Amazon has released the first official trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Los Angeles-based crime thriller series, Too Old to Die Young. The series is set to premiere in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video later this June.
For the fans of shlock and crappy horror movies all around, there is no bigger name in the biz than Bruce Campbell. To them the man is a veritable living god, but even hardcore Bruce Campbell fans would have a hard time placing Maniac Cop as one of his better films in his oeuvre. But in it’s own right, Maniac Cop, and it’s two sequels, are all very successful at what they set out to be. All of them are fun, sometimes gory, always entertaining films about a cop, who is also a maniac. Or a zombie. Or half-dead braindead guy who was revived and somehow gained super strength from that. I have a hard time remembering, because I’ve never watched the film sober.
Anyhow, the movie is one of those films that is undeniably cheesy, yet so memorable and enduring, that it manages to retain an audience years after its release. Which leads us to the headline news itself. While initially I thought Nicolas Winding Refn was remaking it, it turns out to be he’s producing a tentative prequel. Which I find a puzzling choice, since we had the identity and origin of the Maniac Cop explained in the original. Now nothing is definitely confirmed, nor is his actual status as director locked in yet, but the likelihood of him deciding to helm it as director is not out of line. Truth be told, I’m hoping he comes around to the idea of just remaking it, since it’s one of the few films I can name off the top of my head, that would really suit to being remade. (The other is Logans Run. Holy crap that would be awesome.)
Nicolas Winding Refn is certainly a very talented director, who since his Pusher trilogy, seems to be finding a niche by very successfully imitating other famous director’s stylistic storytelling, cinematography, and aesthetic design. Valhalla Rising was a modern Ingmar Bergman film to its core, Bronson was a Kubrickian attempt at a bio-pic, and last year’s Drive was a breakout Michael Mann-esque, 80’s action movie through an urban noir filter. If there was anybody who could take a source material as cheesy and borderline laughable as Maniac Cop, and make it GOLD, it’d be Refn. He’s one of the few people to make Los Angeles look new again as he did in Drive, and I’d be very interested to see his take on giving new life to the streets of New York. Factor in the fact that he could pull off the whole mystery subplot of the original Maniac Cop much more competently, and in Drive and Valhalla Rising he effectively pulled off visceral scenes of gore, he’d be pretty much the perfect guy to remake it, and have it actually be really good.
Even if it does turn out to still be a prequel, it’ll at least be interesting to tackle the same ideas the original came from, and have it expand the depth of the franchise, even if it’ll be wildly different in quality from the other three. In a good way, I mean.
Nicolas Winding Refn – the Danish director responsible for the Pusher Trilogy, Bronson, Valhalla Rising and the recent crime thriller Drive – is set to remake the 1976 SF film Logan’s Run. It will star Ryan Gosling – who was also the star of Drive – as the titular Logan.
For those of you who haven’t seen the orignal film: it is set in a future city where everyone lives a life of pleasure, untill they reach the age of 30 when they are terminated. Logan is a member of the enforcers of this law, but ends up rebelling against the system.
The original film won an Oscar for its visual effects – they look quite dated now though. Winding Refn is hoping to use less CGI and rely more on sets and designs.
The film is to be scored by (the ridiculously monikered) Johnny Jewel. He was a collaborator on the Drive soundtrack. He, apparently, didn’t take much persuading, he was already a fan of the orignal – at his 30th birthday party he had a replica blinking gem in his hand, like in the film.
[pullquote_left]“My hands are a little dirty.”
“So are mine.” [/pullquote_left] That’s all it took for me. When the trailer came out and I heard that exchange between Albert Brooks and Baby Goose, I knew I needed to see this movie. And now, having seen it, I can tell you that the sheer magnitude of said exchange proves to set up the entire movie from there out, with neither participant fully grasping the effect they will have on one and other.
Brooks plays an L.A. gangster that agrees to invest in a race car, and subsequently a driver. This connection is facilitated by Shannon (Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston) who knows Brook’s character from way back, and who employs Baby Goose at his garage. They plan to make a mint letting Baby Goose race.
On the home front Carey Mulligan plays the girl next door, who quite obviously becomes the catalyst that triggers all the trouble for our beloved driver. Brooks’ partner is played by Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy) and the cast is rounded out by Christina Hendricks (This week’s Grizzly Girl) and Oscar Isaac. So the cast as a whole is great, but they are merely more than players in the much bigger story. It’s almost as if the story is moving on its own and the characters are just along for a ride. That’s how well this movie flowed.
Vince Mancini over at Film Drunk said: “Drive is Dialog-Free True Romance“. I can see where he would get that, as both Drive and True Romance are unconventional love stories with a crime element, and it even kind of felt like a Tarantino movie, just shot more beautifully and with almost none of the dialogue that QT thrives on. But for me, I think I’d say that’s only half right, and its more like a mix between True Romance and Punch Drunk Love. Never thought I’d say that…
Gosling pulls off the role perfectly, and the pacing, music, and cinematography all lend to an aesthetic that delivers a unique movie going experience. Not at all like the action movie some of the trailers made it out to look like, Drive is so much more than that.
In the end we are met with more ambiguity then I’d like, but overall I loved this movie. It’s one of those where you walk out of the theater with music that you’ve never even heard prior still resonating in your head. It’s a movie that can stick with you, unlike so many new films which are forgotten by the time you reach your car, this is one that will ensure conversation on the drive home.
4.5 / 5.0 Bears
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This is the Hero Express for September 8, 2011: