If there’s one place to look for decent remake material, the most fertile property seems to actually be the ouevre of Akira Kurosawa. The Seven Samurai became the Magnificent Seven. Yojimbo became the perfectly enjoyable Last Man Standing. Hell, even Kurosawa borrowed from Shakespeare when he did Ran. Provided you take a running stab at creating a unique flavor and pay attention to the storyline, you can convert Kurosawa to something powerful and wondrous.
Mike Nichols has decided to direct the adaptation of Kurosawa’s High and Low, a seedy project with a dark premise: A wealthy businessman named Kingo Gondo prepares to pay the ransom when his son is kidnapped. He discovers that the kidnappers have accidentally taken the son of his chauffeur instead. Now, he must decide whether to pay the ransom and save his servant’s boy or instead invest his money to save the shoe company he’s mortgaged all his money to keep making quality shoes.
It’s a sordid project that could twist nicely in the right hands. David Mamet was all set to pen, but backed out so Nichols turned to the next logical choice. Chris Rock.
WHAT THE FUCK?!
Rock’s a funny motherfucker, and he’s actually an accomplished documentarian. But he’s motherfucking arsenic and old lace at the box office. ESPECIALLY when he’s doing remakes. Like a diarrhetic Shih Tzu, Rock took a French film and the gourmet Heaven Can Wait and digested them into the brown oozing stink of I Think I Love My Wife and Down to Earth. And he’s involved with the raping of the perfectly good Frank Oz flick Death at a Funeral into Tyler Perry Would Have Presented If Given the Chance Vultures Gnawing at a Still Kicking Corpse. (I go ahead and preemptively blame Tyler Perry for all the woes delivered on black people, it just saves time. If you do the math, you can actually prove that Perry gave syphilis to the Tuskegee Airmen. True story.)
I trust in Nichols, as he’s done Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Catch-22, and The Birdcage. Granted, it’s a sliding scale of skill, but they’re all still decent adaptations. Whereas, Rock fucks up everything he sets his mitts on. Plus, this premise doesn’t exactly scream comedy, which is really more of Rock’s forte. If anything, I’m surprised they didn’t go with Perry, who’s heavy-handed morality would be more conducive to the plot.