A lot of remakes get a bad wrap. There are some wonderful stories that for whatever reason (setting, format, an enduring quality) that yearn to be revisited. Michael Mann’s L.A Takedown needed to be made into Heat; Brian De Palma and Al Pacino famously revisited Howard Hawks and Paul Muni’s Scarface and tell us that the ‘Scarface’ archetype should be made for each generation; and recently James Toback’s The Gambler starring Mark Wahlberg showed how relevant the existential crises of New Hollywood (1968-1980) is to the two thousand and teens, as well as Kenneth Branagh’s live-action remake of Walt Disney’s Cinderella. On the other end of the spectrum though are such uninspired, pointless, bodily fluid discharges that get you fired up because they feel like insults to the memory of films that are beloved to you. Without further adieu; the top five unnecessary remakes.
Psycho (1998) — Remake of Psycho (1960)
While Gus Van Sant is one of the most prolific and interesting filmmakers working today, remaking Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic Psycho shot-for-shot, like Vince Vaughn’s only unique addition to Norman Bates, is a masturbatory effort. Instead of honouring and adding to the original film, it served as a constant reminder to the film that you wished you were watching.
Total Recall (2012) — Remake of Total Recall (1990)
It’s a shame. Colin Farrell had been in one of the best Phillip K. Dick adaptations, Minority Report, before jumping into Len Wiseman’s attempt at bringing a more faithful cinematic rendering of “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.” Unfortunately despite getting closer to the source material, the imposing shadow left by Schwarzenegger, Verhoeven and that three breasted mutant made this more action oriented spectacle.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) — Remake of Stark Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
That’s right, Star Trek Into Darkness is a thinly veiled gimmick remake of the greatest Star Trek film, and perhaps on of the greatest science fiction films ever made. All the wonderful work that was done JJ Abrams’ first Star Trek feels completely undone by this sloppy sequel. To add insult to injury, one of the most iconic death scenes in all of cinema got REMIXED….WUT.
Arthur (2011) — Remake of Arthur (1981)
There were definitely good intentions in reigniting Dudley Moore’s star vehicle for fellow Russell Brand. Unfortunately though, apart from feeling like a cold, dead, mannequin of the original film but happened to have been released in the midst of the global financial crisis and the Occupy Movement. No-one wanted to see an inordinately rich man child wastefully piss their money away at that moment.
The Mechanic (2011) — Remake of The Mechanic (1972)
The original film starring Charles Bronson, is about an assassin with such surgeon level precision and stealth that he can take out targets in ways that make it look like an accident. Jason Statham’s murderer for hire has about as much stealth as Godzilla. It’s a chorus of explosions and nonsense that steals the name of a great film.
Blake Howard – follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to legacy audio reviews on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.