Oldboy movie review

Oldboy Movie Review

In a reworking of a Korean manga and a 2003 Korean film, Spike Lee takes on “Oldboy” starring Josh Brolin as a man captured, imprisoned for 20 years, and then inexplicably let go. That sends his character on a path to redemption and the hope to find his daughter.

I’ll be upfront right now, I saw the Korean film directed by Chan-wook Park and was not impressed. Despite the rave reviews it’s gotten elsewhere, the story just never connected with me and I never cared what would happen next. I’m not someone who dislikes foreign movies or subtitles, hell some of my favorite movies are “I Saw The Devil” and “Let The Right One In.” However, I will judge the English remake on it’s own and try not to let the Korean version influence my feelings on the new “Oldboy.”

On his way to redemption, Brolin runs into a nurse, played by Elizabeth Olsen, who offers to help Brolin track down the people who run the odd prison. Brolin and Olsen do a decent job of keeping the story grounded, especially Brolin who plays a protagonist that we don’t care about or want to root for.

I’ve got to give Spike Lee some credit when it comes to the violence in the film. He refused to let any of the characters use a gun, which is a good choice and makes for some decent fight sequences. However, nothing in the film seems memorable and almost mailed in.

Probably the biggest disappointment of the film is that in what is considered an extended cameo by Samuel L. Jackson, we get to see nothing interesting from him. Lee could have picked any actor to play the role Jackson plays, yet for some unknown reason an A-List movie star plays the red herring. Meanwhile, the real bad guy is played by someone you’ve never heard of.

The twists that we see are not necessarily predictable, they are just boring for lack of a better word. However, I feel the most interesting thing about the film is that the final twist will make some people dislike the entire film. It’s shocking and distasteful to say the least, no matter how creative it is. I heard gasps in the theatre, however I also heard some chuckles, something Spike Lee and Chan-wook Park probably didn’t intend.

Basically, some people will like this story and for those people I recommend the Korean version as it’s more stylized and interesting to look at. Spike Lee added nothing to make the English version better or more engaging. For those that won’t enjoy the story, including me, it’s time to get a shotgun and put this “Oldboy” out of its misery.

– By Guest Contributor Chance Parker 


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