?Hi. You may not know me. My name is Rob Bricken, and I’m — you know what, you probably haven’t heard of the site, so let’s just say I’m a professional nerd. I heard that you just hired Fast Five director Justin Lin to make a live-action Lone Wolf and Cub movie, based on the classic manga about a samurai wandering with his young sun and his incredibly deadly baby cart. Since we all know you’re not going to hire a Japanese man as the lead, I have a small request:
Please don’t set it in Japan, either.
Look, I know you’re already thingking of hiring Jason Statham to be the “first white samurai” in Japan or some shit, but stop it. It won’t work. American audiences are dumb, but they’re not so dumb that we can pretend a white guy is an authentic samurai (that shit may have worked in the ’80s, but not any more). And you won’t get any love from Japanese audiences either, which should be your second biggest target market.
Just make it a straight up “inspired by.” Turn it into a Western — that worked fine for Seven Samurai and Magnificent Seven. Make it a modern film, about a deadly assassin who has to bring his baby to work. Hell, you can make it a sci-fi — Dark Horse actually did a Lone Wolf and Cub 2100, and I don’t know if it was any good, but the premise could still work for a movie.
By taking it out of feudal Japan, you all yourselves a wide variety of options for settings, style, and actors. And you can add Will Smith to the possible leads, which I’m sure you don’t mind. Seriously, just stick an “inspired by” in there somewhere, and everything will be cool. The fans will be satiated. The Japanese will not be insulted. And most modern audiences would rather see a Western, assassin action flick, or a sci-fi movie waaaay before a samurai flick anyways.
Nobody wins if you make a straight-up adaptation. So please, consider other settings, other times, and other styles. Or I will drive Daigoro’s baby cart right up your asses.