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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle masterpiece.
Let's get the details out of the way, before I sing my praises. Oh Dae-Su finds himself kidnapped and imprisoned in a hotel-esque room for 15 years. He teaches himself to fight (by beating the hell out of a brick wall!), and slowly begins to go crazy. He's then hypnotized, and wakes up on the roof of a building. He has a limited amount of time to find the people who...
Published on 1 Mar. 2006 by L. Dolan

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very bad hair day
Stylistically this film is very impressive but narratively it fails to convince. Initially it's possible to believe the urge for revenge felt by Dae-Su but as the movie progresses it becomes increasingly difficult to accept his behaviour or, for that matter, the behaviour of any of the movie's characters. By the end of the film, when the devastating revelation is...
Published on 27 July 2008 by sft


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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle masterpiece., 1 Mar. 2006
By 
L. Dolan "LD" (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Let's get the details out of the way, before I sing my praises. Oh Dae-Su finds himself kidnapped and imprisoned in a hotel-esque room for 15 years. He teaches himself to fight (by beating the hell out of a brick wall!), and slowly begins to go crazy. He's then hypnotized, and wakes up on the roof of a building. He has a limited amount of time to find the people who imprisoned him, find out why they did it, and then exact revenge.
OKAY, now you've got the gist of the plot, allow me to rant and rave about how amazing this film is. The plot (taken from the manga of the same name) is out of this world. It's amazing that Hollywood didn't snap it up sooner (though unfortunately, Hollywood are planning to butcher it with a remake). It's twists and mind boggelers galore. Guaranteed to disturb and disgust you in parts, and leave you touched in others. Everything is brought together with strong characters, amazing music, a top-notch storyline, and most importantly, great acting. Every person feels like they were born to play their role.
I can't stress enough how much you need to watch this film. Pretentious critics like to sling mud at Oldboy, but none of it sticks. Despite over-hype and the occasional "well it wasn't THAT amazing" review, this film stands its own against any other film out there. I would go as far as to say it's my favourite film of all time. It's epic in a subtle way, and if you're not left mesmerized (albeit due to some confusion) by it, watch it again. I didn't notice the beauty of it all until its second viewing. A must see for any fan of intelligent films.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! It's Outstanding!!!, 25 Oct. 2006
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is probably one of the greatest revenge movies ever made, but be warned -- this film is NOT for the weak-minded, the faint-hearted nor the easily offended. But it's way better than all the dreck Hollywood keep making over the recent years.

One night, a man gets mysteriously captured and imprisoned in a cell where he goes under toture and madness. 15 years later, he is released back into his home country, where he's determined to find his captors & get his revenge...but he only has 5 days.

There are scenes in OLDBOY (2003), that will stay with you - the infamous live-octopus scene, the fighout in the corridor and the shocking plot twist which is revealed during the memorable climax. By the time the film ended, I was speechless.

Kudos to everyone who made this excellent movie. 5 out of 5.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars speechless, 6 Jan. 2005
By 
Mr. S. Keeley "skeels44" (film heaven) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
You HAVE to see this film if you have any interest in quality films. I have waited for a film that makes me feel all different emotions in a short space of time, this did and then some. Not going to go into the storyline you have to see to believe and i'd spoil the enjoyment, just be patient watching and take in everything you see and hear. The acting was excellent i felt these people and the story were real. The twists are unexpected, the voilence real and believable, the horror makes you cover your eyes, the sounds make you whince. Harder than pulp fiction, twistier than the 'seven' incident. I must stress some scenes are disturbing, so girls grab your partners, fellas grab the seat of your pants for a film that made me satisfyingly speechless for quite a while...
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb film!, 21 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I rented this film on the strength of the reviews on this website and boy, was I not disappointed. It is a tour de force in film making. I am not going to rant on about it, just watch it now. It is gruesome, chilling, funny and the ending is disturbing. Watch it before the rumoured watered down Hollywood version comes out.
One of the best films I have seen and it has rekindled my interest in Asian films.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh... and the world laughs with you...., 17 Aug. 2006
By 
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Old Boy is possibly the best film I have watched this year. How I haven't seen it until now is an embarrassing wonder?!

