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4.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 102 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 102
  2. Negative: 36 out of 102

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  1. chw
    Sep 24, 2014
    4
    If anything was possible, I'd be first in line to get my 104 minutes back. This movie was crap, based on a great Korean film. Spike Lee had to have dragged Samuel L. Jackson (literally, because Samuel L. Jackson), Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley, and Elizabeth Olsen.
  2. Sep 9, 2014
    9
    Awesome Spike Lee movie, with a wild twist at the end! Too bad it came out when other bigger movies were released, which resulted in low box office sales. Glad I found this one, favorite movie in long time!
  3. Sep 6, 2014
    7
    I have a confession to make: I have never seen the original, so called 'superior' Korean original. But from what I've seen: it's a case of 'lost in translation'. For the most part, Oldboy's plot is highly original, the ultimate denoument of the story, shocking and heartbreaking. The casts gave their best A-game: be it Brolin, Olsen and Cooper as well as a particularly hammy Copley. ButI have a confession to make: I have never seen the original, so called 'superior' Korean original. But from what I've seen: it's a case of 'lost in translation'. For the most part, Oldboy's plot is highly original, the ultimate denoument of the story, shocking and heartbreaking. The casts gave their best A-game: be it Brolin, Olsen and Cooper as well as a particularly hammy Copley. But for the most part, it's a well made thriller that seemed to be 'butchered' a bit by the Producers before release, rumor has it. If such plot line and signature set pieces were based on a Korean film, then I suppose it's time for me to dwell into Korean fare then. Originality...something that Hollywood has missed in recent year.... Expand
  4. Aug 24, 2014
    7
    Ever since the success of the Grudge, 10 years ago, American filmmakers have been looking to popular overseas films for original ideas, many times simply remaking them. To many, this seems like a desperation move for original material, but I see it more as a cultural thing. Movies often reflect the society of the country they were made in, and by remaking them in the United States, theEver since the success of the Grudge, 10 years ago, American filmmakers have been looking to popular overseas films for original ideas, many times simply remaking them. To many, this seems like a desperation move for original material, but I see it more as a cultural thing. Movies often reflect the society of the country they were made in, and by remaking them in the United States, the story introduces movie lovers to something unique, from a different culture. I personally find this very desirable and have appreciated many of these remakes, even when I didn't love the story. In his latest venture, Spike Lee takes on the Korean classic, Oldboy. This is a film that was remade simply because of how bizarre and shocking the story is. The year is 1993, and Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) isn't a great guy. For some reason, he's drugged and then locked away in a pretty decent looking room without doors or windows, and held there for exactly 20 years. Then, just as suddenly as he was imprisoned, he was released, and goes on a search for answers, in this seemingly new world. Josh Brolin stars and is usually pretty good as an ancillary character, but as the star of a thriller, I was skeptical. As always, he could have shown some more emotion, but he was much better than I thought he'd be. Spike Lee gives him as much help as he can, by giving him a huge cast of supporting actors, all of whom had name recognition. In particular, Samuel L. Jackson playing a psychopath, was very funny, and definitely injected some much needed humor. Oldboy is one of those films where it all comes down to the ending. If you're unfamiliar with the story, I won't say anything other than to tell you, that it is bizarre and twisted, with an ending the likes of which you couldn't possibly have imagined. Even if you start to watch this film and don't really like it, stick with it, because the ending really is that good. Expand
  5. Aug 18, 2014
    0
    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.
  6. Aug 12, 2014
    6
    One of my all time favorite world cinema is the Korean version of this movie. Remakes are okay, but some movies won't suit for recreation because of its masterpiece value, believing that won't come close for the second time. Just like Mona Lisa, Starry Night, Birth of Venus, The Last Supper and other arts, it should have left alone untouched. Like Japanese did, because it was their storyOne of my all time favorite world cinema is the Korean version of this movie. Remakes are okay, but some movies won't suit for recreation because of its masterpiece value, believing that won't come close for the second time. Just like Mona Lisa, Starry Night, Birth of Venus, The Last Supper and other arts, it should have left alone untouched. Like Japanese did, because it was their story after all. This American version was good, but very much commercialized with the fast pace approach kind of ruined. If I had not seen the original, probably I would have liked it. I knew the twist so I did not get the excitements in those parts. So those who are not familiar with the 2003 movie can definitely have a good time.

