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Famed Manga 'Lone Wolf And Cub' Getting The Hollywood Treatment From 'Fast Five' Helmer Justin Lin

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by Kevin Jagernauth
March 27, 2012 5:44 PM
3 Comments
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Justin Lin Lone Wolf And Cub

Manga is all the rage in Hollywood at the moment. While "Akira" is on hold for the moment, fans were concerned when Warner Bros. announced that they were bringing "Bleach" to the big screen. And opinions are still split on Spike Lee's redo of "Oldboy," which is now aiming to shoot this fall. Well, we're sure this next project won't be scrutinized any less.

While Darren Aronofsky was loosely attached years ago and was eager to make it happen, Deadline reports that "Fast Five" director Justin Lin will take the helm of a Hollywood adaptation of Kazuo Koike's 1970s Japanese manga "Lone Wolf And Cub." The beloved and popular series tells the story of Ogami Itto, an elite Shogun’s executioner, who is falsely accused of a crime by a rival gang who murders his wife. With his three-year-old son in tow, he is forced to wander as an assassin for hire, while seeking revenge.

And though fans might be worried, take heart, as the screenwriting talent is top shelf. David Peoples ("Blade Runner," "Unforgiven") is teaming with his wife Janet (they co-wrote "Twelve Monkeys") to pen the script, and they know their way or two around dark or difficult material. That said, Lin directs with all the subtlety of an LMFAO song so it'll be interesting to see how this shakes out.

And it should be noted, this has already been adapted several times over. In the '70s there were six films based on the material with Tomisaburo Wakayama in the lead role, with the films often slavishly recreating panels from the manga (in 1980 they were condensed into a single American version called "Shogun Assassin"). Several TV movies and pilots followed, and in 1992 a new movie was made titled "Lone Wolf and Cub: Final Conflict."

But what will they do this time around? Change the setting to Manhattan? Maybe instead of a shogun, the lead can be a bitter ex-cop? Franchise? We'll see, but so far...we can't say the choices here are terrible. The screenwriters are strong and Lin is likely looking to prove himself as more than just the director of beefy car movies. So, we'll be cautious in our optimism for now.

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3 Comments

  • bp | March 27, 2012 9:37 PMReply

    As a devoted fan of the manga and the film series, I am crestfallen at this news. Lin is a hack.

  • Tim | March 27, 2012 7:10 PMReply

    Even with the Peoples involved, I hope it doesn't get made. The only way to get it done right is with a Japanese cast and crew and filming in Japan. Relocating it to the US would mean that some vital elements from the manga would inevitably get lost in the translation. It was my understanding that the rights situation was quite complicated (didn't Paramount and Darren Arofnosky try to buy a few years back and failed?), so I'm surprised this has been resolved. All things considered, if there ever was a film I hope gets stuck and remains in development hell, it's this one.

  • Chris | March 27, 2012 6:24 PMReply

    Just curious, Kevin - did you ever see Better Luck Tomorrow? Because the promise Lin showed in that film is what has made most of his career since then so disappointing - to me, at least. I think he made "Fast Five" as good as the material would let him (which is still to say, not especially good) so I think he's got chops, but to this point he seems to have been stuck with lackluster projects. Joe Carnahan is similar in that way.

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