There was a time when I thought that best news of the year was that the American Akira remake was dead in the water.
Then the fucking Hughes brothers showed up and took a dump on that little moment of contentment. I’m not a fan of their work. I think that stylistically, they’ve got some great ideas, but every single film they’ve made has felt somehow hollow — including their impressive debut, Menace II Society. They’re just not fully developed film makers. Which means that, unsurprisingly, I’m less than thrilled about the prospect of them helming Akira.
Anyway, recently news came via Collider that they’ve hired a new writer, Albert Torres (Henry Poole is Here), and that it will be broken into two films.
Now, the two films thing isn’t a bad idea per se — they’ve said that they’re focusing more on the original manga series than on the 1988 Ôtomo film, and the manga series is pretty dense and lengthy. The problem is, of course, if the first one tanks, then we’re pretty much fucked, especially since Albert Hughes is on record as saying “I’m not into sequels… I don’t even know if I wanna be around for the sequel. I’m just focusing on the first movie.” And adding Albert Torres’ writing skills into the mix isn’t exactly boosting my confidence. His only credit is Henry Poole, a film that I absolutely loathed.
Oh, but here’s the good news. It’s going to be PG-13.
Yeah, by good news, I meant “here’s a smack in the balls for you.”
No doubt the PG-13 rating is due to the diminished return on the last major R-rated comic book movie, Watchmen, and the studio is trying to avoid some of the same issues. R-rated comic book movies have had historically poor box office receipts, though I tend to think that much of that is more due to the fact that we simply haven’t had very many good ones. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the best one I can think of is probably 30 Days of Night — by no means a great movie, but I certainly found myself entertained by it. With Watchmen, I was mainly either frustrated, bored, or both. And let’s not talk about Punisher: War Journal.
So there you have it — a pair of directors with a spotty track record, a bland, derivative, insipid and inexperienced writer, a gunshy studio, and a PG-13 rating. Ladies and gentlemen, your American adaptation of Akira!
Here’s a preview, courtesy of reader Nicolae: