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5 Reboots We Would Love to See
By Jarrett Kruse
August 13, 2010
5 Reboots We Would Love to See
© Bob Trate
Since Hollywood seems to have run dry of original ideas and continues to churn out remakes or “re-imaginings” of older movies and dormant TV series, we’re taking a stab at 5 properties that could really use the 21st century update. Despite The Karate Kid (2010) (really The King Fu Kid) becoming a major hit and The A-Team (2010) looking more like a straight-to-DVD snoozer, the Hollywood brass are grasping at straws at what to resuscitate next. Either way, break out the defibrillator and charge it to the max and get ready to yell “CLEAR” as we look at 5 older movies primed for a new Hollywood paintjob.
5. Maximum Overdrive (1986)
This 1986 gem adapted from a Stephen King novella starring Emilio Estevez and well no one else of significant note other than Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon from the Burton Batman films). Caught in the tale of a comet for eight days, all of earth’s machines have become self-aware and can communicate with another to take control of all human beings. With a kick-ass soundtrack by AC/DC and the very ironic opening classic song “Who Made Who?” we are left with the thought of the very simple conundrum, “What if the machines we created could communicate with each other and turn against us?” Far from The Terminator realm, this movie has blood and guts (A little leaguer getting mowed down by a steamroller! A coach getting a soda shot at him from a vending machine at 80 mph!). With barely any special effects, a band of rebels led by Estevez (a parolee with a checkered past) in Wilmington, NC stuck at a truck stop; this movie is the perfect flick for a re-do. Since our reliance on machines (smartphones, GPS devices, computers, etc) has increased a hundred-fold since the mid-‘80s, Maximum Overdrive would be a great project for an Eli Roth-type director to bloody it up without overdoing the CGI. And the theme is prescient with all of our beloved electronics as the AC/DC classic asks, “Who Made Who?” Bonus points for the sweet 18-wheeler for a toy company with a giant Green Goblin on the front of the rig!
4. Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)
Remo Williams was supposed to make Fred Ward a star and become a box-office hit. Neither happened. However, a hell of an action movie was left behind and a hopeful franchise that would never be. Ward plays a NYPD beat cop whose death is orchestrated so that he can work for a clandestine organization under the leadership of Wilford Brimley. But before saving the world, Remo must train with Korean Zen-master Chiun (An unrecognizable Joel Grey, the famous dancer and father of Dirty Dancing’s Jennifer “The Schnoz” Grey.) The bad guys are just text book but Ward & Grey play off each other like a funny old father and son. We are treated to some of the best action sequences of the ‘80s especially the Statue of Liberty chase & fight during its famous restoration as it was covered in scaffolding’s for several years while the city gave her a makeover. I think that this could be the perfect vehicle for Firefly’s Nathan Fillion. And casting the role of Chiun as the bullet-dodging master is key. Either way, this movie is good old American action and grit at its best. Stuntmen and very little CGI with the same Rocky-esque patriotic music score make Remo the perfect all-American hero to bring back.
3. My Science Project (1985)
In the summer that gave us Back To The Furture, Weird Science and Real Genius, a small gem of a movie was left in the box office dust. That film was the small, underrated My Science Project. A high school movie mixed up with sci-fi, comedy and a touch of time-travel—all just in time for graduation! Starring former actor and director John Stockwell (Blue Crush), my favorite ‘80s character actor Fisher Stevens and the late Dennis Hopper as their science teacher Bob who is still living in the ‘60s, this movie has something for everyone. Gearhead Harlan (Stockwell) is desperate to graduate and sneaks onto a defense dept. junkyard and steals a machine from space that President Eisenhower disposed of back in the late ‘50s. Determined to show that he can do more than fix cars, Harlan brings the tech to Bob and the machine’s power source turns the high school into a time-warp where the gang encounter everyone from Cleopatra to cavemen to the Via Cong. Add that to a T-rex in the gym, futuristic zombies and Klingon-type warriors and this has everything that the sci-fi comedy for the high school set has lost. Every teen-based movie nowadays has no sense of urgency and the actors just seem to be going through the motions. It would be refreshing to see some non-CW 11 actors along with some seasoned character actors do a project that is not just phoned in while there TV show is on hiatus. And seeing Hopper return after being warped back to the ‘60s in full Easy Rider regalia is just gravy especially with his recent passing. The ‘80s was the truly our golden age of camp classics and little-seen gems. Have this produced by J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon or a Jason Reitman type and you could have a full-on low budget hit.
