I thoroughly enjoyed Spike Lee’s “reimagining” of the Park Chan-Wook cult classic Oldboy, which was originally loosely based on a late 1990s Japanese manga series.
This remake tells the story of Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin- No Country for Old Men), a boozy advertising executive who is kidnapped and framed for a horrific killing while being kept in solitary confinement for two decades. His prison is a bland hotel room, his kidnapper never reveals their face, and he is given no reason as to why he is in that room.
After years of psychological and emotional torture Joe is gassed, put within a large box and placed within the middle of a field to be set free. Upon his release, and in a state of turmoil and following a mysterious figure, he stumbles into a queue for the homeless and into the hands of caring Marie Sebastian (Elizabeth Olsen- Godzilla). Along with the help of his bartender friend Chucky (Michael Imperioli, The Soprano’s), he goes on a revenge mission to find his captors, while also getting information on the whereabouts of his daughter.
Josh Brolin really put a lot of effort into his role, his transformation from self-pity to determination is a testament to his ability as an actor, and although at the beginning you didn’t care much for him, by the end I personally really felt for the major predicament, let’s say, that he was put in. Sharlto Copley’s performance wasn’t amazing, I much prefer him in District 9 and Open Grave, and Samuel L Jackson’s role didn’t give him much to work with barring “jail” caretaker baddie.
For those who haven’t seen the original, remade Oldboy will still be a surprisingly entertaining one, with the same story as the original and some great twists. Oldboy is sinister and frequently jaw tightening nasty, but there is plenty to enjoy. This is revenge taken to the depths of minus degrees.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director(s): Spike Lee
Writer(s): Garon Tsuchiya, Nobuaki Minegishi, Mark Protosevich
Stars: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L Jackson
Studio/ Production Co: Good Universe, Vertigo Entertainment, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks
Budget: $30,000,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Thriller