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The Raid remake is no longer a remake

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We first heard of plans for an American version of The Raid shortly after Gareth Evans’ original released in 2011, resulting in much face-palming and silently mouthing “But why?”. The Indonesian action film which launched the global careers of stars Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim is a masterpiece of bone-breaking violence and inventive filmmaking, and is undoubtedly one of the greatest martial arts action movies ever. How did anybody think they could match up to that?

But they did as Patrick Hughes, whose only claim to fame thus far is The Expendables 3, was tapped to step into Evans’ shoes. Shoes I didn’t think for a second that he could fill. Luckily things started sounding a bit better when Hughes departed and Joe Carnahan (The Grey, Smokin’ Aces, NARC) was set to direct with frequent collaborator Frank Grillo starring in Taslim’s role. I mean, I still thought remaking The Raid was a terrible idea, but if it had to happen, I could think of worse people to do it. But then things stalled out and we haven’t really seen much in the way of forward momentum.

Chatting to Collider during a Q&A about their new film together, Boss Level, Carnahan and Grillo revealed that they were still working on The Raid remake… except it wasn’t a remake any more. According to the men, they have parted ways with XYZ, the production company that initially released The Raid and which still retained the rights to the film’s title. The work the filmmaker had put in thus far won’t go to waste though, as Grillo explained that “We have the rights to our version. We own the script that we wrote, that we have.” A script, which according to Carnahan, “is way cooler”.

The Raid followed an elite police squad of which rookie Rama (Uwais) is a member. Led by Sergeant Jaka (Taslim), the squad enters and makes their way up to the top of an apartment block to apprehend a local drug lord – Rama is also there for his brother, who is a member of the drug lord’s gang. The drug lord stages a violent ambush though, resulting in the few remaining members of the police squad having to fight their way back down the gang-infested building floor by floor.

The script that Carnahan co-wrote with Adam G. Simon for The Raid remake was slightly different though, meaning that they can now use it for their film, which is titled Zeno after the lead character.

The version that I wrote, they don’t ever intend to actually go in [to the building]. They think that they’re gonna’ move this guy. So their whole operation is, ‘We’re gonna’ hit this guy in transit.’ It’s not until they realize, ‘Oh, they’re digging in, they’re not moving, we’ve got to now go in and get him.’ It’s a very, very different script… It’s really, really, really about the brothers.

According to Carnahan and Grillo, they are in talks right now with a “big name” for the lead role of Zeno, while “another name that we love” is already signed on as the film’s villain. As for timelines, Carnahan and Grillo will next make Leo From Toledo with Mel Gibson, with Zeno then being eyed as their project after that.

Last Updated: February 14, 2020

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