2. The Wraith (1986)
We remember seeing this movie for the first time as a precocious 10-year-olds. Precocious 10-year-olds looking for naked women on cable when there was only one HBO channel. After seeing the lovely Sherilyn Fenn naked, we were hooked BUT this turned out to be one hell of a movie. When we finally caught the flick from the beginning, we remember thinking that this was one movie that had it all. A mix of sci-fi, horror, thriller & balls-out action—The Wraith has something for everyone. In a small southwestern town where drag races rule and the bad guys are run by the psychotic Packard Walsh (Nick Cassavettes in his acting days), Jamie Henkins (Christopher Bradley) is disposed of in grisly fashion after getting caught with Packard’s girl (Fenn). Soon a strange force creates Jake Kesey (Charlie Sheen) who suddenly appears and works triple-time as a mysterious biker/stranger--the second coming of Jamie Hankins, Fenn’s new love interest and the man who dons a sweet racing costume with one of the most amazing looking cars ever caught on celluloid. Seriously, this is one sweet ride. One by one, Kesey/The Wraith takes down Packard’s gang in violent fashion. The movie is pure enjoyment with some awesome chase scenes and even better death scenes. Top it off with Randy Quaid as Sheriff Loomis and Clint Howard as one of Packard’s goons and this movie is a fanboy’s delight. It was one of those rare late-night flicks that made you think, “How is this not a more popular movie?” The one-sheet poster alone has an awesome logo with The Wraith’s super-car and the seriously bad-ass costume of the spirit who has come back for revenge. (Seriously, the car and Wraith are begging for action figure and die-cast delight). This is a reboot that is tailor-made for a budding action director and does not need an enormous amount of retooling. I was thinking Chris Pine (Star Trek) or a James Marsden type in the lead and maybe a Lyndsay Fonseca (Kick-Ass) in the Sherilyn Fenn role. However it goes down, The Wraith needs a resurrection.
1. Blue Thunder (1983)
Roy Scheider, may he rest in peace was a bad-ass actor. For those who only know him from the JAWS franchise should really check out his work in The Seven-Ups, Marathon Man & 52 Pick-Up. Director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, Wargames, Stakeout) is behind the lens on this underrated early ‘80s actioner and is at the top of his game. Scheider plays veteran LAPD chopper pilot Frank Murphy, ex-Vietnam vet who is selected to fly the government’s newest and most technologically advanced helicopter. However, heading up the project is an old nemesis from ‘Nam played by whom else but the perennial bad guy Malcolm McDowell. Along for the ride is a very young Daniel Stern as Murphy’s partner Officer Lymangood. What looks to be a project designed for crowd control at the upcoming ’84 Los Angeles Olympics turns out to be far more sinister government plot. In the hands of another director, this could have been just any old cops & robbers flick, but Badham & Scheider make it work with great acting, direction and Blue Thunder as the coolest looking chopper ever seen on screen. I am sure some will say AIRWOLF kicked ass or any Army Black Hawk is cooler but Blue Thunder is the Robocop of the air! A great movie and with some ahead of its time aerial camerawork, Blue Thunder is a go-to movie for some old school non-CGI action. A 21st century reworking of the chopper would be amazing to see but it has to have the same blue-collar resonance of the original—a helicopter like no one has ever seen before and a gutsy veteran cop. We can see a Tony Scott or Rob Cohen having a field day with this reboot. And the one-sheet poster is probably one of the coolest and ominous in memory as anyone who has ever spent time in LA can attest; there is always an eye in the sky. However, this one can do a 360-degree loop and has enough firepower to take out Mann’s Chinese Theater! Time to engage the target and reboot.