I promise you I’m not a complete moron (just a partial one) and the title of the article will make sense in just a second. Indonesia’s The Raid / The Raid: Redemption / Serbuan Maut which hit the big screen in 2011 is considered by many to be a modern-day action classic. It’s an unmatchable hard-hitting, pulsating, flawlessly choreographed and superbly directed action movie ART that will leave you exhausted and paralysed yet thirsting for more by the time the end credits roll around. It’s that awesome!
So, when it was announced a couple of years ago or so that The Raid will be getting an American remake, fans and cinephiles collectively groaned. Why remake something that is still new and pretty much perfect? Why not just watch the original with subtitles (or without. Doesn’t matter as it’s mostly just ass-kicking)? Safe to say, nobody on earth was looking forward to the remake. However, in an interview with ComicBook.com, writer Adam Simon revealed that what was initially supposed to be a remake of The Raid, slowly morphed into its own unique beast, so much so that the title isn’t even The Raid, but Zeno.
The thing [director] Joe Carnahan, [star] Frank Grillo, and I saw eye to eye on from the jump, was that it wasn’t a remake, it was a reimagining. There is no need to redo something that has already been done exceptionally well.
When I started writing and sending pages over to Joe, it turned into something all it’s own. It became its own animal. Through that process, a story emerged. A tale about two brothers and an examination of why we can fight so viciously with the ones we care for most. It kept evolving that way from the first draft until the current draft we have now. Zeno is comparable to The Raid as Die Hard is to Dredd.
Simon then went on to talk a little bit about the protagonist and his trajectory.
Zeno is one of the brothers. He’s an operator and broken at the top of the story. He is a guy who, in many ways, is at the point of hanging it all up. Then, unexpectedly he is forced to go back in on an op. Zeno is in no condition to fight but he has to. He has to dig down deep to rediscover his will to fight. I felt for the character, I am constantly trying to turn over a new leaf, trying to hang up the violence in me, but Tinseltown tough guys seem hell-bent on testing my f-cking patience.
Now this is something I can get behind. Instead of telling the exact same story only in a different language, Zeno looks like it’s going to be a hard-hitting action banger in the same vein as The Raid but with a unique flavour as well as different characters and motivations. Simon said:
It is one hell of a story with a lot of heart. The central theme of brotherhood and family remains intact as we move through the gears and scream around the track at a face-splitting speed. I will say this about The Raid films. If you loved them as I did, you will love Zeno.