WICKED CITY (seen at top) is one of the greatest anime films ever made. Hell, it’s one of the greatest films ever.
So of course that means the movie business won’t leave well enough alone. There was a live-action version produced in Hong Kong back in the early ’90s by Tsui Hark. I normally love Hark’s lavish martial arts fantasy films, which are filled with fanciful action and engaging love stories (A CHINESE GHOST STORY, GREEN SNAKE), but this flick just wasn’t up to his usual standard.
Anyway, now there’s word that film rights have been optioned to the original novel on which WICKED CITY was based, and this time we are supposed to get an English-language live-action version, directed by Mark Dippe (who previously helmed SPAWN). I liked SPAWN more than most, but the film was muddled, to put it kindly, and I find it hard to imagine that Dippe can come to terms with the graphic sex and violence of WICKED CITY, which worked so well in animation. (Perhaps being one-step removed from reality made it more palatable than it would have been otherwise.)
Bottom line: I’m curious but not hopeful. Probably the best thing to do is watch the DVD of the Japanese animated film again, and not worry about how Hollywood will mess it up.