It was a dumb, stupid, asinine, ridiculous, idiotic, energy-wasting, sucky, loser, moronic idea to remake Oldboy, Chan-wook Park’s insane 2003 revenge classic. While I’m fairly open-minded about the idea of remakes, some films should never be touched again.
It’s amazing that the original Oldboy—a tale of captivity, octopus-eating and incest—ever made it to the big screen. Then Spike Lee somehow landed the job of Americanizing Park’s film (after Steven Spielberg flirted with the idea)—and he actually does a decent job in the first half. Josh Brolin plays a drunken louse who gets kidnapped and imprisoned in a strange hotel room for 20 years while somebody frames him for the murder of his wife. He is then released, whereupon he starts seeking revenge. The captivity scenes are the best things in the movie, with Brolin doing a good job of losing his mind.
The movie falls apart when he gets out, although Lee’s attempt to re-create the infamous hallway-hammer scene is admirable.
Rumor has it that Lee’s original cut was an hour longer. I’d like to see that cut, because what made it to the screen feels both unnecessary and incomplete.
Oldboy is now playing at the Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 760-770-1615) and Cinémas Palme d’Or (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-779-0430).