The Raid is 10 years old and Hollywood is still no closer to making the remake
Hollywood has been having a really hard time remaking one of the best action movies of the 21st century...
Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on 8 September, 2011 (admittedly, it would be another nine months before it eventually found its way to cinemas in Ireland and the UK), The Raid - or as it later became known, The Raid: Redemption - arrived to a reaction you rarely see action movies ever receiving.
A horror movie disguised as a kung fu movie, the deliriously violent, narratively streamlined action flick had our hero Rama (Iko Uwais), a SWAT team member suddenly all alone in a locked-down apartment block filled with violent criminals, fighting his way to the top floor to take on the gang's ruthless leader.
Written and directed by Gareth Evans (from Scotland), The Raid (entirely in Indonesian) was a rare crossover hit... sort of. The budget was a little over $1 million, and the worldwide box office didn't even crack $10 million. But between tremendous word of mouth and overwhelming positive critical reactions, the movie continued to build its fanbase once it arrived on DVD, Blu-Ray and eventually streaming services.
The potential was obvious and immediate that the rights to a Hollywood were sold almost simultaneously to the original movie's cinematic release - in part, Evans was eager to sell as it would help buffer the budget for his impending bigger sequel - but to this day, an entire decade on, the remake has yet to arrive.
To get the obvious out of the way, 2012's Dredd was not a rip-off of The Raid. Yes, the plot is pretty much identical - a vastly outnumbered hero violently fights his way to the top floor of a criminal high-rise - but Dredd began production in 2010, while the script was written in 2006, so this was just a case of coincidence and bad timing.
As far as actual, proper remakes go, one was initially announced in 2011 with Evans set to stay on board as a producer. It wasn't until 2014 when any details began to be released, with Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3, The Hitman's Bodyguard) announced as director and both Chris and Liam Hemsworth reportedly both being circled for the movie's lead roles.
A few months later, Frank Grillo was announced to be cast in the movie (Chris Hemsworth would go on to make his own interpolation of The Raid in 2020 with Netflix's very entertaining Extraction), and the plot was reported to be set in the not-too-distant future.
In August that same year, Taylor Kitsch was announced in the lead role (it is unclear if he replaced Grillo, or if Grillo was playing a different character), and Hughes stated that the remake would have a lot in common with Black Hawk Down and Zero Dark Thirty.
By October 2015, Kitsch, Hughes and the production company behind the remake had all pulled out, and in 2017, it was confirmed that Joe Carnahan (The Grey, Narc) would direct the remake.
Since then, Carnahan has directed Boss Level and Copshop, both of which star Frank Grillo, but for what it is worth, The Raid is still present on Carnahan's IMDb page, noted as being in pre-production, albeit with no stars currently attached to the project.
Even outside of the film itself, Hollywood hasn't even been sure what to do with all of the talent involved in The Raid.
Iko Uwais has appeared in supporting roles in HUGE blockbusters - The Force Awakens, Mile 22, Snake Eyes - but hasn't had the spotlight opportunity that he so obviously deserves.
Gareth Evans has since directed Netflix horror movie Apostle (which was decent but failed to leave much of an impression), as well as Sky crime drama Gangs of London (memorable for the incredible action scenes, but a bit of dud dramatically).
His next movie, Havoc, is due to arrive in 2022, and the plot sounds a lot like The Raid but with Tom Hardy in the lead role. Plus, if you are actually hungry for more Raid-like action, you could just watch The Raid 2, which manages to be just as jaw-droppingly violent and inventive with its action scenes as the original.
Both The Raid and The Raid 2 are available to rent or buy via Google Play and Rakuten TV right now.
All clips via Sony Pictures