Customer Review

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Restrained Remake Is A Mess But It Is Not Without Merit, 10 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Oldboy [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Smarmy drunk and vulgar advertising salesman Joe Docette(Josh Brolin) thinks he has gone as low as he can after blowing a business deal in spectacular fashion but he wakes up after a particularly heavy bender to find himself in a room without any means of escape and there he stays for the next twenty years whereupon he is released and vows vengeance upon his captors aided by a young reach out program assistant(Elizabeth Olsen)

Those familiar with Park Chan Wook's 2003 korean original(and there are many)might be wondering why bother and after this versions spectacular tanking at the US box office (gross under a million on Thanksgiving!)surely then it must be awful.Well it is and it isn't.

In the plus column Spike Lee adopts a straight forward approach to the material making it easy to follow throughout and while the basic reason for everything remains pretty much the same, Lee eschews Wook's 3rd act one two punch of gore and surrealist fatalism in favour of a more prosaic(visually clever though)tying up of the plot strands and it is never boring thanks in large part to Josh Brolin who is good value as our put upon protagonist.

However the film does suffer from a bunch of ham fisted nods to the original(no, the octopus scene is left well alone save for a brief nod in a resturant scene) and the notorious hammer sequence is not even close to the splendid madness of that sequence in the original. Sharlto Copley as Docette's nemesis is perfectly dreadful.
However the fatal flaw here is that Lee paints himself into a corner from the offset by making Brolin's character so unpleaseant that it is almost impossible to generate enough sympathy towards him which takes some doing considering his predicament whereas in the original Wook generates such a sense of injustice around the persecution of Oh Dae-su(brilliantly essayed by Choi Min-Sik) that you really hope and care that he survives and ultimately wins out against his persecutors.

Striking to look at Sean Bobbit's cinematography gives the film a sheen that will surely please on blu even if it is not able to divert you from the inherent weaknesses when compared to the original.

Turkey. No and fans of OLDBOY (2003) should check it out regardless. I have spent far worse time in the cinema this year on stuff much more highly praised.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Jan 2014 11:16:52 GMT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 3 Feb 2014 01:22:42 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 3 Feb 2014 06:53:39 GMT]

Posted on 3 Feb 2014 02:47:18 GMT
Mark Pearce says:
Hello Mr Barnes
Always punctuation light.Lazy admittedly and a question mark would have been more appropriate after the word turkey than a full stop but you should have been bright enough to see what I meant.
Punctuation pedants like you are tiresome.What did you think of the film? Have you actually seen it?
Life is too short.
Regards

Posted on 24 Feb 2014 15:09:24 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 24 Feb 2014 15:12:17 GMT]

Posted on 14 May 2014 14:19:57 BDT
Good balanced review, i'll get it when the price comes down

Posted on 16 May 2014 14:37:01 BDT
Mark Pearce says:
Hello Mr S Brenton
Thanks for the comment.A wise move as £5 would be about right.It's not the original but it could bare a repeat viewing just to witness Sharlto Copley's staggeringly awful performance.
Regards
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