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Spike Lee’s latest remake adds little to original film

Staff Writer

Published: Monday, December 2, 2013

Updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 22:12

I’ve never been a huge fan of Spike Lee, but I have a lot of respect for his movies. To his credit, he’s made some absolutely fantastic films and though they may not have necessarily been my cup of tea, I can recognize them for what they are: well made films. As for Spike Lee himself, I’m convinced he’s absolutely nuts. There’s no other explanation for his latest film, “Oldboy,” a remake of the 2003 Korean thriller. I refuse to believe that any sane man or woman would have watched this film and said to themselves, “Yep, this is something that I want to release to movie goers.”

The movie stars Josh Brolin as Joe, an advertising executive and family man who is mysteriously captured and held hostage for 20 years in a small cell, devoid of nearly all human contact. One day, however, he’s released and goes on a hunt to find the man or woman that stole two decades of his life. Framed for the murder of his wife, Joe goes on a hunt for justice and to find his now adult daughter.

If you haven’t quite figured out where I’m going with this yet, I’ll sum it up real quick: “Oldboy” was awful. In fact, awful is doing it a little bit too much justice– it was spectacularly awful. The only thing stopping me from calling it the worst movie I’ve ever seen is Brolin’s acting (who was actually quite good as Joe!), and the fact that Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill has yet to be purged from this planet. Past those two technicalities however, it’s absolutely the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

When I went to see the film, I had high expectations. The original is a cult classic, and one of my favorite Asian films. I didn’t really think that Spike Lee would necessarily be able to replicate the film, but I trusted him enough to believe that I was going to get a decent movie going experience for my $12 that at least somewhat lived up to the film’s namesake.

My first clue should have been the fact that I had to drive two hours just to see the film at all. It’s not that I was out in the middle of nowhere either. Apparently the film was given a “wide release” of 500 screens. That marketing decision was either made by a very inexperienced intern or an executive who knew how bad the film was, and was trying to save the American populace from wasting their money.

In any case, after sitting in traffic, I finally made it to the film and boy was I disappointed from the get go! The film made absolutely no attempt to replicate the feel of the original whatsoever. Rather than filming a suspenseful thriller with some occasional bouts of action, I was ‘treated’ to two hours of an action film I hadn’t wanted to see. It wasn’t even exciting action like “Die Hard” or “James Bond.” It was bland, like “Speed 2.” If the original “Oldboy” was like drinking a glass of coke, this was flat diet Pepsi.

I think the absolute worst part about my experience was that Spike Lee added absolutely nothing to the story. I spent $12 to see a bad version of a film I already own. Things would have been ok if maybe the [SPOILER ALERT] plot twist at the end was a little different, instead of exactly the same or if the rest of the cast was able to even hold a candle to Brolin, but they weren’t.

I’m not even going to try and be eloquent about this. Don’t waste your money. Instead use it for something else, like buying a copy of the original on DVD, paying Spike Lee to stop making movies or burning it for heat.

3/10

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