The superb new South Korean crime thriller THE GANGSTER THE COP THE DEVIL features a unique and ingenious premise: a serial killer stalking the city streets, unwittingly targets a notorious crime boss, who fights back and survives. The mobster teams up with a police detective in charge of the case, forming an unlikely alliance. The cop wants to arrest the murderer. The mobster has other ideas.
It’s little wonder that this sensational, twist-packed thrill ride has already been snapped up by none other than Sylvester Stallone for a US remake, who has signed up the brilliant Ma Dong-seo to reprise his role as the gangster, a man driven by honour and revenge, with a penchant for brutal violence.
The cinema from the likes of South Korea and Hong Kong has proved fertile hunting ground for producers looking for fresh and innovative stories. Here are six more thrillers that have inspired big-budget Hollywood reboots.
The Departed (2006)
Top director Martin Scorsese took the sensational 2002 Hong Kong police thriller, Infernal Affairs, about an undercover cop playing cat and mouse with a police department mole, and relocated it to Boston. The remake – with box office heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson in the cast – proved to be a good idea – the film was a big hit, making nearly $300million at the box office, and winning four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director; and a TV series is in currently in development.
In the 2003 South Korean original, called Into the Mirror, an ex-cop working as a security guard investigates a series of deaths linked to mirrors. It was remade with Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland in the role of the ex-cop, made a tidy profit, and spawned a sequel two years later.
Spike Lee directed this US version of Park Chan-wook’s sensationally violent South Korean masterpiece, about a businessman who is inexplicably kidnapped and imprisoned in a grim hotel room-like cell for 15 years without knowing his captor or the reason for his incarceration. Eventually released, he embarks on a quest for revenge. Josh Brolin took the main role, and Lee tried not to disappoint fans of the original, by ensuring he kept the infamous sequence where the character single-handedly dispatches a whole heap of attackers.
Extreme Job (2019)
Kevin Hart has got his eyes on rebooting this action comedy, which is currently the highest grossing South Korean film of all time. It’s the story of a team of cops going undercover in a fried chicken restaurant to catch a gang of criminals – only they come up with an incredibly delicious chicken recipe that interferes with their plans.
I Saw the Devil (2020)
American director Adam Wingard, currently making monster blockbuster Godzilla vs Kong, is planning a remake of the intense South Korean revenge thriller about a cop going after the psychopath who has killed his fiancee.
The Killer (2020)
Top action director John Woo is finally remaking his 1989 Hong Kong classic about a hitman (played by the legendary Chow Yun Fat) who takes on a dangerous job in order to make amends for a woman injured during a shootout. The film is being seriously retooled for this new version, with actress of the moment Lupita Nyong’o (Us, 12 Years A Slave) playing the title character.