Mike Fleming

Hollywood has long wanted to remake John Woo’s Hong Kong action classic The Killer and I was always kind of happy when past attempts fell apart because I’ve yet to see an assassin as cool as Chow Yun-Fat was in the  1989 original. To me, it’s almost like trying to remake The Godfather or some other sacrosanct picture considered best in its genre, even though its balletic violence and over the top gunplay informed so many movies, including The Matrix. Now it looks like a remake will happen, in 3D no less (will the flying doves be enhanced with that technology?) At least Woo is involved for some quality control as the picture mobilizes for sales at Berlin. Here’s the announcement:

Los Angeles, 31 January 2011: Essential Entertainment has joined Lion Rock Productions in its remake of THE KILLER in 3D, currently in pre-production, which will be directed by John H. Lee (A Moment to Remember, Saying Good-bye, Oneday) and written by Josh Campbell. Jung Woo-Sung (Reign of Assassins, The Good, The Bad, The Weird) will star in this English language re-telling of John Woo’s iconic action masterpiece, with additional cast to be announced shortly. The film will be produced by Woo (Face/Off, Mission: Impossible II) and Terence Chang under their Lion Rock Productions banner. Essential Entertainment will be handling worldwide sales.

Producer John Woo said: “While all my films are special to me, THE KILLER is truly one of my favorites. We are thrilled to reinvent it as an English-language film and know it’s in capable hands by the incredible visual style and tender emotion John H. Lee brings to all his films.”

John Fremes, President of Worldwide Distribution at Essential Entertainment said: “John Woo’s THE KILLER is one of the most influential and classic action films of all-time. The 3D version will no doubt appeal to fans of the original as well as capture a new generation of enthusiasts.”

Set in present day, an elite Asian assassin risks everything to protect a beautiful singer that he unintentionally blinded, but can only do so with the help of an LAPD detective who is trying to catch him.

THE KILLER in 3D was brought into Essential Entertainment by attorney Howard Frumes from Alexander, Nau, Lawrence, Frumes, & Labowitz, LLP.

Lion Rock Productions has also independently produced, in addition to its numerous studio films, RED CLIFF, the highest grossing film in China at the time of its release, as well as the upcoming martial arts swordplay drama REIGN OF ASSASSINS, released by The Weinstein Company.

In addition to THE KILLER in 3D, Essential Entertainment is handling the international sales on Barney’s Version, The Expatriate, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, The Music Never Stopped, and Red Dog, which will have its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival— screening in competition as part of Generation 14plus.

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