Oldboy (2013)

This is a remake of a 2003 Korean movie of the same name. Remember how Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in the remake of the Japanese horror movie The Grudge? Remember how it seemed disjointed and kind of jerky in spots? Well, Oldboy has its own quirks that can only be a hold-over from the Japanese version. The fight scenes are particularly stylized.

Josh Brolin plays the uncouth drunkard who has screwed up priorities and a passion for pretty much nothing other than drinking. And that is when his life changes. He's locked in a hotel room. Or is he? It turns out, he's not. It looks like a hotel room, but it is actually a kind of prison. He doesn't know why he's been imprisoned, he doesn't know who has imprisoned him, and he has no way out. Josh plays his character about as well as he probably can. Mostly, he has the stoic face of directed anger.

This is certainly not the first movie I've seen where someone is captured and held against their will, but they never seem to go through the thought process of figuring out how to get out. I mean, they do something cursory, of course, but they don't figure out what the walls are made of, look at the ceiling for potential weak points, or examine light fixtures for feed points.

I was surprised when I saw Samuel L. Jackson in this movie. I knew so little about this movie before I watched it that I really didn't know much beyond the fact that Brolin was in it. It was a nice surprise to see Sam. I always like to see him in a movie, because he really tries to have fun with whatever role he's in. I remember listening to the secondary audiotrack of a movie that had almost all of the other actors complaining about how hard it was to film this scene or deal with equipment in that scene. Sam was the only one who talked about how much he thought it was cool and that the suits they had to wear were comfortable once you got in them.

Spike Lee directed this movie. The action scenes make me think that Spike has decided to try and one-up Quentin Tarantino. They are very long scenes that are mostly a single shot from the side with completely unrealistic one-at-a-time swinging wildly by the bad guys and seeming indestructible whirling blades coming from our hero.

Acting was good
Story was hard to believe
Dialog was pretty bad
Direction was interesting
Cinematography was good

3.0/5

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