The Destroyers is not a good series of books. Don't get me wrong there. They are knock offs and deal in cheap thrills and flesh. Yet, still they are written with enough self knowing humor as to make them a genuine guilty pleasure. In 1985, they tried to translate that fun to the big screen with mixed results and poor box office. In keeping with my theory that you should remake poor films before classics Remo Williams is a prime candidate.
The problem with the movie is three fold. First is sadly the lead. I love, dearly love, Fred Ward. He was the saving grace in Tremors. But, he's very wrong for this role in ways that I really can't put into words. It's like hearing a song you like being played all in a minor key if you can get that. He lacks the intensity that the character needs. Add to that a so so script and less than so so directing and you have a definitely lack luster film. The only really shiny part is Joel Grey who played Chiun with energy and humor.
Having said all that I should probably enlighten those readers who haven't read the series about what the Destroyers are all about. Remo Williams is our hero. He's a cop who's been railroaded on false charges and given a faux execution. When he wakes up he finds himself under the power of CURE a CIA knockoff that has been collecting information on organize crime. His highly illegal job is to kill those criminal elements that CURE has highlighted as dangers to the nation. To do this he is put under the wing of a very cranky master of the martial arts named Chiun.
The beauty of the Destroyers is in the father/son role that Chiun and Remo form over time. Add that Chuin is practically an eighty year old superman with his unique form of martial arts and you have a fun read full of action. A movie should be no less fun.
Now Chiun is a Korean and he always wants you to know that, but at this point in time Jackie Chan would be my number one choice to play Chiun. The man still has the chops to kick ass and he definitely has box office value. The part of Remo is harder to cast, I suppose in a dream world I'd love a Matt Damon to take the role but that wouldn't be likely. The main thing is you need a director with a lot of energy to take on the project. There's a lot of talent from Hong Kong available but maybe even someone odder like Tarsem Singh to give it a really novel visual feel. Really it wouldn't take much to make this an incredible action experience.