Monday, January 22, 2007

Overlooked Movies: Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins

"I think it's better for the picture to have as much of me as it can. But I also cherish getting down and doing some acting." ~Fred Ward on acting

An NYPD cop (Fred Ward) is "killed" in an accident. The death is faked, and he is inducted into the organization CURE, dedicated to preserving the constitution by working outside of it. Remo is to become the enforcement wing "assassin" of CURE, and learns an ancient Korean martial art from Chiun (Joel Grey), the Master of Sinanju. Based on the popular pulp series "The Destroyer," by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy.

Click here to watch a scene from the movie:

It's going to take a dead man to save the country...from a death merchant's dream of destruction!
A hero who doesn't exist must save America from an enemy we never knew we had.
Look Out! He's Unarmed and Dangerous!
A most reluctant hero takes you on an action-adventure armed only with his fists and wits...and with his tongue planted in his cheek.

Fun Trivia:
Based upon characters from an extensive series of spy/fantasy novels called "The Destroyer". Some of the actors who auditioned for the part of Remo Williams claimed to be proficient in the martial art of Sinanju, not realizing it was a fiction derived from the Destroyer novels on which the movie was based.

Joel Grey was offered the role of Chiun several times before accepting it, but kept turning it down because he didn't think he was the right kind of actor for the part. Moreover, Grey had no previous martial-arts experience (and received no such training for the movie once he was cast). What changed Grey's mind was a meeting with Carl Fullerton, the film's make-up artist. Grey said that if he could successfully be made to look like an 80-year-old Korean, he would take the job. Fullerton gave the task his best shot and afterward, a private screen test was held between himself and Grey. With Chiun now cast, Fullerton went on to receive an Oscar nomination for his work.

Although the Statue of Liberty was undergoing renovation in preparation for its centennial when the film was made, the filmmakers shot on and around the actual statue and its scaffolding as well as on a full-sized replica (from just below Liberty's book to the top of her torch) which was constructed in Mexico City. Because of weather and scheduling, the sequence required additional photography during the summer following the original mid-December (New York) and late-February (Mexico) shoots. Two different locations photographed during three separate time periods illustrates the value of storyboards and thorough pre-visualization.

A TV pilot was made and aired, but never went to series. The "well-known" Jeffrey Meek was cast as Remo Williams and Roddy McDowall as Chiun. Would have been worth seeing just for Roddy McDowell I'd think.

Fun Quotes:
Chiun: "He move like a baboon... ...with two club feet!"

Cop: "Now, I am going to kick your skinny white ass all up and down this street if you don't stop kung fuing that man's throat! Now move it!"

Chiun: Watches are a confidence trick invented by the Swiss.

Fleming: "Excuse me, but I do have a name."
Chiun: "Women should stay home and make babies. Preferably man child."

Remo: "You know, Chiun, there are times when I really like you."
Chiun: "Of course! I am Chiun!"
Remo: "And there are times when I could really kill you."
Chiun: "Good! We will practice that after dinner."

Remo: Chiun, you're amazing!
Chiun: No! I am better than that.


COOP said...

Like Mr. interior once sang, "You got good Taste!"

One of my childhood cable tv favorites!

PIPER said...

Remo Williams.

You move like a pregnant Yak!

Love the movie. Good action.

Not sure why this works but it does.

Great call.

Scurvy said...

Verily I enjoyed this film.

"In Korea, door handles don't break!"
best line ever!

Becca said...

Ah HBO in the 80's was great! The Goonies, Big Trouble in Little China, Buckaroo Bonzai and Remo Williams over and over again!

Your right it shouldn't work but Fred Ward and Joel Grey just make it work!

Also Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon were all assassinated by little Korean men.

Dr. Zaius said...

Our tastes differ in this case. I love campy movies, but I have seen "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins," and as far as Overlooked Movies go, this one should remain overlooked in my opinion.

Becca said...

BOO! Okay, there will be no more outbursts. I guess we have to agree to disagree on this one.

MC said...

I too, am a fan of Remo Williams. :)

J.P. said...

I read some of the Destroyer novels as a kid and remember looking forward to the film. The theme music got stuck in my head for days and still sometimes returns, without rhyme or reason considering I haven't seen this movie in at least 20 years.

Soullifter said...

I am just discovering your blog, enjoy it, and darned if you don't like Remo Williams! I wore out a VHS copy taped from TV years ago, then a commercial VHS, and now moved on to DVD. It's a fun movie.

Unknown said...

When I get back, this is definately going on the rent list.

Been a long time. (Pun.)

Becca said...

It's worth the rent!

I hope you get home soon!!!!

Anonymous said...

Got good discounts on classic movies at Blockbuster store....!

Wendel said...

I always got the impression that this was to be a series of films. It was definitely set up that way.
Sorry that they only made the one.