I like Taylor Kitsch. I never watched FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, and he had a rough start in movies with the dual failures of BATTLESHIP and JOHN CARTER (neither of which he was particularly good in anyway), but he's done good work in SAVAGES, LONE SURVIVOR, got some strong notices for his work on HBO's THE NORMAL HEART, and is rumored to be up for one of the leads of S2 of TRUE DETECTIVE. He's an engaging, handsome guy who Hollywood seems to have pegged as a leading-man type for some reason.
And now, Patrick Hughes and Screen Gems are expecting the lad to fill the shoes of freaking Iko Uwais as the lead of the RAID: REDEMPTION remake.
They plan on shooting in January 2015, for a probable release date in late 2015 or early-to-mid 2016.
Now, it's obvious that this RAID will not be as martial arts-heavy as the original, given that they've been looking at movie stars (like the rumored-at-one-point team of Chris and Liam Hemsworth), rather than fighters, since day one. So RAID: DIE AMERIKANER will probably be more based on gunfights and rough-and-tumble fisticuffs than anything resembling the gorgeous Pencak Silat of Gareth Evans' entries. So Kitch's fighting skills shouldn't really be called into question, as this remake strikes me way more like LONE SURVIVOR than Evans' two masterworks. Kitsch will, more than likely, just have to look tough and command his fellow officers with conviction, and that's safely nestled within his comfort zone.
But making him the leading man of a no-doubt toned down American remake of THE RAID: REDEMPTION does absolutely nothing to bolster my hopes for this project.
The word on EXPENDABLES 3 (from the thieving scourge of the internet who've already seen it) has been iffy, but Hughes' eye for action hasn't been criticized as heavily as other aspects of the film (awkward callbacks, bizarre structure). Despite their flaws (whatever they may be), THE RAID movies are somewhat perfect for what they are; we can't expect Hughes and Kitsch to deliver anything better than either of them, but hopefully, there will be enough stunts, tension, and "Oh FUCK!" action beats to make THE RAID GOES AMERICAN! worth our 90 minutes.