It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to news of remakes and reboots because most film-goers would prefer to see original material hitting the screen. And yes, most reboots are unecessary cash-grabs that ultimately pale beside the original. But sometimes you need to pause, take a breath and take a look at the details.
Variety is reporting that Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are developing a reboot of Van Helsing with Tom Cruise attached in the title role. (Cruise has actually been circling the project since 2010 when Guillermo del Toro was toying with the character.) It’s part of the duo’s new two-year deal with Universal where they’ll also be overseeing a reboot of The Mummy. Note the common thread of director Stephen Sommers’ past films which means a reboot of Deep Rising can’t be far behind.
So the bad news is that they’re remaking an absolutely terrible movie that’s only eight years old.
And the good news? They now have the chance to get it right.
Sommers’ Van Helsing is a travesty of poor direction and non-stop, poorly rendered CGI action, but its core story is loaded with potential…a hardened monster-hunter driven by a pained past spends his life tracking and destroying legendary creatures of the night.
Maybe it’s just me, but as a fan of action, horror and all manner of monsters that’s a cool concept. Kurtzman and Orci have a spotty track record as the writers behind Transformers, The Island, Star Trek, Cowboys & Aliens and more, but even when their dialogue wanes in quality they can always be counted on to create solidly entertaining action set-pieces and spectacle.
Now add Cruise into the mix as producer and star, and you have a talent who always brings his A-game and won’t settle for anything less from the rest of the crew. Say what you will about Cruise the actor, but Cruise the producer deserves respect for bringing the necessary budget to his projects and running a professional production. He turns 50 years old this year, but if last year’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is any indication he’s more than capable of leading an action-oriented film. He’s also willing to put himself out there for a role and a film… think of him hanging outside the Burj Khalifa thousands of feet in the air or strutting around as a long-haired rock star in the upcoming Rock of Ages. His personal life make it easy for some people to dislike and knock the guy, but it’s the movies that matter. And Cruise’s resume (much like Mel Gibson’s) is filled with fantastic cinema.
Of course he also made Knight & Day, so who the hell knows.