Film Review: ‘Oldboy’

Given his ability to look by turns pathetically broken and totally badass (plus he can rock a buzz cut and what looks like a 10-year beard), Brolin is as ideal an actor as any to steer viewers through “Oldboy’s” grisly funhouse of horrors. Yet while he’s up to the role’s intense physical and emotional demands, the star seems to hint at demons seething beneath the surface without fully embracing them, never tapping into the raw, animal-like ferocity that made Choi Min-sik such a frighteningly human monster. In similar fashion, Lee and Protosevich have made a picture that, although several shades edgier than the average Hollywood thriller, feels content to shadow its predecessor’s every move while falling short of its unhinged, balls-out delirium.

-From Justin Chang’s Variety review of Spike Lee‘s Oldboy remake – hit the ‘Read More’ link to check out the entire thing. Almost all the reviews we’ve read are similar. Think we’ll wait… and in the meantime, watch the Park Chan-Wook original again.

 

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Red Band Trailer For Spike Lee’s Oldboy Remake Is Here – How Original.

(I got so worked up in my first edit that I realized I forgot to include the actual trailer; so here it is, wheeeeee):

Call this a red band trailer? We’re not that impressed. It looks as though (other than the actors)  Spike Lee‘s only change was having it be 20 years, not fifteen. We’re supposed to buy he’s, what, 25 years old in that first clip? Also, that no blood would come out when… OK, deep breath… see how many shots in this gallery from the remake trailer look a little familiar (and still watered-down).

 

 

Surprised the honeycomb-style wallpaper didn’t get ripped off, too. Oh wait, that’s right– it’s not a rip-off if they call it an homage, I forgot. Hey, you know what? Let’s see Josh Brolin look at cool as Choi Min-sik did while wearing those goofy sunglasses he finds. Chan-Wook Park said on the commentary for the REAL, SOUTH KOREAN Oldboy  (I was lucky enough to get the Vengeance Trilogy Boxed Set as a gift from my thoughtful husband) that they tried to find the most girly, stupid-looking sunglasses for him to wear, but that the actor still looked bad-ass no matter what. Plus, good luck looking that cool holding a hammer.  Hey Brolin, let’s see you lose 20 lbs. training over six weeks and do almost all your own stunt work. Let’s see you do your first fight scene where you beat the shit out of several thugs without the cigarette coming out of your mouth once. Let’s see if you have the dedication as an actor to eat four entire live baby octopi for a movie and your director while keeping your game face on and not gagging or throwing up. OK, WAIT! HOLD UP! Please in fact don’t try it, no-one should ever do that and the one (big) problem I have with the original is that they couldn’t find away to do that ‘bit’ without actually eating the poor things. Even if they were already on the chopping block for dinner, that was unnecessary and I still have to avert my eyes every time I watch that scene.

 

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Anyone here with an AB blood type, raise your hand.

 

OK,  I’m not even sure who I was yelling at there;  probably Lee, or the whole goddamned Hollywood system for cashing in to make a shitty American remake of an amazing foreign movie instead of just re-releasing it.  Not really mad at Brolin, he’s just doing his job… it’s just that Min-sik is an impossible act to follow. And so is Chan-Wook Park.

OK, here’s the corridor fight scene for Oldboy (2003) to cheer you up. Yup, it really was only one take – it took seventeen takes over three days to get the right one.

*Trivia fact: Min-sik is a Shinto Buddhist and said a prayer for each and every one of the octopi.  He didn’t refuse to do the scene, but he felt really sorry for the creatures.

Note: I was going to look up what actor Spike Lee cast as the Woo-jin Lee character, but then I just suddenly got really depressed and tired just thinking about going to the IMDB page for the remake. Even the fact than Samuel L. Jackson is in the movie doesn’t perk me up any (no matter how many times he says “motherfucker”), and I love Jackson in almost everything he does.