American Remakes Are Insulting

American Remakes Are Insulting

Picture by Brandon Kim

The world of foreign film can feel intimidating to many people. Many people simply do not want to put in the effort to be constantly reading during a movie. And admittedly, even I find myself reluctant to watch foreign films if I feel particularly tired or lazy. However, it is undeniable that breaking through the barrier of subtitles opens up a whole new world of cinema and the stories that can be experienced through these movies.

Unfortunately, because of many people’s reluctance to read subtitles, it becomes too easy for American film producers to try and make American remakes of foreign films. These films are much more frequent than many people may initially expect, and these remakes are almost always a stain on the film industry. 

Now, I am not entirely against the idea of American remakes of foreign films. For example, the original 1960 The Magnificent Seven is actually a remake of the 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai and still manages to be a good movie. Magnificent Seven achieves this because it is not trying to recreate its Japanese predecessor. There is a very American spin on the film because of its setting in the wild west, and it adds something to the original story. 

Though, The Magnificent Seven is a rare example of a good American remake. In contrast, many of these remakes end up like Oldboy. Oldboy (2005) is considered one of the greatest Korean films of all time and is not only the perfect introduction to Korean cinema, but foreign film as a whole. But when Spike Lee remade Oldboy in 2013 under the same name, it became almost universally hated. The remake attempted to be a carbon copy of the original film without understanding the nuance and the artistry of the 2005 film. 

These tasteless remakes are truly an insult to the art of cinema. Film is such a beautiful medium that allows creative individuals to convey their artistic vision. And regardless of whether a movie is an interpretation of a book, comic, or remake of an older film, it is always worth something. But these American remakes are simply nothing. 

It is truly disheartening for me to see how often American studios greenlight the production of another remake of a film that does not need to be remade. When I hear that films like I Saw the Devil (2010) and The Guilty (2018) are getting American remakes, I worry about Parasite (2019) or Fallen Angels (1995). American studios will insultingly remake them and abuse their names for easy money. 

These remakes are not movies. They are cash grabs – lazy and crude ways for studios to make money without effort. Cheap American remakes should not be supported in any way and do not deserve to be considered real films.