Not to give away the plot, this film is a revenge fueled darkly comic, at times harrowing, violent, sad, emotional blitz on the senses.

Choi-Min-Sik is fabulous as the smiling Oh Des-Ou. A character only he (with hindsight of course) could have pulled off so magnificently.

The film offers painfully emotional scenes, set back to back with hilarious (and usually violent) action sequences. The guy with his little fluffy dog exiting the world in the way he does made not only the main character smile, but me also !

Its certainly a "revenge" film, but the way the plot reveals itself keeps you guessing who's revenge it actually is that you're watching right to the end.

An amazing film, with tons of style, and just as much depth, As has been said already fans of Tarantino and Scott, as well as Takeshi Kitano should love it. And if I haven't sold you on the above, then all I can say is if the sound of a hero having a brawl with 15 hoods, and only using his fists and a claw hammer, all stylishly filmed in just about 1 take, sounds like your kind of thing, then this film is also for you !!!!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Korean Thriller, 29 May 2006
By 
R. Mullaney (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Old Boy is a startling Korean film that caused quite a stir when it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003. After a drunken night of michief making, a man wakes up imprisoned in a room with no idea why or who is holding him. He is released 15 years later to discover he is the prime suspect in his wifes murder. He is given a mobile phone and a wallet full of cash and begins the task of tracking down his captors to solve the riddle of his incarceration.

The film is visually breathtaking with wonderfully shot scenes. The scene which stands out the most is a 2 minute continuous shot of Oh Dae-Su taking on dozens of thugs in a cramped corridor armed with nothing but his fists and a claw hammer. Its so stylish that you can understand why Tarantino named it as one of his favourite films.

