Oldboy 2013 Review

Oldboy Review

I have to admit, I didn't see the original version of the film and this Spike Lee adaptation is the first time I heard about Oldboy. Josh Brolin was playing the lead, in the film that started as something very promising. everything that had to do with Joe Doucett's presentation in the beginning of the film looked great. Doucett's incarceration in the room was one of the better parts in the entire film. Brolin presented a disturbing view of the shell of a man that was locked in a room for 20 years and had zero contact with a human beings outside his mysterious captures. All of the fight sequences looked silly but great in the same time, it's amazing what can you learn watching TV for years especially when vengeance is your main drive.

Oldboy 2013 Spike lee and Josh Brolin
Joe's Hamer

Joe's release and his hunger for revenge seemed like something that is worth looking forward for while Brolin's presentation of the character looked real.
The moment when it seemed that Joe was about to escape, things started to deteriorate. At least if Joe got away by himself it could pump Joe even more to reach his goal but the way it happened in the film made Joe look a lot more helpless. I guess it was Spike Lee's point making his lead character look hopeless during and after  being incarcerated in the room for 20 years. The point was to make Joe see that he has no control of his life, every move Joe made was calculated and expected by his incarcerator.

Joe's relationship with Marie (Elizabeth Olsen) seemed to be a bit forced (the girl has nothing better to do in her life except follow around a complete stranger that seems to be out of his mind). The climax of their relationship in the hotel seemed to be weird without even knowing the final outcome of the act and its meaning.

The biggest problem Oldboy had was the core idea, the fact that Adrian (Sharlto Copley) sacrificed his entire life just to teach Joe a lesson, didn't seem to be realistic and seemed to be really pathetic. Adrian was a real screwed up individual thanks to his father and his entire family, still it just doesn't sit well, Adrian dedicating his entire life ruining Joe's life.
The set up and putting the plan in motion was interesting and the revelation that we got in the end in one of the final scenes of the film was shocking, The moment we saw Mia behind the glass window walking away you knew that something is terribly wrong in this scene. When the unspeakable was confirmed in the slideshow, Oldboy achieved its goal by shocking the audience with one of the most repulsive statements that modern society had to deal with.

After watching the 2013 version of Oldboy I had to check out the original version of the film (Oldboy 2003). Seeing both films I have to state that the original version of the film was a lot more raw and difficult to watch. Spike Lee's Oldboy looked a lot more easy and not as disturbing as the 2003 version.

2013 Oldboy adapted more to the current time. Despite the fact that Adrian's background story was a lot more disturbing in Spike Lee's version of the film. 2013's Oldboy was an easier experience to take in, and I personally enjoyed it a lot more than the original. Oldboy 2013 is not great but if you want to be shocked in the end you should check it out. Be prepared, the film deals with some disturbing issues so prior watching Oldboy, think really hard if you are ready to endure some difficult ideas that the film presents.

Oldboy DVD from Amazon

Oldboy (+Ultraviolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]- 2013
Oldboy - 10th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] - 2003

photo credit: justinbaeder via photopin cc

About Sasha Shapiro

Sasha is the founder and editor of Cool Reviews Rule. He is very passionate about Movies, TV Shows and some Books. His favorite genres are: Action, Fantasy, History, Horror, Sci-fi and Adventure.
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  1. It's the only Spike Lee film that I've ever liked. You were brave, to check out the original Asian film. I can only stand Japanese films, the others are difficult for my Western sensibilities.

  2. I'm not a fan of Spike Lee either, actually i don't remember a film of his that i liked. Oldboy was different because it was somehow entertaining.
    i completely understand why you have difficulties watching Asian films, the cultural difference is too big and they are a lot more difficult to watch.