South Korean director, Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy is a perfect film for the genre, and I was surprised when Spike Lee announced his remake…and all that horse shit about “improving” it. What Lee did, was take a film that couldn’t be improved upon, and gave us a terrible, watered-down, Americanized version. Joe Doucett (Brolin) vanished after a night of heavy drinking, only to appear in a mysterious locked room where he would languish for 20 years. Fitted with a television, a bed, shower, daily meals, and all the free Valium gas you can inhale; Doucett obviously become obsessed with escaping and getting revenge on his shrouded captors.
Doucett stops drinking the pint of vodka added to every meal and forcibly detox himself. The protagonist spends 20 years in this prison and Lee gave us maybe 12 minutes on Doucett plotting, fuming, finding resolution before he executes his escape. Terrible. In the original film, the bland room mirrored the protagonist and offered the viewer subjective themes. Lee’s version is stripped down to mere scenes from a film, adding no power or emotion of his own. One of my friends mentioned this film showed Elizabeth Olsen’s naked boobs, and it still failed miserably. He meant this to be funny, but it hits too close to home. Not only is the remake completely off the mark, but Lee even changed the ending of the film.
Gone are the visceral thrills from Park’s film. The fight scenes are as stilted as the dialogue and that’s a major problem for me. Brolin and Olsen can only work with what they were given, so I point this huge failure directly at Lee. Now, I’m going to watch someone eat a live octopus.
Oldboy features what might be the worst, most awkward sex scene in modern cinema.