Oldboy Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Josh Brolin
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 104 minutes



            There was absolutely no reason to adapt Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy, and even less reason for Spike Lee to be the chosen director for this project. Over the ten years since the groundbreaking South Korean film was released, there were many possible directors attached the adaptation. At one point it was thought that Steven Spielberg would adapt it with Will Smith in the leading role. In my mind, the only possible director who could have done justice to the original would have been David Fincher, so perhaps I was biased in my viewing of the 2013 adaptation by Lee. This film comes nowhere close to the original. With that being said, there are a few moments within this unnecessary film which are at least compelling enough to be entertaining. This film may not come close to being needed for anyone willing to read subtitles, but at least it isn’t boring.


            The biggest problem with Spike Lee’s adaptation may also be the greatest asset, which is the Hollywood system. South Korean cinema has been influenced greatly by Hollywood filmmaking in the last two decades since censorship was lifted, and this resulted in a type of raw energy that is often missing from the safe business of mainstream American cinema. This film is a perfect example, utilizing violence in its narrative just like the original, only with a polished feel to it that takes away some of the energy. The famous one-take hallways battle is a perfect example of how a riveting and raw action sequence can be refined and choreographed until the magic is gone.


            The story is compellingly original, or at least it was ten years ago in the first adaptation of the Manga comic book. Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is an alcoholic businessman and absent father who is inexplicably kidnapped and kept captive for twenty-years. After the two decades have passed, Joe is released into the world with the instructions to find out the reasons behind his captivity. Having spent his time in imprisonment sobering and toughening up, Joe enters the world again like a wild animal. He is brutal and instinctually knows how to fight against any aggressors that come his way. Helped by a compassionate young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) and terrorized by a wealthy man pulling all of the strings (Sharlto Copley), Joe must discover his faults from the past in order to protect his abandoned daughter.


            Exclusive to the Blu-ray release are alternate and extended scenes, as well as the workout video from the film. Also included is a making-of featurette, as well as one about Brolin’s transformation through the twenty-years of imprisonment.  


    Entertainment Value: 8.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10

    Historical Significance: 5/10

    Special Features: 6/10


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