Billy Dee Williams' "Hit!" - A Film In Possible Need Of A Remake

by Sergio
May 16, 2011 1:20 AM
11 Comments
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When I saw the trailer a few days ago for Rob Lurie's "how-does-he-have-the-balls-to-remake-this?" new film remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 masterpiece Straw Dogs, I wondered why it never seems to occur to filmmakers that, if you absolutely just have to do remake of a film, instead of remaking a classic like Straw Dogs, why not concentrate your efforts instead on remaking a film which had an interesting premise but didn't live up to expectations?

Like say, for example, Hit! with Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor.

Never heard of it? No real surprise.The film sort of came and went when it was released by Paramount in 1973, and has never been released on DVD. Director Sidney J. Furie, Williams and Pryor, all riding high and with some clout after the success of 1972's Lady Sings the Blues got together again; but this time without Diana Ross.

The result was this action thriller in which Williams plays a federal agent whose daughter dies from a drug overdose. He determines to track down the suppliers all the way, eventually, to Marseilles, and kill them all. However, the film has a clever twist. Instead of rounding up the expected group of other agents and special-ops professionals to track down and eliminate the dealers, Williams, to avoid being discovered at what he's up to by his superiors, puts together a team of ordinary people like Pryor and an elderly couple whose lives have been destroyed tragically by drugs, and trains them to wipe out the dealers.

Great premise, but however sloppy execution. Hit!, for an action thriller, takes forever to get started, and once it does, has little action or thrills. Though the film does liven up during the last 20 or so minutes of its 135 minutes running time, it's too little, too late. It's a film of missed opportunities which is a real shame since it has a lot of things going for it like Pryor in great form as you can see in the brief clip below.

But the premise has all the ingredients for an exciting, high octane, thrill-a-minute, action thriller, and I think this is a case where a remake is very much warranted with Denzel Washington in the Williams role (Yeah I know there are other actors out there, but the part just screams Denzel to me) and maybe Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy or Wanda Sykes in the Pryor role.

What you guys what do you say? I think I'll start working on a treatment...

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11 Comments

  • paul | June 27, 2011 1:03 AMReply

    I think Denzel and Don Cheadle would be great in the Williams-Pryor characters...They have worked together before ( Devil in a Blue Dress ) and thet have great chemistry...

  • Neziah | May 17, 2011 5:16 AMReply

    Plus, it has Richard Pryor's best performance next to Blue Collar.

  • Neziah | May 17, 2011 5:15 AMReply

    This is one of the best and most underrated action movies ever made, I thought I was one of the only people that saw it, I even wrote a review on it at IMDB.

  • Jug | May 16, 2011 8:55 AMReply

    Damn Sergio, this is actually a great idea! I'm not one for remakes, but damnit, if you're gonna do it go with a great premise. Not just "oh, it was a movie once & the same people will come" Bullshit. Excuse to use new camera tricks. But this could really be a beast.

    Wanda Sykes is a great choice for gender switching, but I think Kevin Hart is on the come up & SOUL PLANE aside, I think he can actually act-his standup is brilliant. Chris Rock-his Broadway show right now not included-is ATROCIOUS & Eddie...I'm not sure. I was gonna say he won't play second fiddle but his role in TOWER HEIST is ensemble, so he could come around.

    For the femme fatale...pick a black actress that ain't working!

    Shiiit throw Betty White in the joint for the old couple. Her & Ed Asner LOL

  • Jay | May 16, 2011 6:49 AMReply

    Ah, Sergio.

    Warms my heart to know of your deep knowledge and support for the exploitation/grindhouse/rare film finds.

    You're like an eclectic cinematic DJ.

    THANK YOU FOR THIS!! I could not remember the name of it to save my life!!

  • elhaq | May 16, 2011 5:20 AMReply

    is the website that sells these films reliable?

  • elhaq | May 16, 2011 5:16 AMReply

    I'm looking for the script online, if you write one i'll work on it.

  • JMac | May 16, 2011 4:25 AMReply

    Love the premise and would definitely go see the updated version if one is ever made. Could be the biggest comedy action flick of the year.

  • Sergio | May 16, 2011 3:09 AMReply

    But there remakes based little known and little seen projects such as Edge of Darkness that Mel Gibson film which was a remake of a British TV mini-series which wasn't broadcast in the U.S. or the upcoming Tinker Tailor Solider Spy remake Universal has picked up which is a remake of a another British series syndicated in the U.S. back in the 70's.

    I could argue that most people under 30 have never even heard let alone seen the original Straw Dogs

  • rollercoaster | May 16, 2011 2:51 AMReply

    No one picks up films like this for remakes because they either: A) Don't know about the movie or B) Wouldn't get any funding for the project.

  • James Madison | May 16, 2011 2:48 AMReply

    I think this is a great idea. I sway more to unknown actors with chops but Denzel and Eddie are good choices.

    I would like to see the Hughes Bros. direct Hit. Looking at their past work, I believe they have the vision to make action/thrillers work.

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