UK Release Date: 6th December 2013

Stars: Spike Lee (director), Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Lance Reddick, Michael Imperioli, Max Casella.

Plot: An advertising executive is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his punishment, only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment.

Remakes happen. In the past few years of cinema it’s very hard to find a film that is not a remake or a sequel or an adaptation of something. But there are some things that should be left alone. And you can’t help but think that this Korean CLASSIC should have been left alone. But apparently it needed to be remade for an audience that can not be bothered with subtitles.

Saying that though, the material seems to be in very strong hands. The trailer looks fantastic, heightening expectations and building anticipation. The cast that has been brought together is pretty strong and Spike Lee clearly knows what he is doing. There are a lot of things in the trailer that fans of the original will be glad are still here: the hammer scene, the video-game-esque fight scene.

However, the most worrying thing for me is the content change. One of the best parts of the Korean Oldboy was the theme of incest. But of course that has to be dropped because an American audience couldn’t possible be confronted with such a taboo theme in the mainstream of pop culture. This means that elements do have to be shifted somewhat largely from the original and it does become more about the revenge rather than the relationships between characters. Hopefully Oldboy does not become just a generic action film (albeit a brilliant one) but I long for it to remain as a wonderful piece of cinema, like the Korean version.

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