Moviegoers who know nothing about the iconic 2003 Korean thriller will perhaps enjoy this half-hearted remake. It lacks the subtlety and irony of Park Chan-wook's deranged masterpiece, but Spike Lee brings a certain technical sleekness that holds our interest. Especially as the complex plot begins to twist and turn, gleefully pulling the rug out from under us.
It centres on Joe (Brolin), a drunken loser who blows his last chance at his job by coming on to a client's wife. The next morning he wakes up in a sleazy hotel room that turns out to be a locked cell where he'll be held for the next 20 years. He's shown news updates on how he's the prime suspect in his wife's violent murder, and he watches his daughter grow up in an adoptive family's home. Suddenly focussed on revenge, he plots his escape and then is caught off guard when he's inexplicably released. With the help of his old friend Chucky (Imperioli) and helpful nurse Marie (Olsen), Joe tracks down his flamboyant jailer (Jackson) and then the creepy man (Copley) who paid the bills and now demands that Joe understands why he did it.
Yes, the plot is a big puzzle, and watching the various pieces fall into place keeps us riveted to the screen, even if nothing is particularly involving. Lee's mistake is to play everything dead straight, with only the odd hint of black humour or underlying madness. Instead, we get bigger action fight scenes (cool but choreographed) and a variety of surprises and revelations that often make us gasp. And all of this is played with razor-sharp intensity by Brolin, who gives us just enough emotion to keep us engaged with his journey.
Continue reading: Oldboy Review
Spike Lee's 'Oldboy' appears to retain the horror of the original.
The first red-band trailer for Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-wook's classic and disturbing movie Oldboy has rolled out online, featuring all the hammer-centric bloody revenge of the original. Josh Brolin plays a man abducted and held in captivity for 20 years before being mysteriously set free by his captor.
The Poster for the American remake of Oldboy, starring Josh Brolin
Though many fans of the original remain wary of Lee's remake, the movie - written by I Am Legend scribe Mark Protosevich - is one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Park's cult film - which makes up part of the director's Vengeance Trilogy - features one particularly unsettling scene, though it's unclear whether Spike Lee has retained it. Bloggers who saw an early screening in April said the remake maintains the shocking key plot twist, according to The Guardian.
As computer game nerds everywhere await the long awaited big screen adaptation of the Mass Effect series of games, they’ll be either delighted or dismayed to know that the project has had a change in screenwriter. It’s good news if you view at as a sign that the film’s getting kicked into action, maybe not so if you think that it means there are some problems afoot behind the scenes (also not so if you’re struggling to remember a single truly decent film adaptation of a video game.)
Variety are reporting that it was Mark Protosevich (credits include Thor and I Am Legend) who worked on the script initially after Legendary picked up the project in 2008. However he did indeed prove just the prototype, and has since been replaced by Morgan Davis Foehl. It’s a potentially risky move, given that Foehl is very much a youngster when it comes to scripts; he’s yet had to have one produced, his experience coming as assistant editor on the FX show Rescue Me and also on the dreadful Adam Sandler comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry. Yeah, shrewd move guys.
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