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Mixed or average reviews- based on 96 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 96
  2. Negative: 34 out of 96

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  1. Nov 27, 2013
    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.
  2. Nov 27, 2013
    Perhaps the worst two hours I've ever spent. I learned absolutely nothing new about life, except that violent sexist patriarchal rape culture cliches still dominate mainstream cinema, and Spike Lee is more than happy to join the bandwagon and resort to them. Yawn. I got all hopeful for a Spike Lee social/psychological/metaphorical commentary/tie-in when the historical footage appeared, only to be disappointed when it merely served to pass the time inside the hotel cell. I left grossed out, hollow, and feeling like a sucker. For a crowd-funded film, this sure was a lot of tired re-hashed violence with no redeeming message. From a fan of the Korean 2003 original don't bother. Just watch Do The Right Thing again. This is a Spike Lee Dis-Joint. Expand
  3. Nov 28, 2013
    Simply put, some movies should never be remade. "Oldboy" serves as a stark reminder with only a few exceptions: Americanized remakes of beloved and admired foreign films inevitably result in disappointment. For viewers unfamiliar with the history behind Spike Lee's "Oldboy," the 2013 film is a remake of the cult-classic 2003 South Korean film of the same name, directed by Chan-wook Park. The Korean masterpiece possess a highly stylized, gritty sensibility while providing an emotional depth to its characters. Iconic director Spike Lee's "Oldboy" is as a handsomely shot piece of genre entertainment, but it fails in its attempt to define itself, resulting into a completely pointless, watered-down underwhelming thriller.

    An alcoholic whose life is falling apart, Joe (Josh Brolin) is far from the ideal father who is willfully neglecting his three-year-old daughter, Mia. Drugged and kidnapped one night, Joe awakens in a small room with a television, only to learn that he's been framed for the murder of his ex-wife, and will spend the next 20 years trapped in this cell where he is held as a prisoner. During the duration of his imprisonment, he trains his mind and body for escape attempts while pouring his heart out to Mia in letters. After two decades of torment, Joe is suddenly set free, seeking out an old friend Chucky (Michael Imperioli), and meeting Marie (Elizabeth Olsen), an advocate for the homeless who helps him in his cause. Hunting for the individual who locked him away, Joe spares no one as he works his way to Adrian (Sharlto Copley), a deranged man masterminding the mystery Joe and Marie are now determined to solve.

    Director Spike Lee, working from a screenplay by Mark Protosevich "I Am Legend" (2007), chooses to simply rehash the plot for his American remake, and quickly rushes through the unusual and unique storyline unable to establish an emotional connection with the audience which the original film develops so well. Lee's picture clocks in at a lean 104 minutes, 16 minutes shorter than Park's "Oldboy." As a result, the storytelling is rather straightforward, and it forces Lee to rush through crucial sequences which are not given the adequate time to develop. Subtly goes by the waste side, and almost abandoned completely early into the third act in favor of expeditious explanations.

