Oldboy (2013) Review

Movie: Oldboy (2013)
By: Maniac E
Date: November 29, 2013

I will find you

Spike Lee a man with that build up a lot of credibility in movie land thanks to Malcolm X. He now unleashes one of the most obscure remakes since a long time Oldboy. The Korean version of Oldboy has become a cult status movie and will be hard to re-create. Did he bit off more than he could chew?

The unfortunate protagonist this time around is Joe Doucette (Josh Brolin), a heavy-drinking ad exec and absentee father who's quickly flushing his life down the toilet when the story begins in 1993. Whether butting heads with his ex-wife or making a drunken pass at the spouse of a potential client, Joe has a talent for making enemies, something that becomes readily apparent when he awakens from his latest stupor to find himself locked in a small, beige-walled room with a bed, a bathroom, a TV and no windows. For the next 20 years (compared with the original's 15) this sub-Motel 6 hellhole will be his prison, his food shoved under the door each day by an anonymous attendant, his every action monitored and at times manipulated from afar by some unseen, all-powerful nemesis.

Oldboy (2013)

Did they deliver a good movie is what you ask? Well, not really all symbolic and deeper meaning to the story and its character are gone. This 104 minute adaption is one of the short comings it feels rushed, maybe the retail version will have a longer running cut. Spike Lee made changes to the story to be more daring and outgoing but these changes are the parts that the movie really didn't needed. The plot-twist which I obviously won't spoil for you guys was completely not needed and way too overdone. Lee tried to make a dramatic piece, a piece you would remember after you saw it but to me he just copied pasted most stuff and not always in a good way. The movie wants to shock you and turn you off by its violence, but in the end we saw it before.

Oldboy (2013)

Brolin is completely carrying the movie he does a good job of setting up his character. Although he is a lot less likable than Choi-Min-sik. Brolin's character is one that should have more depth to truly create a likable character, where Choi was an average Korean guy Brolin is not. There are winks to the original, there is an octopus in a fishtank but nothing happens with it, at least Lee did acknowledge the original. And yes, the hammer scene is in their in full glory. Where in the Korean version everything was really shot in a sort of claustrophobic way small corridors etc. In this one it is more open and with some extra improvements from mr Lee. Yes, the movie could have been much worse than what we got, am I pleased with it? Not really.

Oldboy (2013)

To sum things up, nice try Spike Lee but not good enough. The changes may seem subtle too many but to me the changes that were made did nothing for me. Spike Lee tried to create his own dramatic feel to the movie but to me it kind of felt like an empty vessel. Brolin did really well as an actor but just can't build the movie just on him. Spike Lee should / could do better than this, there were no real emotions no real big clash it was all a bit lifeless and that is where the original shines. "puts on the original".



Oldboy (2013)


Oldboy (2013)


Spike Lee






Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson