Hollywood has been borrowing ideas from world cinema since its early days. One particular corner of the world which is prevalent with Hollywood remakes is Asian cinema. Hollywood hits such as The Departed, Eight Below, and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale are all remakes of critically acclaimed Asian movies.
However, do the remakes ever outdo the originals? In some cases, such as with Martin Scorcese’s The Departed, they arguably do while other Hollywood remakes tend to fall flat when remade for Western audiences. Let’s look at 5 of each.
10 Best: The Departed (8.5)/Infernal Affairs (8.0)
Martin Scorcese’s The Departed, a 2006 remake of Infernal Affairs, was well received by critics and audiences alike, scoring an 8.5/10 from IMDb. The tale about an undercover cop and mole in the police only just scrapes a better score than its Hong Kong counterpart which scored 8.0/10 from the aggregator site.
The Departed was lauded for its performances by Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen as is regarded as one of the best films of 2006.
9 Worst: Pulse (4.8)/Kairo (6.5)
Kairo is an iconic 2001 Japanese horror movie from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa that scored a 6.5/10 on IMDb.
The Hollywood remake, Pulse which released five years later in 2006, starred Veronica Mars’ Kristen Bell and did not fare as well with critics and audiences, scoring a meager 4.8/10.
8 Best: Eight Below (7.3)/Antarctica (7.8)
Eight Below, starring Paul Walker is a 2006 American survival drama film, produced by Disney. The story follows Jerry Shepard (Walker), a guide at an Antarctica research base who leads an expedition to retrieve a troop of huskies from a previous expedition that goes awry. The film is heart-wrenching and stressful at times albeit with the classic Disney happy ending.
The film is a remake based on the Japanese 1983 film Antarctica by Toshirô Ishidô, scored 7.8/10 from IMDb while it’s Hollywood romp featuring Paul Walker and his troop of huskies came close behind it with a rating of 7.3/10.
7 Worst: Possession (5.5)/Addicted (6.5)
Possession is a Hollywood remake starring Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame and Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Lee Pace.
The movie, which is a remake of the South Korean film, Addicted scores an average 5.5/10 while the original scores 6.5.
6 Best: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (8.1)/Hachiko (8.1)
Hachi tugged at everyone’s heartstrings when it was released in 2014. The movie, starring Richard Gere, follows the tale of a college professor who forms a lasting bond with a dog who he finds on a train platform.
The movie was loved by audiences and critics alike, scoring an 8.1/10 which is tied with the original, Hachiko. Both films are endearing, charming, and will tug at those heartstrings.
5 Worst: Oldboy  (5.7)/Oldboy  (8.4)
After being kidnapped and being imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is abruptly released, only to learn that he has only five days to find his captor and exact revenge.
Audiences and critics alike praised the Korean movie by director Chan-wook Park, which is one part of the auteur’s ‘Vengeance Trilogy’. Spike Lee adapted the story for Western audiences in 2013, starring Josh Brolin, but it was not as well met as the original, scoring a lackluster 5.7/10 while Park’s film scored an 8.4/10.
4 Worst: Shall We Dance  (6.1)/Shall We Dance  (7.6)
Shall We Dance is a romantic comedy about a bored overworked Estate Lawyer, played by Richard Gere, who signs up for ballroom lessons with the beautiful Jennifer Lopez. The movie received a healthy 6.1/10 on IMDb but the original, which was released in 1996, received a significantly higher 7.6/10.
The Japanese original was hugely loved by both critics and audiences alike, scoring 91% from critics and 89% from cinemagoers on Rotten Tomatoes.
3 Best: The Lake House (6.8)/ Il Mare (7.6)
After her claim to fame in Speed, Sandra Bullock quickly cemented herself as the 90’s girl next door. The Lake House, which reunited Bullock with her Speed co-star Keanu Reeves, follows the tale of a doctor who starts exchanging love letters with the previous tenant of a strange lakehouse.
The movie is a remake of a South Korean drama named Il Mare, which scored 7.6/10 from IMDb while the remake scored 6.8/10.
2 Worst: My Sassy Girl  (6.3)/My Sassy Girl  (8)
My Sassy Girl is a South Korean romantic comedy-drama, about a young man who encounters a young woman standing too close to the tracks at a metro station in Seoul, who pulls her back. What follows is a series of misadventures that the protagonist is put through as the young woman repeatedly lands the character in trouble.
The remake, starring Elisha Cuthbert and Jesse Bradford was released back in 2008 and scores a 6.3/10. That’s not bad but pales in comparison to the original movie, which pleased a larger percentage of audiences and critics with an 8/10.
1 Best: The Uninvited (6.3)/A Tale Of Two Sisters (7.2)
A Tale of Two Sisters is a brilliant South Korean horror mystery-drama, which tells, as the title says, the tale of two sisters who, upon returning from a mental health facility, start seeing apparitions of their late stepmother.
The movie scored 7.2/10 via IMDb while the remake, The Uninvited, which stars Emily Browning did not perform as well, receiving only 6.3/10.
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