“For me, World War II is the Holy War. To do a more fun, comedic version of that war, I don’t think I could pull that off. But absolutely, I can do that present day, and have that fun and anarchy and wildness, and have modern characters with incredible diversity and real voices.”

The original Dirty Dozen is one of the ultimate Dad Movies ever made: a violent, action-filled war movie about a ragtag group of malcontents who have to begrudgingly step up for the sake of the country, populated with some of the best character actors of the era. (If you don’t know the names Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Broson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, George Kennedy, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, and Ralph Meeker, you can be damn well sure that your old man does.)

Ayer is a filmmaker who continually returns to familiar territory in his storytelling, so it’s not super surprising that he’d want to make a movie that feels so similar to one he’s made before. He’s expressed dissatisfaction with Suicide Squad before (a film he initially referred to as “The Dirty Dozen with super villains”), so I’m wondering if he’s viewing this as a second chance to nail this type of material. Simon Kinberg (Dark Phoenix) is producing the remake.

The original movie spawned several sequels, so the franchise idea is not without precedent. Here’s the trailer for the 1967 movie that popularized the “convicts go on a seemingly impossible mission” trope:

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