Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Garson Tsuchiya, Nobuaki Minegishi (Manga)
Starring: John Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Imperiolo, Pom Klementieff, James Ransone, Max Casella
Plot: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Classic American Remake, Botched
Story: Oldboy starts by showing Joe (Brolin) going about his normal day drinking on his job turning up late working on a big job. Joe has been letting his three year old daughter down by missing her birthday just so he can get the advertisement job with an elite client. We learn in just five minutes just how much of a low life screw up Joe really is.
Joe wakes up naked in a hotel room with a selection of different everyday products, the door is locked and there is no way out of the room. Joe’s ex-wife gets murdered while Joe is locked away and Joe is framed for the murder. We continue to see how Joe is locked up and we want and learn the time changing through the television Joe watches as he starts to change.
20 years have passed and Joe is released from his prison and ends up showing the skills he has learned while locked up and meeting Doctor Marie Sebastian (Olsen). Joe goes to the one person he can trust Chucky (Imperioli) and after getting a phone call from the man who has kept him locked up he starts to look into any potential enemies he has. Joe teams up with Marie to search for answers as he struggles to deal with the technology that has come to the world since he was locked up.
Joe finds the location where he was locked up and sets out torturing the man running it Chaney (Jackson) in searching for the one who arranged his locking up. When the mystery man (Copley) visits Joe forcing him to watch murder giving Joe 46 hours to work out who he is and why he locked him up or he will kill Joe’s daughter. We now have to watch Joe and Marie figure out who the mystery man is before learning the terrifying truth behind his motives.
Oldboy is a remake of a classic that with its shock and grit really gathered a hardcore fan base. With that in place we have to wonder how a remake could make an impact, well the only positive I saw was the idea of improved technology, we see Joe solve the problems just by looking on a smartphone while in the original it was a computer. This helps the investigation get fast tracked but that is where the original ideas end. Nearly every scene and twist is a carbon copy of what the original had, we get no shocks because we know what is coming and to take these shocks away would ruin the outcome of the film.
Let’s try and look at this if the original had never happened now. In fairness this really does throw up a very good mystery and I would really like to hear from anyone who has only seen this copy of the film. After seeing the original I can only give this score, but I do think it could be higher if you haven’t seen the original. (4/10)
Josh Brolin: Joe Doucett starts out as a terrible father, drunk and overall sleaze ball. After he gets locked up for twenty years Joe has to figure out who is behind it and get to his daughter before it is too late. Josh doesn’t reach the same levels the star of the original reaches and never looks as full emotional broken by what happens. (4/10)
Elizabeth Olsen: Marie Sebastian young nurse who helps Joe with his investigation, she ends up getting caught up in the middle of the battle with a much more sinister motive. Elizabeth does a solid job but really is just a pawn in the bigger game. (6/10)
Sharlto Copley: Adrian/Stranger this is the mystery man who has been making Joe run through hoops while threating his daughter to see if Joe can learn the motives behind locking him up. Sharlto does a solid job as the villain staying very calm through every scene his character is in showing just how twisted his character really is. (7/10)
Support Cast: Oldboy has a supporting cast who makes up the victims for Joe to target.
Director Review: Spike Lee – Spike is one of the best directors in the business but in the end he just makes a carbon copy of the original. (4/10)
Action: Oldboy has the good fight scenes but like most of this film, it doesn’t reach the levels of the first. (6/10)
Mystery: Oldboy gives a mystery that really makes you wonder what will happen and what is the motive. (9/10)
Thriller: Oldboy does give mystery but doesn’t put you on the edge of your seat like the original does. (5/10)
Settings: Oldboy brings the settings back to America but really doesn’t use anywhere special. (4/10)
Suggestion: Oldboy is a difficult film to suggest because if you have seen original you can miss but if you haven’t you could try this one but I can only suggest really seeing the original. (Watch Original)
Best Part: Technology speeds the pace up.
Worst Part: It is just a carbon copy.
Oh My God Moment: The End.
Believability: No (0/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Box Office: $4.8 Million
Budget: $30 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes
Tagline: Ask not why you were imprisoned. Ask why you were set free.
Trivia: Josh Brolin personally created the title artwork.
Overall: Oldboy sums up the problem with American remakes, it just copies something brilliant and never gets the same shock value.