Oldboy (2013)





Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Imperioli, Brett Lapeyrouse, James Ransone, Max Casella, Linda Emond, Pom Klementieff, Elvis Nolasco Lance Reddick, Hannah Ware, Richard Portnow Hannah Simone, Lizzy DeClement, Caitlin Dulany, Cinqué Lee, Grey Damon, Erik Gersovitz


On the day of her daughter's birthday, for reasons he doesn't understand, Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is kidnapped and imprisoned. After 20 years behind bars, he is released, and, obsessed with vengeance, will do anything possible to find the man who did this.


*** The review may contain spoilers ***
Americans and their obsession with remaking great foreign language films will never lead to something good, and this film is the proof. In fact, Oldboy - or should I say "Oh boy"? - is a complete failure. It is violent - not as much as the original though - yet shallow, and disappointing. Compared to Park Chan-wook's, this one is absolute crap. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work as a standalone film either.

What Spike Lee did here is goddamn awful: it could and should have executed so much better. At the beginning the film spends, in my opinion, too much time showing the whole day of drunkie Joe. Also, too much time is dedicated to the 20 years he spend imprisoned, actually showing less than the original film did. To suffer from all of this is the rest of the story, the most important part, which is rushed and not well-developed.

While there are several memorable lines in the Korean film, here the dialogue is a pure joke. At some point, Joe says, "... And whoever you are, wherever you are. I will find you". Is it me, or it sounds a lot like what Liam Neeson says in Taken?

The fighting scenes weren't better. At some point, during the torture scene actually, I thought "Thank god Lee didn't try to reproduce the corridor scene", but after a few minutes, here it comes, just to prove me wrong. And it was one of the most fake-looking fight scenes ever.

Not to talk about the nonsense, unrealistic things going on. First of all, Joe's alcohol addiction. He has drunk a bottle of vodka every single day for about a year - not to consider the fact that he already had a drinking problem - and he doesn't have any liver disease, not even a problem. Then, he goes around hammering people in the heads, and they don't die - I do clearly remember him smashing some guy's head, and that guy kept on screaming. Now I'm not a doctor, but how realistic is that? And at last, the girl with the yellow umbrella. After 20 years she looks exactly the same. I wonder what kind of treatment she used to stay like that. Oh, I forgot something! Is there some particular reason behind the Chinese restaurant, or Spike Lee didn't have any idea so he took it straight from the original?

The love scene also is completely different. While Choi Min-sik and Kang Hye-jung look like they love each other, Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen are clearly just having sex.

Josh Brolin does a pretty good job, and his weight gain, and weight loss is definitely a sign of dedication, but it's impossible to compare him to the wonderful job Choi Min-sik did with the same character. Elizabeth Olsen is so so, as she looks like she is never quite sure how to play the part. Sharlto Copley isn't much of a villain. At least Samuel L. Jackson is great.

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