Shane Black has become Hollywood’s go-to guy for bringing relevance to the extremely irrelevant. When did anyone talk about Doc Savage before Black got his hands on it? The same goes for Predator. That ingeniously designed Stan Winston beastie had been reduced to TV movie-like blandness after four sequels that no one cared about even a little. Yet now that Black has his sights on the Predator, we’re all, oooooooohh, this has potential!
Does Black have the time to rejuvenate all the franchises your dad (or grandpa) is so very fond of? Who cares! Let’s just throw another one on the pile and see what happens. That’s the strategy Sony has apparently taken, as they’ve commissioned The Destroyer from adapting writers Jim Uhls and James Mullaney (one of the many authors of the “Destroyer” book series). Now, according to Deadline, they’re handing that script to Black and instructing him to run with it.
For those who don’t know what “The Destroyer” is (I’ll venture a guess and say that’s everyone), here’s a quick recap:
“The Destroyer” is a series of adventure books about Remo Williams, an ordinary beat cop convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to death (and yes, this sounds so very rote, but keep reading because it’s about to get incredible). Williams is executed — at least, as far as anyone in the public eye knows. Really, his death was a sham, a front for the government to take in this random officer and train him in Sinanju, the secret and deadly ninja art that authors Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir made up off the top of their heads.
Having become the ninja spy he was born to be, Williams then sets about murdering all those threats that the general public must never know about. Threats like:
- Shape-shifting robots
- Hindu gods
- Chinese vampires
- Everything else you can think of that’s both profoundly stupid and profoundly awesome
Seriously, everything else. Because there have been more than 150 Remo Williams books, released as recently as 2012 (the series began in 1971). And though “The Destroyer” already had one film — the 1985 Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins — it needs an adaptation that captures the series’ true sense of batshit crazy.
That 1985 flick had Fred Ward fake murdered, and it had him trained in a ridiculous sounding phony ninjutsu, but the government only tasked him with murdering other corrupt government officials. Which is a colossal waste, because were-tigers. Come on, people. If were-tigers are an official part of the source material, put them in the movie adaptation. There’s no excuse not to do this.
Black is a filmmaker who knows how to have fun. Hopefully, he also understands the crucial importance of were-tigers in our modern cinema culture. It seems likely. He’s known for having fun with a gigantic action film, so he’s probably got grand designs for The Destroyer that include all the craziest crap he could find after sifting through more than 150 of the goofiest adventure novels known to man. Now we sit and we wait to see whether Doc Savage, Predator or The Destroyer is the first one to take Black’s full attention. And also for were-tigers.