It can be a little confusing but give it a chance and treat yourself to one of the finest pieces of Asian cinema in 2003.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, gripping, twisting, turning work of genius, 17 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This film is a masterpiece. The viewer is wrenched from the seat and immersed in the beautiful, but agonisingly painful world of the hero as he seeks reason for the robbery of his life.
Constantly suprising, it is a funny, intelligent consideration of revenge, guilt and love. The acting, direction, technique, cinematography, and score are all masterful.
True, the implied violence is not for the faint of heart, but it neither dominates nor detracts, rather lending an unbelievable power to the ultimate denoument. That is despite having the greatest (and truest) fight scene ever filmed in a corridor.
If you want drama, passion and redemption, you have to see this film. Buy it, love it, then make your friends watch it as well.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tired of the Hollywood 'vengeance' scenario? Look no further, 27 July 2005
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
As a rule, don't mistake this film for one of two things:
1) A film in the Tarantino vein.
Just because mention of it's name is often preceded by the phrase 'Tarantino recommended' don't mistake it for his brand of swaggering cool (so cool it often can't stand up straight, in fact), stolen from multiple sources, with little other than superficial flash over substance and one-liners that are sure to be repeated for ten years afterwards - even if they weren't very interesting when you first heard them.
Sadistic violence isn't thrown at the characters to mitigate their also violent responses. Here for every act there is a reason. Often one thought out years in advance.
If this film stands up to the likeness of any American director I'd make it David Fincher - particularly as the neon flourished, smack patina of this film has more in common with that of Fight Club - and it shares not only some of Fincher's intelligent nihilism but also his ability to render a scene disturbing more by what is not shown/implied than what is.
2. A typical 'Asia Extreme' title.
For something as purportedly violent as this there are very few on-screen scenes of violence that could be considered gratuitous or nasty for nasty's sake - and I make that judgement relative to generally any mainstream Hollywood action movie out there. Any violence depicted is thus telling you either about the characters or the characters' state of mind. This is no Ringu or Ju-On or some such ghost/horror/paranormal cautionary. This time you'll be spared the narrative giving you yet another reason to reconsider your view on cute Japanese schoolgirls.
For a start, it's not Japanese, it's South Korean. Second, it's a tale about vengeance that doesn't stimp on the consequences of vegeance for both the revenger and the revengee - which becomes typically complicated when the parties are both. There are no gangsters, no especial depiction of a criminal underworld, and no crazed psychos weilding either chainsaws or katanas to theatrical effect. All of which I am thankful for, as to me, they are as cliched and overused as hell.
What you do get is a simple question to ponder as the film opens. One man, a pretty much everyman, and in some ways an ass of a everyman, is inexplicably kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. He is then released and given 5 days to find the perpetrator and the reason for his imprisonment.
Now if this were a Hollywood movie I would indeed be looking in the opposite direction because you know what you'd get before you even started. The typical American spade-jawed type in a white vest with a gun and trunkful of ammo - although the updated version can just as well be a heroine wearing Bruce Lee's tracksuit (just because) and weilding a samauri sword - on a justified you note (because it's always justified if the hero is American and 'done-wrong-by' in Hollywood) trail of rocking and rolling (see the soundtrack) rampage of revenge. Need you ask how it ends?
Not here.
Which other film will have the central character ponder what he will do when he's had his vengeance - knowing full well his desire for revenge will not be extinguished?
This has several things that scream not Hollywood. Particularly the fact that the 'hero' is never fully in control of events and the outcome can't be assumed or assured.
There are no glib one-liners, no coincidences thrown in for effect, no obeisances to the high god of 'cool' and 'badass' (although, you can enjoy some scenes as such if you so wish - in particular some well choreographed fight scenes). Everything comes back to plot but not in an easy or comfortable manner by any means. Indeed the final denoument sheds everything that has gone before in an entirely new light, and changes it irrevocably.
With respect to the two-disc format of this film, I personally thought I'd died and gone to heaven. There are plenty of extras, even a director's commentary and interviews with the cast, giving it a well rounded and thought out feel that is truly appreciated in such a worthy title, nevermind a foreign title. Any questions I might have had about the film were pretty much answered by the time I'd watched all the additional material. My personal favourite extra was the score commentary, especially as the central waltz theme is so beautiful.
In other words, if you're not a fan of gratuitously violent films and are turned off by the theme of vengeance being espoused here, DON'T walk away. WATCH THIS FILM. You're bound to be in some way surprised.
If you're looking for Kill Bill Mach III, avoid - you'll be disappointed.
On this film you'll actually have to use your brain, and not your appreciation of swordplay or arterial spray. And if you like David Fincher, definitely give it a go. This film is funny, disturbing, thought provoking and heart-breaking all at once. And I, for one, write this as someone who generally can't tolerate the depiction of on-screen violence to make a character look or sound 'cool'; this film relieved me on that point, not only with the well-rounded characterisation but the well-considered plot. Even the director stated that he inserted one humourous visual specifically because the central character was trying to look too cool.
A+ in my opinion.
Long Live Oldboy, Kill Bill is dead.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great fast-paced mystery, 6 Jun. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Compelling from the outset this is a must-see, not just for fans of Korean cinema but for anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Oh Dae-Su has been imprisoned for 15 years without knowing why or even who his jailer is. On his release he is given just a few days to find out and you want to know just as much.

With several gruesome scenes that literally left me hiding behind my hands it's fair to say that this is not for those with a weak stomach although there are also some good comic moments.

This is a riveting watch which has you gripped right from the start, keeps your interest all the way through and doesn't disappoint at the end.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars please watch this film., 10 Mar. 2006
By 
K. Jones "karl_lanc" (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I watched this movie on the off chance that it just caught my eye in the DVD shop. It totally blew me away and has since received the attention it deserves (Jonathan Ross payed it alot of praise during his Asian tour of cinema for BBC4.)
The movie includes a great cast which both suit and emphasise the gritty stoyline involved.....and what a storyline. Without giving too much away I would say that this movie is totally original in its process of allowing the viewer a glimpse of what is going on.
I urge anyone who is a fan of original, thought provoking and innovative movies to rent or buy this movie.
I have recently picked up a few more Korean titles on the basis of this great movie and have found many more equally as complex, enjoyable and brilliantly directed titles.
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Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003]
Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003] by Chan-wook Park (DVD - 2005)
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