    The remake remains largely faithful to the story of the 2003 effort, but seriously lacks in intensity and a sense of meaning. The original film achieves a sublime blending of ultra-violence with extreme art, while the remake feels bogged down in its copycat status, and its overall lighter tone hampers its enigmatic, disconcerting story of revenge. My advice is to avoid this altogether, pull up the original on Netflix, and deal with the subtitles America.
  4. Nov 30, 2013
    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.
  5. Dec 3, 2013
    As a huge fan of the original film, I did everything I could to judge Spike Lee's version on its own merits. But he has made an inferior film that simply doesn't work on its own. The story isn't the problem the film doesn't work due to the choices Spike Lee has made. Strange changes in the story serve to call attention to the film's inability to entertain like the original. Samuel L. Jackson. Watch both versions of the film and you will be stunned at Lee's choice to create Jackson's character and storyline. And if you haven't seen the original, you'll certainly wonder why this story was ever told. In addition, the Director has made some choices that didn't work for me at all. In "Annie Hall", having Woody Allen and Tony Roberts watch flashbacks worked; here, to see Josh Brolin watching the action around him it was distracting, and a huge mistake much like the decision to tell this story this way. Expand
  6. Feb 25, 2014
    I gained absolutely nothing from watching this. I completely wasting my time. I hoped it would do something interesting and new with the premise, but instead it treads the same ground, and somehow it manages to not do that properly.
    Watch the original. It did it better than this.
  7. Mar 4, 2014
    I saw the original first just to make a comparison and this was a really clumsy remake. All the subtleties of the original were bulldozed with obvious plot points that the original only gave away at the end. As twisted as the story is, I actually cared about the characters in the original. Spike really should have spent a little more time developing the main characters and maybe this would have worked. Really disappointed Expand
  8. Mar 9, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I would like to lock Spike Lee in my bathroom for 2 hours, then let him out. Then he would know what it feels like to lose 2 hours of your life that you will never get back. Adrian locked Joe away for 20 years banking solely on the hope that he would have sex with Marie? Really? I know he was led right to her...but what if he kept running? What if Marie never stopped him to offer help? What if they werent attracted to each other? There is seriously a place that is in business to lock people away indefinitely and make them think they are in a hotel? The fight scenes were ridiculous. Apparently, watching infomercials for 20 years makes you a complete badass. He wiped out 2 separate mobs of guys (not sure where they came from) with ease. He took out the last group of guys with a knife buried in his back. Yet, when he went to rescue Marie at the house, he was easily overpowered by 2 guys. I liked the twist at the end with the daughter, but that wasnt enough to make up for the other 95% Expand
  9. Mar 14, 2014
    Terrible movie, completely detracts from the original manga and has lots of gaps. Just because Samuel L. Jackson appears give it a 3. And do not misunderstand me, not for being a remake is bad, is that they changed the whole plot and nothing makes sense.

    I still believe that this movie was made just for that 5 year olds understand. Not everything has to be explained, we must appeal to
    deductive capacity Mr. Lee. Expand
  10. May 16, 2014
    Dear Spike Lee,

    Two things happened to me the day before yesterday.

    Firstly, a pigeon crapped on me. Its mess splattered through my fingers, over my phone screen and all down my trousers. I was just starting an hour-long journey home, and had nowhere to wash up. I spent that whole hour-long trip wearing that pigeon's filth, as evidenced by the plentiful grimaces and **** I earned
    from the strangers I passed, whose respect I would prefer to have.

    Secondly, when I got home, I watched your remake of Oldboy.

    I forgive the pigeon.
  11. May 25, 2014
    was hoping this was going to be a good remake but i was completely wrong everything about this movie is pure crap. Spike Lee has made some decent film in his time so i was hoping that he wouldnt mess this film up. I already knew it wasnt going to be anything like the original as in most cases with remakes but this is a slap to the face to the original. The cast is one of the things that really made me want to watch it with Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Elizabeth Olsen but in this i find Brolin's character a joke and dont care for as with the original i feel sympathy for the rest are just "meh" so you dont even care for them as well. I guess the fact that i was expecting more from this movie makes me dislike it even more. In the end this is just another average remake with nothing to see and i would recommend watching the original and never watching this movie unless want a good laugh.

    Overall i give it a 4.0
  12. Jul 20, 2014
    As for the film itself - The plot explains pretty much nothing until the very end and the acting was laughable at best. It's yet another in a long line of poorly done remakes that fails to match the original in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps the writer and director should have checked out the source material a bit more closely.
  13. Aug 18, 2014
    From the get go this movie was a dud - there were no characters you would like, the main character was a jerk who deserved no sympathy, too much gratuitous violence and bad acting, particularly Samuel Jackson.

    I stopped watching the movie with 45 min left. I could not care what happened. Do not waste your time.

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: Curtis Woloschuk
    Dec 9, 2013
    To its credit, Spike Lee’s remake isn’t a slavish imitation. On the other hand, its grit is a grey substitute for the original’s vision and verve. Disappointing.
  2. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Dec 5, 2013
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 4, 2013
    While few will debate Lee's ability as a director, this isn't close to being in his wheelhouse. Oldboy cries out for a Brian DePalma, a Quentin Tarantino, or even a David Lynch. The end result bears out the suspicion that Lee isn't right for the material, nor it for him.