Kim Jee-Woon Directing Schwarzenegger’s Box Office Return

Posted by Rob Parungao & filed under Pop Culture.

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Photo courtesy of filmschoolrejects.com

While last week’s release of the trailer for The Last Stand has been heralded as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback to headlining action films, the movie also marks the American debut for Korean director Kim Jee-Woon. The film stars Schwarzenegger as a nearly-retired sheriff of a small town that is under siege by a roving drug cartel shipment.

Despite his high-grossing Western The Good, The Bad and the Weird and the critically acclaimed Doomsday Book and I Saw the Devil, Kim Jee-Woon has been barely noticed in Hollywood until now. Historically, American film-making has been extremely nepotistic, using only homegrown talent and ignoring the rising talent that is emerging outside of North America. If a film reaches a level of success in its home country, rather than bring the movie stateside, Hollywood is more content remaking the film using white actors and directors.

Asian actors in particular have been typecast only to martial arts roles and even the most highly successful stars (Jet Li or Jackie Chan) only get a handful of starring roles this side of the Pacific, and once any of their movies flop, they’re sent back to Asia and branded as box office failures. It seems that oftentimes Asian talent can’t carry their star power over to Western audiences. Hopefully this will change as the international market increasingly becomes the target audience for Hollywood executives as international take is rapidly succeeding domestic, leading to many producers asking the question, “why keep catering to American audiences?” For now however, Asian talent simply operates in their home country.

So it’s interesting, and uplifting, to see that Lions Gate Entertainment has decided to give a talented Korean director, not only a large budget on his American debut, but also handed him an A-list actor to carry the film. Perhaps Hollywood is turning a new leaf? While I won’t be holding my breath, if you’ve seen The Good, The Bad, and The Weird you’ll know that Kim has a great eye for action cinematography, and if the trailer is any indication, it seems The Last Stand will not disappoint.

So what do you think, are you excited for The Last Stand?

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