When I saw the trailer a few days ago for Rob Lurie’s “how-does-he-have-the-balls-to-remake-this?” new film remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 masterpiece Straw Dogs, I wondered why it never seems to occur to filmmakers that, if you absolutely just have to do remake of a film, instead of remaking a classic like Straw Dogs, why not concentrate your efforts instead on remaking a film which had an interesting premise but didn’t live up to expectations?
Like say, for example, Hit! with Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor.
Never heard of it? No real surprise.The film sort of came and went when it was released by Paramount in 1973, and has never been released on DVD. Director Sidney J. Furie, Williams and Pryor, all riding high and with some clout after the success of 1972’s Lady Sings the Blues got together again; but this time without Diana Ross.
The result was this action thriller in which Williams plays a federal agent whose daughter dies from a drug overdose. He determines to track down the suppliers all the way, eventually, to Marseilles, and kill them all. However, the film has a clever twist. Instead of rounding up the expected group of other agents and special-ops professionals to track down and eliminate the dealers, Williams, to avoid being discovered at what he’s up to by his superiors, puts together a team of ordinary people like Pryor and an elderly couple whose lives have been destroyed tragically by drugs, and trains them to wipe out the dealers.
Great premise, but however sloppy execution. Hit!, for an action thriller, takes forever to get started, and once it does, has little action or thrills. Though the film does liven up during the last 20 or so minutes of its 135 minutes running time, it’s too little, too late. It’s a film of missed opportunities which is a real shame since it has a lot of things going for it like Pryor in great form as you can see in the brief clip below.
But the premise has all the ingredients for an exciting, high octane, thrill-a-minute, action thriller, and I think this is a case where a remake is very much warranted with Denzel Washington in the Williams role (Yeah I know there are other actors out there, but the part just screams Denzel to me) and maybe Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy or Wanda Sykes in the Pryor role.
What you guys what do you say? I think I’ll start working on a treatment…