I don´t know if you have heard of the name Park Chan-wook, a South Korean director. If you have not seen any of his movies, you really need to run down to your closest dvd rental store. One of his first most praised movies, was Sympathy Fór Mr. Vengeance in 2002. The movie did get a wide release in most countries, but in America it was only shown in 6 movie screens. Why ? I ask myself that, this was a very powerful motion picture. But just a year later, Park Chan-wook was back with his next chapter of The Vengeance Trilogy ( 3 Movies were made to follow each other ), and this one was named Oldboy. Movie critics became crazy about Oldboy, the reviews were very positive and the audience loved his latest creation. Oldboy proved to be both original and a very psychological thriller, with a unique style. I did not get to see Oldboy until 2004, so when i got myself a chance to buy a dvd from England, i booked straight away. Oh man, i really loved this one. This is without a doubt a classic, and became a box office hit worldwide, considering the budget was only 3 million dollars. 10 years later, came some very bizarre news. Legendary director Spike Lee is doing a remake of Oldboy. The first thing that crossed my mind was, how can you remake Oldboy ? Do we really need a remake ? I respect Spike Lee, this is the director who gave us Malcolm X, Summer Of Sam, Do The Right Thing, and many other classic motion pictures. But why would he remake Oldboy ? I still don´t understand, i suppose he must have enjoyed the original motion picture, but that does not seem like a good reason to remake a classic. Even if i was skeptical, i decided to watch the remake anyway. Is this remake a worthy updated version of Park Chan-wook´s cult movie, or is this as bad as i feared it would be ?
October, 1993, advertising executive Joe Doucett ( Josh Brolin ) ruins a meeting with a potential client, Daniel Newcome ( Lance Reddick ). The reason why Joe failed, is that he hit on Daniel´s girlfriend. Depressed about the situation, Joe drink heavy that night. He tries to go in to his friend Chucky´s ( Michael Imperioli ) own bar, but he is closed, so Joe continue walking the streets. He find an asian girl, selling asian figures, as he buy one for his daughters birthday. But suddenly everything becomes blurry, and Joe wakes up the next day, what he belive is a hotel room. But something is wrong, he can not get out. There is a door that is blocked, with a camera watching him. Someone have locked him up in this room for a reason. Days go by, the only time he have contact is when someone leaves food, opening a door gap. Days go by, and Joe still have no idea who is doing this. Suddenly one day, as he is watching tv, he find out his ex-wife have been found murdered, police suspect Joe is guilty and his daugther Mia is now adopted. 20 years have passed, and Joe realise he need to do something, or he will never get out. He tries to escape through the bathroom wall, using a certain technique, that seem to go well. Until he is drugged, and wake up in a box. He is out and free to go, but now he need to find answers to who locked him up. Joe visit Chucky and try to get his help to find information. The hunt is on, and Joe will not stop until someone is punished.
I don't mind remakes, if they manage to make it worthy the original motion picture, and still bring something fresh, without copying the same story. This is the problem with Oldboy. This is not a bad remake, but the problem is that director Spike Lee almost copy and make the same story, in an american version. He should have changed the storyline instead and found a different twist, but he choose to do everything too simple. Josh Brolin in the leading role is not bad, he does what he can to make his character vulnerable. I am dissapointed that a legendary director like Spike Lee could not make this a worthy remake. There are some good scenes, but overall i just don´t understand why this was made this way. Oldboy is not awful, there are some good parts where Josh Brolin deliver a pretty solid performance, including Samuel L Jackson in a small role. But still, i can not recommend you to see this one, instead i suggest you see the original motion picture. Let this be a lesson for today kids, never remake a cult movie unless you do it in a right way.