A Hollywood remake of OLDBOY. If you aren't familiar with Chan-wook Park's brilliant psychological thriller from Korea than you have only one mission for this weekend. Track down a DVD copy (if renting it is impossible and your only choice is to purchase it, DO IT) and check it out. It's a stunning, hypnotically engrossing film with an absolutely fearless lead performance from Min-sik Choi. Not for the faint of heart or queasy-stomached mind you, but if you have some tough cinema guts, you must see this film. And then you'll see why the idea of a Hollywood remake of this truly one-of-a-kind film is, simply put, retarded.
And to make matters worse, the director of choice: Justin Lin. Lin exploded onto the scene with a terrific independent movie called BETTER LUCK TOMORROW. Since then, he's directed one piece of crap after another. ANNAPOLIS, a beyond stupid military "thriller" with the horrid James Franco. And he's also responsible for the lame threequel THE FAST & THE FURIOUS 3: TOKYO DRIFT. Did you actually see that film? It looked more like rejected graphic designs from a Playstation 3 game rather than a car-chase movie. If someone like, say, David Fincher (ZODIAC, SEVEN) or Mark Romanek (ONE HOUR PHOTO) or David Slade (HARD CANDY) or Brad Anderson (THE MACHINIST) were directing a remake of OLDBOY, then maybe I'd think it was a decent idea.
OLDBOY, in it's simplest description, is about a man who is kidnapped and imprisoned for 14 years inside of an apartment room. He's never let out and is never told what he did wrong. Then, one day, he wakes up a free man. But there's a BIG catch. I don't want to spoil anything else about OLDBOY becuase when I plopped down in my theater chair to watch the film, I knew basically nothing. All I knew is that it was an intense and extremely dark Korean thriller that featured a scene where the lead actor ate a live octopus. I didn't know what the story was about and how/why the above mentioned octopus got eaten. I have seen the film numerous times; it's one of those movies that gets better and better every time you watch it. Oh yeah--it also has one of the most realistic fight scenes in cinema history. This particular sequence, beyond its technical bravura (one, long, static tracking shot down a hallway as about 20 guys get their asses handed to them by the hero), is rooted in the lead character's emotional journey so fully, that you will be holding your breath the entire time and genuinely cheering him on as he fights each and every opponent.
The film deals with a lot of cultural elements that will not translate at all to an American setting and I would hate to see the specifics of the original film tampered with soley in the name of the almighty dollar.
Check the original OLDBOY out before Hollywood screws around with a masterpiece.