    It was not a copycat from frame to frame, many things were altered in this movie. The most laughable was to see gangsters fighting with knives, hammers and bare-hand like the Korean style. What I know in American gangster theme is that they take a gun and bang bang. The first poster where Josh Brolin comes out of the large wooden box was kind of funny, gives the impression of a comedy movie. I liked Josh Brolin in 'Labor Day' and yet again he was not bad in this film except if you compare him with his counterpart from the Korean movie, Choi Min Shik. It is one of the best role he has ever played, sadly the movie was not recieved well due to many other reasons than him.
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  7. Jul 20, 2014
    0
    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.
  8. May 25, 2014
    8
    I haven't seen the Japanese original, so my review is unbiased.

    I found the movie intriguing from beginning to end, you never quite know which direction it's going. I enjoyed it visually, it's a visually stunning movie, the violence was brutal. Josh Brolin gave the best performance of his career. The surprise ending is what you will want to watch it for, regardless of anything
    I haven't seen the Japanese original, so my review is unbiased.

    I found the movie intriguing from beginning to end, you never quite know which direction it's going. I enjoyed it visually, it's a visually stunning movie, the violence was brutal.

    Josh Brolin gave the best performance of his career.

    The surprise ending is what you will want to watch it for, regardless of anything else, it's a brilliant plot cleverly disguised and fun ride while it lasts.

    Watching it a second time, you might notice it's short comings but don't blame the director (like so many reviewers have) from what I've read Spike Jonze & Josh Brolin were ultimately disappointed with what was released, apparently the production company virtually cut the film in half, I only hope there's a directors cut some day
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  9. May 25, 2014
    4
    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 thatwas 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
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  10. May 16, 2014
    1
    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
    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.
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  11. Apr 6, 2014
    6
    It was more curious that other thing what made me watch it. It was interesting given the necessary changes that had to be made for occidental audience, that is accepted in oriental movies. Good remake, but it won´t be never as good as the original.
  12. Apr 4, 2014
    6
    OLDBOY REMAKE FLOPPED BECAUSE IT’S A REMAKE THAT SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE

    Weren’t we all a bit skeptical after learning that the infamous Spike Lee is directing the international cult classic Oldboy? And am I glad I didn’t get the chance to witness the embarassing Hollywood remake of it in the theaters. Everything about this Hollywood remake is borderline reductive.
    OLDBOY REMAKE FLOPPED BECAUSE IT’S A REMAKE THAT SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE

