Book of Eli director Allen Hughes has been hired to direct a remake of A Bittersweet Life, the 2005 Korean thriller. Fox and New Regency are fast tracking this one, and Anthony Peckham (Invictus, Sherlock Holmes) is being brought on to fix the script.
The original film followed a hotel manager named Sunwoo, who doubled as the right hand man of a mob boss names Kang. When Kang turns on Sunwoo, he is forced to fight for his life alone. Here’s an official synopsis:
Sunwoo is no ordinary hotel manager. Decisive and efficient, he’s also the right hand man of underworld boss Kang. But tough guy Kang has a weakness; his young girlfriend Heesoo. Suspecting she’s unfaithful, Kang orders Sunwoo to take care of the problem. When Sunwoo discovers Heesoo with another man, he is unable to kill them without a reasonable explanation. Sunwoo has a hunch that in doing so he has made the first mistake of his life. But before he can figure out why he has this feeling he falls victim to a surprise attack.
Kang is furious and has ordered his gang members to hunt down Sunwoo and kill him. Heesoo may have triggered the conflict, but she is no longer what is driving Sunwoo. With nerves of steel, Sunwoo battles the gang alone. With each kill, he takes one step closer to Kang.
A Bittersweet Life played at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 and got some very positive reactions. But that’ll most likely change in the American adaptation because projects like this tend to get stomped with cliches (here’s looking at you Contraband).
Then again, Mr. Peckham has delivered good stories in the past. Both Invictus and Sherlock Holmes turned out to be pretty good films. There’s hope after all.