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59 of 61 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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59 of 61 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 [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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12 of 12 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 [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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! It's Outstanding!!!, 25 Oct 2006
By 
D. W. Bissett "dave_bissett" (Cumbria, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Oldboy [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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Change, 4 Jan 2006
This review is from: Oldboy [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Being something of a newcomer to the asian cinema scene I picked up my copy of Old Boy on reccomendation from a friend. Being somewhat cynical i expected the whole usual polava of over the top kung-fu antics and esoteric storyline. Wow. This film took my breath away. An excellent and gripping storyline mixed with both realistic and exciting fight scenes. The sideways shot corridor fight is something fresh and new and a welcome change to the typical gung-ho western style fight where the 'hero' fights hundreds of would be enemies and wins without breaking into a sweat. There is hesitation in the attacks, bad punches are thrown and you feel as though you are watching something un-nervingly real! I wouldnt want to ruin the story for other newcomers and veterans of this genre so all I will say is that this film is a must see. In closing, an important film in the action/revenge genre and a worthy film for anyones collection.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speak softly and carry a big hammer, 25 April 2007
This review is from: Oldboy [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
If you're a fan of Oldboy this is a great set to own. The U.S. version contains three DVD's, widescreen with Korean DTS sound and 5.1 english dub. The second disc has the making of documentaries and the third disc contains a daily video documentary of the 69 day shoot. You also get a film cell and a copy of the manga. I think this is the best of the vengeance trilogy. A violent emotional revenge drama with plenty of plot twists. Looks like this version may be out of print but you can still find it at a great price.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Brilliance, 5 April 2005
This review is from: Oldboy [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
In terms of celluloid quality, Asia is most definitely where it's at these days, and there is no better indicator of this than Oldboy. Warnings abouts its violent content prompted me to eschew it at the cinema, but excellent word of mouth prompted me to check it out on DVD, and I'm infinitely glad I did. True, there are two or three pretty nasty moments, but it is not the violence but the themes that prove shocking. I won't go into these at all, because this film MUST be watched with as little prior knowledge of the story as possible; suffice to say, the plot undergoes a complete reversal at the end, meaning that EVERYTHING that has gone before is turned so utterly on its head that you will never be able to watch it in quite the same way again. Quite literally, the film grabs your wrist and pulls you, whether you want to go or not, into some very dark places indeed; and though it may not be a film you will watch that often, it is an absolute must for any respectable film-fan's DVD collection.
Why? Perhaps the finest thing in Oldboy - aside from the unflinching depiction of vengeance and what it can do to a man - is the performance of the lead actor. Min-Sik Choi is magnificent as Dae-su, by degrees fearless, funny and wholly heartbreaking, he completely nails every emotion of his character, from harmless drunkenness a despair so pure that it leads him to ultimate actions that we can't understand, and yet somehow can. If Hollywood had any guts, he would have dominated the awards season. The direction is equally brilliant, particularly the lengthy corridor fight-scene in which the protagonists tire themselves to point of keeling over - and all in one shot. The neon colours mixed with shadows gives the film an original, nightmarish look that finds perfect symmetry with Min-sik Choi's hollow black eyes; stylish in a way that so many other Hollywood movies wish they were. Speaking of Hollywood, the inevitable remake is already on the way, although it is hard to see how America, being so politically conservative at the moment, would ever have the stomach to go for it in the way that Chan-wook Park has. Still, kudos to the latter for not selling out to the Hollywood machine and accepting an invitation to remake the Evil Dead in America, but to stay in Korea and work on the next in his 'Vengeance' cycle. Very little good has come from brilliant Asian directors 'doing a Woo'!
I'm not going to say that Oldboy the best film ever made, although I think history will see it featuring on many 'greatest ever' lists, but I can say with full confidence that it is easily the finest film I have seen in at least five years. Any film that makes me physically jump out of my seat and invoke the name of the good Lord is worth watching in my book. Buy, watch, and don't let the remake ruin it for you.
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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
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This review is from: Oldboy [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 [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 [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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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 [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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