Franchise Pictures was reluctant to cast Mickey Rourke, in light of his troubled past as a Hollywood bad-boy. Friend Sylvester Stallone, who put Rourke up for the role, guaranteed a portion of his salary, so if Rourke did cause any delays or problems, the production would be covered. Rourke turned up every day on time, and was a complete professional. His work impressed Franchise enough, that they hired him shortly after for their next movie, The Pledge (2001).
For the flashback scenes that show Richie's murder, Stephen Kay wanted the film to look grainy and damaged, so he asked Deluxe, the film processor, to think outside the box. Happy to oblige, the techs at Deluxe tied the film to the back of a car and drove it around their parking lot, creating the scratched look. The experiment was short-lived when a Deluxe executive saw it, and ordered them to stop, fearing it would give the company a bad name.
Director Stephen Kay clashed with Franchise Pictures, the financier, over the tone of this movie. Kay wanted the movie to be more of an "anti-revenge" movie, while Franchise wanted a more traditional Sylvester Stallone action movie.
Unlike Get Carter (1971), which has received a cult following, particularly in the U.K., and was considered to be a financial success, this remake was not well received by critics, and did not receive a theatrical release in the U.K. It also did poorly at the box-office.
When Doreen (Rachael Leigh Cook) asks Jack (Sylvester Stallone) why he went away for so long, he responds, "That's a long story." To which she replies, "It's a long ride back." These lines were also spoken in Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) when John Rambo is speaking with his Vietnamese insider.
The scene where Carter shoots Brumby in a car park after catching him trying to steal the disc was the last scene to be filmed, due to Sylvester Stallone's goatee being barely visible, and Sir Michael Caine's hair being shorter than it was in his previous scene.
Jack Carter changes his clothes only once in this movie, at the end. He wears the same gray suit and white shirt throughout the entire movie, only alternating ties. At the end of the movie, he changes from his "slick" gangster look: shaving off his goatee and wearing a blue dress shirt with black slacks while carrying a black dress jacket in his arms. The last line of the movie is his niece Doreen saying "Hey...like the new look." Carter smiles and drives off and credits roll.