Thursday, July 14, 2011
Oldboy: A Spike Lee Joint...WHAT?!?!?!?!
Spike Lee is doing an Americanized remake of “Oldboy”.
Yes, you read that right…now let that sink in…
Spike fucking Lee is remaking “Oldboy”…what the fuck?
Not that I have anything against Spike Lee, granted that his films of late have been more miss than hit, but the fact remains that this is the absolute wrong guy to helm an Americanized remake of the 2004 Korean classic. Let’s face facts, “Do the Right Thing” was a hell of a long time ago, and to be totally honest, the only other film of his I actually dug was “Inside Man” a few years back, mostly because it lacked the typical Lee brand of racial undertones, and was a convincing and competently helmed thriller that still had a decent amount of flaws.
For those unfamiliar with “Oldboy”, the story of the film revolves around a drunkard who one night is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. No explanation given, no reasoning, he’s just locked away in a room by unknown takers. After 15 years have passed, he is released just as abruptly as he was kidnapped, and is given five days by an unknown mastermind to seek his vengeance. What made “Oldboy” so damned good weren’t just the visceral thrills, it was the underlining themes that presented the extreme depths of the human soul, and featured one of the absolute most frightening and shocking twist and climax, and a conclusion that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Now a few years ago it was reported that Steven Spielberg was interested in directing an American take on the film with Will Smith (seriously) in the starring role, but that seemingly faded away. Now here we are in 2011, and it appears that it’s full steam ahead for “Oldboy: A Spike Lee Joint”. Like I said already, it’s not out of any disrespect for Lee, just the fact that there’s no way a mainstream American take on “Oldboy” can ever retain the flat-out ballsiness and shock value that the original film offers. I don’t want to give anything away spoiler-wise for anyone that hasn’t seen the film, but trust me when I say that this is something that would have to be extremely watered-down for mainstream American cinema consumption; so much so that it will more than likely bear little resemblance to the film that it’s based upon.
Now let it be known that it was only a little more than a year ago that there was an American remake of another foreign favorite of mine: “Let the Right One In” was made into “Let Me In”, and I practically boycotted the fact that it was getting an American remake. I had no desire or intention to see it, solely basing that on the fact that I figured there was no way that the remake could ever match the ballsiness and creativity of the original…and I wound up being completely wrong about “Let Me In” in the end. Maybe I’ll be wrong about a Spike Lee-directed remake of “Oldboy”, and maybe I’ll be doing another mea culpa further down the road like I did after watching “Let Me In”…
…but I doubt it.
On a further note, watch “Oldboy”; if you can only watch one foreign film in your whole life, this is the one to see. It’s easily found on DVD, and it’s currently available to stream on Netflix too. Trust me, you’ll be gripped to your seat and glued to the screen the whole running time.