Fred Ward, Action Hero

remo

Don’t let the bad guys get away with it, because Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins is the Greatest Movie EVER!

Click on the movie poster or the title above to download our review of the film, featuring Sean ‘Hollywood’ Hunting.

Review in a Nutshell: Based off of a long-running series of ‘men’s adventure’ novels, Remo Williams tries to emulate the James Bond films and to find a happy middle ground between action-movie seriousness and tongue-in-cheek camp. It does not ultimately succeed, but the film inspires some interesting conversation.

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7 Responses

  1. Great Merciful Goddess, Paul! Tammy and I saw this movie – it was the first time we’d seen a film adaptation of the work of somebody were knew personally. (Warren Murphy and his then-wife Molly Cochran were active in the New York City mystery community about the same time we were, and we all got friendly because we had several writer/editor friends in common.) We didn’t expect the movie to be great – but we sure didn’t expect it to be the complete failure on every creative level it turned out to be! Incomprehensible “martial arts” performed by a star who moved like a barroom brawler, “superhuman” powers shown by some of the most obvious special effects trickery since the Forties SUPERMAN serial (the one that used cartoons to show Superman flying?) – oh, and the Korean Chiun played by that great Asian actor Joel Grey in blatantly obvious Yellowface!

  2. I kind of like some of the low-rent special effects trickery, but yeah, we discuss everything you mention on the podcast, Tim.

  3. I’d have liked it better if it had worked, Paul – it’s certainly possible to use low-tech effects work and make it either look believable or at least adroit in how it’s covering things up.

  4. The destroyer novels being deadly serious? Nope, actually some of the silliest books ever written, in a good way.

  5. Also, it did indeed get a sequel. It was a Tv series pilot with different actors but it was a straight up sequel. Dont think it was ever aired but it can be found online.

  6. Bo’s right – with a caveat. The first two books in the series, CREATED, THE DESTROYER (Remo’s origin story, his training with Chiun, and Con McCleary’s brutal murder which motivates Remo from reluctant to wholehearted assassin), and THE DESTROYER: DEATH CHECK (Remo on his own infiltrates a high-tech think tank/gated community, discovers ex-Nazis into S-M have subverted the leading scientists so they can build a “Fourth Reich” on the smoking ruins of Israel) fit Paul’s and Sean’s “goofy but deadly serious” assessment. They are also the two books in the series Richard Sapir and Warren B. Murphy actively collaborated on.

    With the third book, THE DESTROYER: CHINESE PUZZLE, Warren took over as “showrunner” for the series – and the tone changes sharply towards humor, and Chiun goes from a rarely seen menacing figure (the one man who can kill the trained to be unkillable Remo Williams) to Remo’s adorably goofy but deadly sensei, partner and surrogate father. As Warren used to say rather often, after the first two books he and Sapir decided they didn’t like working as a team, and Sapir was more interested in trying to write bestselling thrillers anyway (he wrote five novels under the name “Richard Ben Sapir” before his death in 1987). So Warren got to run The Destroyer series for the next fifty books, and Sapir would get credit as co-creator – then, if Sapir wanted to take over, he could. He didn’t, and Warren has run the series for all but the first two books….

  7. PS: Bo – the REMO WILLIAMS television series pilot did air, once. Tammy and I caught it – it was, if possible, even worse than the movie! Roddy McDowell replaced Joel Grey as Chiun – and while I hate having to defend any White actor pretending to be non-White, Grey’s dance training at least let him simulate being a martial artist with some degree of success. McDowell didn’t even have that going for him….

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