I’m tired and there’s really no preamble that can do anything to dress this story up, so here it is: Warner Independent is going to remake Enter The Dragon, with Kurt Sutter, executive producer of The Shield, handling both writing and directing duties.
Sutter’s take will be a little different from the version we know: he plans a noir-ish vision in which an FBI agent follows a Shaolin monk into an underground fight club / tournament. I’ve seen almost nothing of his show*, but what I do know suggests this is a reasonable move for Sutter.
Pretty much the only thing in the coverage of this so far that doesn’t make me cringe is this, from Variety: Sutter will look to discover a fight star in the role of the monk and cast an established American actor to play the FBI agent.
Enter The Dragon, as a script, is nothing. It’s an empty vessel. A condom without a cock. And Bruce Lee was one giant cock. (I don’t even want to think about Bolo or John Saxon. Fucking swordfight, man.)
Point is, this story has been made several times, and each time the standout factor has been the talent involved. Whether it’s Bruce Lee, Yu Wang, Jackie Chan or even Jean-Claude van Damme, there’s nothing to offer without a personality at the center of the action. Anyone can make a martial arts tournament flick, but you need a star at the center of it for anyone to care. When Sutter finds one, we’ll start to pay attention. And he’ll have to be as good as, if not better than Tony Jaa to actually make an impact. Good luck there.
I’d be less worried about Warner’s intentions if this wasn’t going to trade so obviously on the original title; Sutter’s version currently bears the title Awaken The Dragon. That original producers Paul Heller and Fred Weintraub are on this version does little to soften my grim expectations.
*Seriously, save it. I almost never watch TV and my DVD queue is massive. I’ll get to it one day.