6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Oldboy [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Old boy is a Hollywood remake of the Korean original (Oldboy) and stars Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex) as Joe Doucett, an alcoholic advertising ad-man pretty much universally hated by colleagues, his ex-wife and clients alike. After losing a deal, Joe gets horrendously drunk and awakens in a motel room - except there is no phone, no escape and worst of all, no explanation. He spends the next twenty years locked in this plush cell, wracking his brains to work out who could have done this to him and why. Then he is suddenly and inexplicably released; will he ever find the man who is responsible for locking him up?
There are subtle nods to the original - the octopus in the fish-tank at the restaurant for instance; but the fact that this version acknowledges those parts and then doesn't choose to replicate them is a bit of a cop-out in my opinion. Why reference them as if in an acknowledgement of the superiority of the original? Instead we have overblown CGI violence replacing the subtlety and despair of the story. This adds nothing to the narrative and actually detracts from the power of the script. Whilst Spike Lee's direction and cinematography is good and Josh Brolin's portrayal of a man possessed is fantastic, the alteration of the story in this film is highly questionable.
I would have enjoyed a faithful remake far more rather than the ham-fisted inclusion of the English-accented sneering cartoon-villain 'The Stranger' (played by Sharlo Copley - Elysium). For one, we know he went to school in America, but then moved to Luxembourg, so why is his accent so upper-class English? Samuel L. Jackson (Fury) plays the prison overseer and has a hugely over-played role which doesn't add anything except to justify his fee to the studio. I just don't understand why they had to take a film that is already critically acclaimed, remake it, call it the very same name and then haphazardly change the plot for the worse. In fact it's actually become a fusion of two films- Oldboy & Fury - I can only speculate that Samuel L. Jackson had something to suggest as he was already in Fury (a.k.a The Samaritan) that has exactly the same twist but was far superior in its execution.
In conclusion, I am sorry to continually compare this to the original but if you haven't seen it and watched this with fresh eyes, you would come away thinking it was an extremely mediocre action film. If you've seen the original, don't watch this as it will only serve to frustrate you.