By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0”: The new re-imagined revenge thriller of #Oldboy from director Spike Lee is not better than the original one, but it provides enough entertainment to to bash it.
The Gist: Re-imagination of the Korean film of 2003 from Chan-wook Park, but with a twist on the twist. Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for 20 years without reason.
The Highlights: Many who will see this film know it for its gruesome violence. Lee’s version still maintains the high standards of twistedness most have come to anticipate and it does so with a zest performance from Josh Brolin. The story is also unique and even though didn’t add anything to it, it’ll be intriguing and captivating for anyone seeing it for the first time.
The Lowlights: Spike Lee didn’t come up with the story but he says he loved Chan-wook Park’s film. He also said American audiences, meaning me, wouldn’t appreciate it because it lacks an American context. In other words, Park’s was too Korean for me. Really Spike? Give American’s more credit than this. For anyone who has seen the original, this version is just redundant and disappointing. You’ll constantly be comparing it and come up short. This is really a remake and Lee should stop with the semantics. It’s almost a frame-by-frame shot copycat. What made the original fascinating was how much it pushed the boundaries of stylized violence and its dingy, creepy cinematography. Lee’s version feels like a regift… given without much heart.
Pay or Nay?: It’s entertaining enough to watch… but on DVD. It’s not a bad film, but there are so many better films out there right now that you’ll be wise in investing your cash on them first, or, watch the Chan-woo Park original. A gruesome delight!
Rated: R for strong violence including scenes of torture, sexuality and pervasive language
Release Date: Nov 27, 2013
Screenplay: Mark Protosevich
Director(s): Spike Lee
Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley
Film Genre: Action | Drama | Mystery