Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 41
  2. Negative: 11 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Nov 26, 2013
    39
    A slumming Spike Lee is still better than most directors at the top of their game, but Oldboy isn’t just Lee’s worst movie, it’s practically his “Wicker Man”.
  2. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Nov 27, 2013
    38
    The sheer brutality of Oldboy is stunning, especially a deeply disturbing scene in which Brolin tortures Samuel L. Jackson. But this is an unrelievedly grim and hermetic experience throughout, the cinematic equivalent of blunt trauma.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Nov 27, 2013
    38
    What's onscreen feels squeezed, truncated and curiously embalmed. It's got no kick to it.
  4. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Nov 26, 2013
    38
    The feel-bad movie of the holiday season, Spike Lee’s often-repellent Americanized reimagining of Korean director Chan-Wook Park’s twisty 2004 revenge thriller Oldboy is relentlessly gruesome, self-consciously shocking and pretty much pointless.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 26, 2013
    38
    The revenge in Oldboy is neither sweet nor sour; it's just drab.
  6. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Nov 26, 2013
    38
    Spike Lee's version loses the one thing that really worked in the original, the sense of moral complication emerging out of the intertwined action of two men hell-bent on retribution.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Nov 27, 2013
    30
    His (Lee) Oldboy is relentlessly unpleasant and difficult to watch, without offering audiences much moral or aesthetic payoff for its hour and 40 minutes of graphic violence and abject degradation. Oldboy is both original and uncompromising, I’ll give it that—it just doesn’t happen to be any good.
  8. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Nov 26, 2013
    30
    Lee and Protosevich have made a picture that, although several shades edgier than the average Hollywood thriller, feels content to shadow its predecessor’s every move while falling short of its unhinged, balls-out delirium.
  9. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Dec 5, 2013
    20
    Other than sniggering about what an outré stereotype they’ve served up, it’s hard to see how Lee and Copley can justify this performance, which is quite the worst of the year, and sends the whole final act of their movie straight to oblivion.
  10. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Nov 26, 2013
    10
    Colorless and soulless in the extreme, it bears no one's fingerprints at all. There's no reason for this Oldboy to exist. It's so DOA, you stumble out of it wanting to eat something alive.
  11. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 27, 2013
    0
    The longer it drags on, the sillier it gets. A preposterous narrative, illogical red herrings, trick endings, bad acting and—shazam! — Spike Lee turns into M. Night Shyamalan!
User Score
4.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 95 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 29
  2. Negative: 11 out of 29
  1. Nov 27, 2013
    5
    Ultimately, Oldboy isn’t an entirely worthless film; it is an unnecessary one. Brolin, Jackson, and Olsen’s portrayals are compelling and more than worthy. Unfortunately, Copley, who is often a standout, feels like he’s delivering performance art here, rather than a performance. There are some haunting visual motifs and the plot twists are as depraved as one would imagine and may desire. Overall, the changes that are made detract from, rather than enhance the story. The end is where the film truly falls apart, though. The small and large shifts rob the tale of its nuance. Park Chan-wook’s complex meditation on violence, responsibility, revenge, and poetic justice is bastardized and morphed into a cartoonish and contrived version. There is very little in this new Oldboy that the original didn’t do better. You’re best off to save your money at the theater and rewatch or discover Chan-wook’s far more intricately woven and harrowing saga. Full Review »
  2. Nov 27, 2013
    1
    Any movie that gives away that there is a twist in the movie in the trailer is stupid. This is a typical remake that misses the point and charm of the original. Please just go watch the original and skip this garbage. The Original is amazing. Full Review »
  3. Nov 30, 2013
    1
    I have to think that Spike Lee didn't even watch the original version before making his version. I also doubt that the person who approved the script could have seen the original version.

    The childhood tragedy was the father's fault, not Joe's and thus there is a lack of justification for the future vengeance.

    Additionally, the ending was removed compared to the original, since there was no brainwashing or hypnosis in this new version.

    The story line of the new version is just so weak it's not worth seeing.
    Full Review »