    Weren’t we all a bit skeptical after learning that the infamous Spike Lee is directing the international cult classic Oldboy? And am I glad I didn’t get the chance to witness the embarassing Hollywood remake of it in the theaters. Everything about this Hollywood remake is borderline reductive. From the miscast leadstar Josh Brolin who struggled to portray any type of emotion and is almost too geriatric to play the exuberance that the character demands, to the many remarkable and almost blasphemous omitted scenes from the original. Not even the ever likable Elizabeth Olsen is able to redeem this remake that is comparatively pedestrian to the Korean classic. Hollywood seems to be running out of good material for an action movie that they have succumbed to bring ruins to foreign action films (a remake for The Raid is next). But to give credit to where it’s due, the Oldboy remake is a far cry from the creativity-deprived, badly written action films that Hollywood’s been producing lately. Thus we can say that the Asian film industry is really capable in making kick ass films that not even the big wigs state side are able to
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  13. Mar 25, 2014
    8
    It has been a long time that a plot twist has legitimately shocked me the way that this movie's did! I felt like it could have been a little longer or at least more drawn out. Also one of the death's caught me as particularly cheesy. However, even though the sum of its parts don't add up to a movie that is great, they definitely make one that is very good! It's weird, it's dark, it's crazyIt has been a long time that a plot twist has legitimately shocked me the way that this movie's did! I felt like it could have been a little longer or at least more drawn out. Also one of the death's caught me as particularly cheesy. However, even though the sum of its parts don't add up to a movie that is great, they definitely make one that is very good! It's weird, it's dark, it's crazy and it's violent! If you're into that then definitely don't hesitate in giving Spike Lee's Oldboy a go! Expand
  14. Mar 14, 2014
    3
    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
    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.
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  15. Mar 9, 2014
    3
    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
  16. Mar 4, 2014
    0
    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 wouldI 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
  17. Feb 25, 2014
    3
    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.
  18. Feb 25, 2014
    7
    Spike Lee's remake of Oldboy isn't even near as cool, as memorable or as effective as the original cult classic, but it does have it's good elements such as a fantastic score, decent acting (apart from a laughable and campy Sharlto Copley, who is usually fantastic in his roles), nice visuals and motifs and some fantastic sequences. This remake comes off more as entertaining thanSpike Lee's remake of Oldboy isn't even near as cool, as memorable or as effective as the original cult classic, but it does have it's good elements such as a fantastic score, decent acting (apart from a laughable and campy Sharlto Copley, who is usually fantastic in his roles), nice visuals and motifs and some fantastic sequences. This remake comes off more as entertaining than intriguing. The film's major flaws is that the first 10 or so minutes are horribly acted and edited, the pacing is odd, it feels like they cut a tone of footage out (which apparently did happen) and the twist is not as effective as it was in the original. Overall, it is decent remake and is pretty enjoyable with the most part with some great sequences and a fantastic score, but it is unnecessary and not even near as memorable as the cult classic that inspired it. Expand
  19. Feb 14, 2014
    7
    Was reluctant to watch, ready to hate, but gotta say Spike Lee won me over. Too easy to be precious about something considered original when everything is just a remake anyway.
  20. Dec 12, 2013
    5
    Josh Brolin plays an arrogant, drunken ad exec who gets locked in a room for twenty years…yes, years. When he's finally released, he must identify his captor before he can seek revenge and be reunited with his daughter. After his one-room ordeal, you expect extreme retribution and there is some: a few brief, well-staged and violent encounters. When he turns to the mystery of his captor,Josh Brolin plays an arrogant, drunken ad exec who gets locked in a room for twenty years…yes, years. When he's finally released, he must identify his captor before he can seek revenge and be reunited with his daughter. After his one-room ordeal, you expect extreme retribution and there is some: a few brief, well-staged and violent encounters. When he turns to the mystery of his captor, things become more and more convoluted: the villain's omnipresence, those unlikely coincidences and ultimately, the surprise ending. Director Spike Lee has crafted some of this film to be involving and robust, but ultimately it loses momentum and proves a disappointment. Expand
  21. Dec 5, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really enjoyed this film. I thought the cast was great (although I have a few questions) and that it had it's own feel despite being a remake. I will say though this is Sharlto Copley's worst performance. I don't know how much that is Spike Lee's fault, but he just wasn't a very believable villain I mean c'mon Spike did you see Elysium!? Josh Brolin was awesome and Liz Olsen not only looked great but played a very important role. I think the trailer and some other things ruined the whole twist/point of the film but for the new fans in the audience it was well received. However, it does get a little campy and Sam Jackson's character looks a little ridiculous. I will say it's not for everyone and there has been a ton of great films this year but Oldboy holds up somewhere in the middle of the pack. Expand
  22. Dec 3, 2013
    7
    Not a terrible movie by all means but if you have seen the original you know what is coming. Wish it tried something different, it had some minor stuff but nothing that I can say was major improvement. If you haven't seen the original you might like this and be surprised, if you've seen the original I say see it when it comes on tv or something just to compare it to the original one.
  23. Dec 3, 2013
    3
    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.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
  24. Dec 2, 2013
    7
    A few others have said this already but be wary of both the critical and user reviews they seem to largely be commenting on this movie in relation to the original. And I'll put it out there and say, without question, the original is better. If you haven't seen it, you should.

    If you haven't seen it and just hate subtitles (which is a shame, but I understand there are people out there
    A few others have said this already but be wary of both the critical and user reviews they seem to largely be commenting on this movie in relation to the original. And I'll put it out there and say, without question, the original is better. If you haven't seen it, you should.

