Oldboy (2013) Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson Movie Review

Oldboy (2013)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Josh Brolin in Oldboy (2013)

A Newer Oldboy

Advertising exec Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is a real piece of work, he spends most of his day sneaking drink, insulting others and basically being an arrogant prick. But then one night after returning to a hotel woman with a woman he picked up he wakes up in the morning to find his hotel room is actually a metal cell. For 20 years he is kept locked up there where he learns through TV that he has been set up for the brutal rape and murder of his wife. Now 20 years after being locked up Joe manages to escape and now he is not only after revenge but he is after answers. Trouble is the kind hearted Marie (Elizabeth Olsen) who comes to the aid of Joe is going to get caught up in his mess.

I have watched and even reviewed the original "Oldboy" but other than remembering a man ending up kept in a room for a long time and then when he got out he went looking for revenge I don't remember the details of what happened. And that is a good thing when watching Spike Lee's Hollywood remake. Now Lee has done a very good job at delivering the story for a mass western population. As such the basics of the story are still there with the first part being about the destruction and rebuilding of Joe in his solitary confinement whilst the second part sees him out for revenge and answers. But some of the detail and the creativity of it is switched out for some American cliche which will for the intended audience but maybe not for those who enjoyed the original.

Elizabeth Olsen in Oldboy (2013)

But this version of "Oldboy" is a very visual movie with powerful scenes from watching the destruction of Joe in the room to an almost arcade style fight scene as he takes down wave after wave of bad guys with what he learned from watching TV in the room. Maybe it lacks some of the shock power of the original but again it works well for the intended mass western audience who may not feel comfortable with being challenged in the same way as the original did although scenes of violence still have a huge impact.

And now I feel a bit like a broken record as the performances of Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen are good, they work well for that intended western audience. But when it comes to the quirkier of characters, those played by Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson they seem too quirky and so whilst attention grabbing not in tune with everything else.

What this all boils down to is that "Oldboy" is a good remake when you take in to account this was made for an American audience and not intended for those who enjoyed the original. But it doesn't quite have the same captivating power as the original.