IN its wisdom, Hollywood decided in 2015 to remake the greatest action movie of all time, Point Break (1991). The original, starring Keanu Reeves as Johnny Utah (great name) and Patrick Swayze as the surfer bank robber Bodhi, had everything – car chases, sky-diving, surfing, foot chases through the streets and of course guns and violence. It had great cameos from John McGinley and Gary Busey, a killer soundtrack, awesome shots of the surf and a brilliant dynamic between the cop infiltrating the surfer gang and the surfing guru Bodhi. It had everything you’d expect from a great action movie and more so why, WHY, did Hollywood remake it? The general consensus is there is a distinct lack of ideas within Hollywood, and no wonder. When creativity is stifled by the perpetually offended, you’re generally going to go for safe or easy, taking an original and bashing it around the head until there’s no resemblance (certainly in terms of respect) to the first masterpiece. To be honest, I haven’t watched the remake and I never intend to. There’s no point to it in my eyes and I’m glad it bombed. In this instance, it was a lack of ideas that spurred it into the cinemas but as we’re about to see, a new form of remake has, in recent years, entered the mainstream – those that embrace ‘diversity’.
There is a plan in the works for a Will Smith-Kevin Hart remake of the brilliantly funny Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Apparently, this will be a ‘modern’ update on the 1987 original in which Steve Martin and John Candy form a disparate partnership in a bid to reach home for Thanksgiving, with unfortunate consequences. The word ‘modern’ doesn’t hold any illusions – all it means is that Hollywood has taken the diversity fad and is running with it. I don’t expect it to be much different aside from being vastly unfunny.
The thing is that remakes of this kind tend to bomb, as we’ve seen from the all-female productions of Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 11 so why do this? Have Hollywood producers learned nothing or are diversity remakes, for them, more about moral superiority than making a profit? Maybe they’ll go down the Gillette route and blame something else for audiences staying away in droves. ‘It was summer and more people wanted to be outside.’ Something trite like that.
Hollywood isn’t exactly short of black actors, black actresses or white actresses, and companies are never short of films. The only reason they’d remake a movie featuring these apparently under-represented performers is to airbrush the white actor from film history. Whether this is because of the new bogeyman, ‘white privilege’, I don’t know but it’s certainly a fashion they’re keen to employ and boy, does Hollywood love a new fad.
The problem, as noted by the Mail on Sunday’s Caroline Graham recently, is that Hollywood could go much further. As the BLM movement takes hold of many institutions, how long will it be before positive discrimination is used regularly in the movie industry, pushing out white actors (and soon, actresses) under what I’d call anti-white racism but they’d call equality and inclusion? It’s a slippery slope.
I don’t mind the odd remake. Some originals need it, such as any romantic borefest made by Richard Curtis and/or featuring the jittery Hugh Grant or the screamy Keira Knightley. Many over the last few years have come from vastly superior Asian movies – such as Oldboy and the Grudge and Ring series – to please an American audience who don’t know how to read subtitles. There are quite a few I enjoy, including the remake of It (though I loved Chapter One and hated Chapter Two) and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the remake of which was very different from the original. Remakes when done with love and respect for the original can be good but when they’re done to virtue-signal, they’re terrible, because that’s all they have. No creativity, no style, and you can feel that in the performances.
I expect the remake of Planes, Trains and Automobiles to bomb like other narcissistic identity fests, and it deserves to. Hollywood needs to suffer the humiliation of seeing these films flop before it wakes up and returns to common sense.