The strange and unnecessary remake of a French classic storming Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)

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The strange and unnecessary remake of a French classic storming Netflix

If unnecessary remakes had a new king, it would undoubtedly be the latest action extravaganza that has taken Netflix by storm. This French film has been at the top spot globally (in the non-English films category) for two weeks in a row and has made it up the ranks in almost a hundred countries.

The Wages of Fear is the remake of a French classic has captivated audiences across 92 countries on the streaming platform. Directed by Julien Leclercq and co-written by Leclercq and Hamid Hlioua (known for their work on Ganglands), The Wages of Fear features Franck Gastambide, Alban Lenoir, and Ana Girardot. 

The film follows the story of Fred, a mercenary desperate to leave his war-torn homeland and return to Paris. When offered a million-dollar deal by oil company security director Anne, Fred reluctantly agrees to undertake a dubious mission. Tasked with extinguishing a raging fire at an oil well by detonating over 200 pounds of nitroglycerin, Fred has only 24 hours to prevent a catastrophic explosion that could wipe out a nearby refugee camp.

To secure the nitroglycerin, Fred sets on a journey, encountering armed rebels and treacherous terrain along the way. His crew includes Clara, with whom he shares a complicated romantic history, and his brother Alex, whose expertise in explosives is crucial to the mission’s success. As tensions escalate and the clock ticks down, Fred must navigate personal dilemmas to save innocent lives and secure his own future. If this sounds maddeningly formulaic, then rest assured, it is.

Gastambide plays Fred, a man with a troubled past, while Girardot portrays Clara, a vaccine transporter for World Wide Health. Lenoir plays Alex, Fred’s brother, who is an expert in demolitions. The film also stars Astrid Whettnall, Sofiane Zermani, and Bakary Diombera.

While The Wages of Fear offers thrilling action sequences and a sense of urgency, it falls short in developing its characters beyond the surface level. The film is an unnecessary remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Palme d’Or-winning thriller based on Georges Arnaud’s novel of the same name. It is high on the adrenaline but serves only as a reminder that a superior original exists.

In a landscape oversaturated with remakes and reboots, The Wages of Fear delivers an action film where all things go boom with minimal rhyme of reason. If you need background noise to fill the deafening silence of your lonely existence this evening, this is something you can tune into.