Johnnie To’s The Mission and Mad Detective on the Remake Block

I’ve been hearing rumors of Hollywood trying to remake Johnnie To’s 1999 movie “The Mission” for a while now. Nothing has come of it, thank God, but it appears a remake is closer to being realized if “Rush Hour” producer Arthur Sarkissian has his way. The man who brought us Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker making asses of themselves for three glorious movies have snapped up the remake rights to To’s “The Mission” and “Mad Detective” with an eye toward self-financing both pictures.

According to Variety, Sarkissian is also sounding like he’ll be pursuing To to remake his movies for a Hollywood audience. And before anyone screams bloody murder at that idea, take note that To is not above remaking movies, as he’s already gearing up production on a remake of a French crime thriller called “The Red Circle”. But would he really stoop to remaking his own movies? I have a hard time believing that.

For those who have never seen To’s “The Mission” (read our review of it here), the film follows a band of professional bodyguards who are hired to keep a mob boss safe after an aborted assassination attempt. The mob boss’ brother attempts to uncover the culprits, but until then, the professionals must do their job. Things get complicated when one of the bodyguards does the unthinkable and breaks a long-standing code. There was actually a semi-sequel (not in name, but definitely in style and theme, and somewhat in plot) to “The Mission” that came out in 2006 called “Exiled”. You can read our review for it here.

I am a huge fan of “The Mission”, and ranks it as one of my favorite crime films of all time, and definitely one of To’s best, right up there with “PTU” and his Triad “Election” series. “Mad Detective”, on the other hand, I haven’t seen. I’ll get to it one of these days.

The big question is, is it possible to make a good “The Mission” remake? Sure, anything’s possible, but it’s highly unlikely.