Sunday, December 1, 2013

Old Boy – review

Old Boy is the 2013 remake of the 2003 South Korean film of the same name. While some of the acting is decent from the main cast, and some of the action scenes are fun to watch, the movie still is not up to par with the original.  The plot changes leave more holes than are necessary. In some instances this can be overlooked, but as many as there are in this version of Old Boy it becomes too distracting.

Joe Doucett, played by Josh Brolin, is an advertising executive that is kidnapped one night and held in a room for 20 years.  While locked away, he becomes physically fit and plans to find what became of his daughter.  Finally, he wakes up in the middle of a field and finds he is free.  Someone has given him a wallet full of cash and a cell phone. He is motivated to find out who imprisoned him and why.

Josh Brolin does a decent job as Joe. He manages to walk the fine line between broken soul and hardened man with nothing to lose.  Elizabeth Olsen is all right, but considering we’ve seen her play characters with a lot more depth it is a shame to see her not bring her A game to a role like Marie.  Sharlto Copley plays a villain that is cartoonish, which is funny to watch but would be more appropriate in a Bond movie than Old Boy.

One of the biggest changes to the remake is the reasoning for imprisoning Joe Doucette. The remake turns a tale of an incestuous romance that leads to suicide, into a complicated, international, incest-driven family murder/suicide. This version of Old Boy takes the cathartic nature of revenge and makes it into something very creepy.  The ending then becomes something laughable rather than beautifully woven and tragically pieced together. All the pieces of this remake come together by pure luck, and luck alone is why the villain is able to go through with his plot.  

If you have not seen the original you may enjoy this movie.  However, if you only see this remake you are missing out. The original is far superior. If you have seen the original movie this will likely disappoint you. This movie is tolerable but is not worth seeing in theaters.  If you are curious about this movie and do not want to watch the foreign version, I recommend a rental.


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