by Chris MaGee
Looks like the mad march to adapt Hollywood properties into Japanese money-makers is continuing. We've already had the Japanese-language versions of Alexander Payne's Oscar-nominated "Sideways", and we'll soon get a Japanese version of Leo McCarey's 1957 romantic classic "An Affair to Remember", but now we get a piece of remake news that's even more puzzling. Kenji Sakaguchi (above) is set to star in a loose adaptation of the 1980's action hit "Die Hard". Yes you heard that right.
To be fair this isn't a feature film adaptation. Instead "Die Hard: The Japanese Version" (Yes, that's the tentative title) will be airing on Fuji TV in May and will have 34-year-old Sakaguchi, who has previously starred in "Smile" and "Memories of Tomorrow", as a "a new muscular [police] detective" who must save Tokyo from a mad bomber terrorist who is holding the city for ransom. Pay up in 24-hours or BOOM! Sakaguchi will be joined by actress Akiko Yada who will break the "Die Hard" mold a bit by playing his sidekick, a female cop who is just getting over a recent divorce. Guess they didn't want an African-American like Reginald VelJohnson on the other end of the walkie-talkie.
You all know my feelings on remakes, so I just don't know why Fuji TV is bothering with this, especially given that the original film's classic line, "Yippee ki yay, motherfucker," A) can't really be translated into Japanese, and B) would never make it past the TV censors. Also, how would the producers and writers get to squeeze in the 80's U.S. paranoia about the Japanese economic juggernaut that John McTiernan's original film just dripped with. No Nakatomi Plaza in Tokyo...
Anyway, have your say in the comments to give your opinion on this remake. Thanks to Japan Today for the details on this.