Tony Scott lives in the shadow of his big brother Ridley. The man’s had a very successful career, with more than a few good films on his CV. But nothing quite on the level of, say, “Blade Runner” or “Gladiator”. But in a way, what Tony does do better than Ridley is pure popcorn entertainment. His last film “Unstoppable” was a pretty good example of this.
Which is why a remake of “The Wild Bunch” by him is a good choice. Deadline yesterday announced that Warner Bros is mounting a new version of the 1969 Sam Peckinpah classic Western. And the studio’s man for the job is the younger Scott. Purists might cry foul at yet another needless remake, but I think there is room for reinvention by a filmmaker of today’s sensibilities. If nothing else, Tony is a very stylish filmmaker, and I’d be intrigued to see a Western done using his bag of cinematographic and editing tricks.
The story is basically about a group of aging outlaws who set out to do one last big score on the Texas-Mexican border, before riding off into the sunset of retirement. Of course, things don’t go as planned. What I liked about the original was the group dynamic. Ernest Borgnine, who you might remember as the co-pilot in 80s TV show “Airwolf”, and William Holden were particular standouts. The thing is, will Hollywood have a problem with depicting old cowboys in this youth-obsessed era? If they skew young for the remake’s cast, that would simply ruin what was unique about Peckinpah’s film, which made a poignant point about the old ways fading into obscurity and irrelevance.
With Brian Helgeland (“Payback”) writing, there might be hope for this one to honour the source material. Tony’s regular go-to guy Jerry Weintraub is producing. The director’s slate is currently packed, with biker drama “Hell’s Angels” coming up first, so this is still quite some time from seeing light of day. More updates as Electroshadow gets them…