Uh-oh. It was inevitable I would come across the trailer for Spike Lee’s remake of Chan-wook Park‘s classic Oldboy. Anyone who knows me knows I like to bore them talking about the South Korean original. It really is a modern masterpiece and everyone needs to watch it immediately. I can wait…… OK you’re back. Now have a look at the trailer for the remake starring Josh Brolin and Screenkicker favourite Elizabeth Olsen.
The makers have been at pains to explain that this isn’t a remake, it’s a new take on the original and wouldn’t be anything like my Oldboy. Which begs the question – why does this trailer look so much like the classic? There are even identical shots including Joe Doucett (or Oh Dae Su for fans of the Korean version) climbing out of a suitcase and the infamous hammer fight. The only big difference is the lack of a crazy haircut. Here’s the trailer for the original:
The problem here is that the remake has never stood a chance. There were only two ways it could go, either a new story that’s loosely based on the original, or a straight remake. The first way had potential to do something different and the second way seems completely pointless. Lee seems to have taken this second route. With Oldboy being a gut punch of a movie that had shitloads of style and a truly twisted story then maybe new viewers will get something out of it while those familiar with it may be left cold and bored.
So I’m honestly not feeling great about it but if the performances are good and Lee can capture some of the essence of the original then it might be worth a watch. All we can do is wait and see.
Oh and Spike, you better not wimp out on that ending.