Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Hollywood remake of a Korean film?

Over at Brian in Chŏllanam-do's site, we get word of a possible remake of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance.

I liked this film (I even made reference to its title here) and think it could be okay as a remake, though it always sort of annoys me to be reminded that American audiences can't be bothered to watch movies with subtitles — or perhaps just that Hollywood and the movie theater industry think that Americans can't be bothered to watch movies with subtitles.

But some of the films they've talked about remaking — Oldboy and especially JSA come to mind — just shouldn't be redone. Taking them out of their original context distorts the mixture of the original elements that made the original what it was and enervates the story. If there is a situation where a new retelling with a new venue and new actors can enhance the original, so be it, but it's usually a desire for profits that is the primary motivator.

Could the story of JSA be better told somewhere else? If not, why bother? With Sympathy, however, there is no such necessary tethering to a Korean (or other Asian) setting for it to work. The same thing could be set in, say, rural New Mexico and it could still be a satisfying movie, potentially at least. But still, it brings me back to the original question of why can't American audiences be bothered to see the original. After all, it's a chance to see Bae Doona's boobies.


  1. It's probably not so much that American audiences can't watch the original Asian classics with's just that they don't (unless they were given the movies, but they probably wouldn't browse Blockbuster or Netflix looking for Asian movies).

    So, Hollywood remakes them with their favorite Sandra Bullock or Keanu Reeves to make the masses fork out their ticket money. But I agree...some movies like the JSA movie and recently, the re-make of the Hachiko dog story movie (with Richard Gere) should not be remade and taken out of their original cultural/historical contexts. It kind of defeats the purpose of those movies.

  2. Bae Doona has boobies?.. ;)

  3. She does indeed. They're small, but Kushibo doesn't mind, after all, I've got small hands.


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