    If you haven't seen it and just hate subtitles (which is a shame, but I understand there are people out there that feel that way) this is absolutely a worthwhile film. It is dark, unpleasant and at times shocking. As noted elsewhere, some of the artistry and complexity of the original is lost here. But, what remains is a much more adventurous and disturbing film than you will find just about anywhere in Hollywood produced cinema these days (certainly I can't recall anything this dark getting a wide release). If you like your movies shocking, upsetting, violent, gritty and generally just extreme you can do a lot worse than giving this a watch.

    For those that have seen the original but are curious about the remake, so long as you go in knowing it's in no way going to beat the predecessor it's passable. I realize people are divided on Sharlto's character I thought it worked, but agree it was not nearly as well done as it could have been. The first and third act have some significant changes mostly for the worse, I feel, but I credit Spike Lee for actually trying. And I should note they aren't changes to neuter the extreme nature of the film quite the opposite actually, I feel they just didn't work. In particular, there was a great line in the original, 'Smile and the whole world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone' (or something to that effect) which is haunting within the context of the film but is never used here. Despite it being a small thematic element I found it one of the most profound and the film suffers greatly for not introducing it. All that being said, I still prefer this over the shot-for-shot remake of 'Carrie' where the director tried nothing new and presented us with basically just a carbon copy of the prior film.
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  25. Dec 1, 2013
    5
    I came into the movie with open arms and i tried to embrace it but it just fell flat. Yes, I am comparing it to the original. Is that unfair? No, every remake has the opportunity to learn from its predecessor and fix mistakes but Lee's Oldboy doesn't do that. There are a few enjoyable sequences in the beginning but after Brolin goes to meet with the antagonist, the movie is almostI came into the movie with open arms and i tried to embrace it but it just fell flat. Yes, I am comparing it to the original. Is that unfair? No, every remake has the opportunity to learn from its predecessor and fix mistakes but Lee's Oldboy doesn't do that. There are a few enjoyable sequences in the beginning but after Brolin goes to meet with the antagonist, the movie is almost worthless to continue watching. It doesn't match the pacing, suspense, or acting from '03. It's so poorly directed that I laughed at inappropriate moments. And there's this soap opera behind-the-shoulder zoom-out around the finale that feels like a megaton bomb of garbage thrown in for good measure; to assure that no one would walk away satisfied from the theater. There's no contest between this and the original. In it's own right, I give the movie a 5. 5 for the first half of the movie and 0 for the other half. On a side note, Josh Brolin was not the right choice for this project. He can't match the dynamic emotional acting that we saw Choi give in 2003. That was so critical to the sympathy the main character is supposed to draw. Expand
  26. 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
    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.
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  27. Nov 30, 2013
    7
    I'm gonna be up front and honest. I've never seen a Spike Lee film and I've never seen the original. Knowing that the original had such high acclaim this film had huge shoes to fill. People keep saying that this film is unnecessary which is stupid because most films that are made today are unnecessary, they obviously wanted to put a new look on an acclaimed Korean story and I appreciateI'm gonna be up front and honest. I've never seen a Spike Lee film and I've never seen the original. Knowing that the original had such high acclaim this film had huge shoes to fill. People keep saying that this film is unnecessary which is stupid because most films that are made today are unnecessary, they obviously wanted to put a new look on an acclaimed Korean story and I appreciate that. The story was very interesting and kept me guessing throughout its entirety. Josh Brolin is a great American actor who pulled off his role as Joe really well. The antagonist was kind of a joke, his attitude throughout was so fake. The twist was just crazy and I couldn't have ever seen that coming and I don't think anyone would've unless you've seen the original already. So honestly if I had to commend anything it would be Josh Brolin and his performance because he played it off so well. In conclusion I liked this film, it was a good hour and 45 minutes of entertainment and I didn't based everything off the fact that its a remake and its directed by Spike Lee. Expand
  28. Nov 29, 2013
    9
    Everyone in the review section is a idiot. They're just hating on it because it's a remake.

    This movie was great. I'll just leave it at that.

    And IMO this stacks well with the orginal, I'll even say it does just about everything better.
    Again don't listen to these but hurt idiots, they just can't take off their nostalgia goggles.
  29. Nov 28, 2013
    4
    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.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.
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  30. Nov 27, 2013
    1
    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,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
  31. 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.
  32. 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.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. Expand
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: Curtis Woloschuk
    Dec 9, 2013
    40
    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
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 4, 2013
    50
    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.