Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content with REASONABLE REMAKES. Written by film-nerd Justin Proper, this column aims to highlight Hollywood’s forgotten gems and spark debate.
You see, we’ve grown tired of Hollywood rehashing ideas we’re old enough to remember. Why remake something the majority of the planet still remembers and loves deeply when there are tons of films that deserve a chance to be as great as modern technology and skill can make them? If you agree, this column is for you.
If you have any suggestions for films or topics you’d like to see covered on REASONABLE REMAKES, please send an email titled “remakes” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last couple articles have featured some pretty well known movies, but now it’s finally time to get to the other reason I started writing this: showcasing B-movie gems that could become amazing. Every so often a movie will come out that is so close to being great, but without the proper budget or good writers it takes a nosedive in to B-movie territory. This isn’t always a bad thing, some of my favorite movies are B-movies (Sharktopus, Feast, Evil Dead). In true B-movie from, this weeks featured film is plagued by lack of money, talent, and writing, but I think with the right stuff we could have Hollywood gold instead of bargain bin plastic.
Trancers starts out in the 2247 where Jack Deth (played by Tim Thomerson) finds out that the man he’s been hunting, Martin Whistler, has traveled back in time to 1985 (the year the movie was released). Whistler has psychic powers that hypnotize people and turn them in to “trancers”, which are pretty much just zombies. So Deth has to travel back to 1985 to stop Whistler from killing off current political figures by making sure they were never born. Deth is given a watch that slows one second down to seem like 10 seconds for the wearer (essentially entering bullet-time) to help him take down Whistler. Along the way Deth meets up with Leena (played by Helen Hunt) because every gritty cop needs to fall in love with a dumb girl. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the good guys win and everyone gets out alive except for Whistler.
Of course, due to it being an 80′s movie the plot is a little more convoluted, but you get the idea. By this point you’re thinking that this movie sounds worse than the new Karate Kid (which I’m convinced is the reason for the Smith divorce) and it should never be remade. Well allow me to help you imagine what could be a fun ride instead of two hours you’ll never get back. First off, we have time travel as a plot device. Who cares about coming back to our time, we’ve got enough action movies set modern time. Let’s spin the clock back to the 1940′s and give this the hard-boiled noir feel it wanted to hard to have. This story is perfect for a noir piece set in the 40′s. You’ve got your grizzled detective trying to track down a man, you’ve got shootouts, you’ve got car chases, it’s like a reel right out of The Maltese Falcon. Instead of Whistler being a psychic, we can say he’s got nanobots throughout his bloodstream and brain and he “infects” other people with them. This works for the trancers, and they get to keep trying to bite people (nanobots have to get in the bloodstream). Another great reason this could be remade is the bullet time. It plays kind of cheesy in the movie, and it isn’t used to often (I’m guessing due no suitable sfx at the time) but now we could see it in all it’s glory. A 40′s mobster shootout with one man who can slow down time is going to have a hard time not being awesome.
There’s really only one person I want directing this, and that man is Robert Rodriguez. He did an amazing job with Sin City and I think that this would suit him very well. His stylized violence and noir skills would make this movie shine and set it apart from whatever other summer blockbusters came out along next to it. Plus, with Rodriguez behind the wheel we could probably get some help from Tarantino, and maybe get a big name cast, which brings us to…
Casting. Considering the original movie is filled with stereotypical characters played by no-name actors (sorry Helen Hunt, but As Good As It Gets was not a fitting tittle) so we have a lot of options here. My pick for Jack Deth (seriously, how could such a bad-ass name come from such a bad movie?) is Mark “confused look on my face” Wahlberg. He can pull off this role great. We’ve seen him do bad (Max Payne) as a cop and we’ve seen him do good (The Departed) and I think Rodriguez would get a great performance out of him. Taking over for Helen Hunt would be Emma Stone. I really think her look lends itself to the 40′s quite well and before you jump down my throat about the age difference that’s how it is in the original. Lastly I’d love to see Keanu Reeves take on the role of Whistler. We’ve seen him be Neo, now lets see him be Agent Smith.
There you have it. Trancers brought in to the 21st century and sent back to the 20th. Fire away in the comment section if you think you could do my job better, the internet was made for arguing (well, that and porn). Check out Trancers at your leisure, its worth a play for hilarious B-movie goodness (watch for the band lip-synching wrong and the boom mics), you can find it on Netflix (even instant!).
Written by: Justin Proper (Follow him on Twitter)