The decision to remake Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece is a bold and peculiar move.
The new Unforgiven‘s strength derives from its departure from the narrative of old. Aided by the striking vistas of Japan, the change of scenery allows the remake room to breathe its own air. Yet Lee’s reticence to truly break free minimalises the unique qualities his version holds.
The cast suffer too. Watanabe, Sato and Emoto, restricted to mere shadows through a soft script, lack the ferocity and intensity of the Western stars.
Nothing is overtly wrong here; there’s just little sight of anything new.
Lavishly shot and excessively scored, Unforgiven is perfectly passable. When remaking a classic, the necessity for originality is paramount yet it is sorely lacking here, and its minor tweaks only lead this to become a rather pointless affair.
CAST: Ken Watanabe, Kôichi Satô, Akira Emoto, Shiori Kutsuna
DIRECTOR: Sang-il Lee
WRITERS: Sang-il Lee
SYNOPSIS: Moved from the Old West to 1880s Hokkaido, the retired killer Jeigu returns for one last job, alongside his old partner and a young, eccentric Ainu warrior.