Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Mini Movie Reviews: Originals and Remakes

Today's theme is films that were either remade (often with poor results) or remakes themselves, featuring films from Alfred Hitchcock, Sam Peckinpah, Takashi Miike, John Carpenter, William Friedkin, and Michael Mann.

The Getaway (1972)
In order to get an early release from prison, an experienced bank robber (Steve McQueen) is forced to take part in a new heist along with his wife (Ali MacGraw). After it goes wrong, the couple make a dangerous escape to Mexico with the money. Director Sam Peckinpah clearly wanted this film to be a lot more bloody and a lot more Peckinpah, but McQueen wanted something more flattering and commercial and his star power ultimately won out. The leads may have hit it off behind the scenes, but on screen they have about as much spark as a wet sponge. Still miles better than the Baldwin/Basinger remake, though.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
James Stewart and Doris Day are a married couple on vacation with their young son in Morocco when they suddenly find themselves tangled up in an assassination plot. Hitchcock remakes his own 1934 film with a bigger budget and bigger stars, but forgets to include a lot of what actually made the original film work. It may have been made by an armature (the director's own words), but it had a brisk pace, more fun characters, a truly slimy villain in Peter Lorre, and the kid in it wasn't so annoying you wouldn't blame the parents if they decided to go home and let the kidnappers keep them.

Rating: ⭐⭐
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
On the day it is due to be closed down, the skeleton crew of an aging Los Angeles police precinct find themselves under siege from a vengeful street gang. Unlike the 2005 remake, Carpenter's original is a lean and focused film that has the good sense to avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary backstories and give the audience just enough details to understand who these characters are. It also understands that the antagonists are far more terrifying as a unknowable force that is almost supernatural in how relentless they are.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Manhunter (1986)
When a serial killer known only as the Tooth Fairy begins murdering families, traumatised investigator Will Graham is brought out of retirement to help catch him. The first (and best) film adaptation of Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter novels, but instead of the gothic camp of the later films (including the 2002 version) we are treated to Mann's trademark slick professionalism. He was still very much in his Miami Vice era here so this is unashamedly a film of its time, but that has just become one of its best features. It has a style and aesthetic that many of today's bland looking thrillers would die for.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sorcerer (1977)
With all the sweat, rain, blood and nitroglycerine, this was one wet movie. Four strangers hiding out in South America (Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, and Amidou) are hired to transport a supply of unstable nitroglycerine across the jungle. The French Connection and The Exorcist made William Friedkin one of the shinning stars of 70s Hollywood, but then he made this remake of The Wages of Fear. It was meant to be something quick and cheap before he got started on his next big film, but costs spiralled and the film was a massive critical and commercial failure on release, coming out in the summer of 1977 when Star Wars fever was rampant. But time has been kind to it and Sorcerer is now rightly regarded as one of his finest films. That said, I do think it might've been better to cut out the various prologues for the four main characters, leaving their origins ambiguous and resulting in a much tighter movie.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
13 Assassins (2010)
Takashi Miike remakes Eiichi Kudo's 1963 film of the same name. When the Shogun decides to add his sadistic half-brother to his council, one minister tasks a skilled samurai with gathering together a team of warriors to undertake a dangerous mission to assassinate him. We barely get to know the 13, apart from the leader, his nephew, and some weird guy they meet after getting lost in the woods who may be a immortal forest spirit, and it drags in the middle, but that final 45 minute battle sure is glorious.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig


  1. I watched Sorcerer for the first time a couple of years ago. Fantastic movie. I wonder if the title contributed to confusion over what the film was about.

  2. Manhunter rules!! Thanks for giving it respect


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.