It was hard to watch this Old Boy movie without comparing it to the original that came out eleven years ago. But I tried my best and gave it a shot. I just watched it as if Spike Lee made this original film that was nothing like any other he'd done before. I mean, I give Lee credit for stepping out. He has done a few films that if you didn't know it was him you'd think it was some new director. Films like The 25th Hour and Inside Man were incredible and unlike his other films except for that rolling camera thing he does. And yes he does it in this one and its silly.
Josh Brolin's character is an asshole. Just totally unlikable until it gets to the point where I don't even want him to win. You know what? Fuck it. I'm comparing this to the old film. This movie holds your hand throughout it so much that I actually said “Get locked up already!” They show so much of him being a fuck up, bad businessman, bad father, alcoholic, and terrible human being that by the time he is taken and locked in that room for twenty years it seems better for society.
So he's in this room where he watches life go by on TV for years, gets framed for the murder of his wife, and watches his daughter get adopted and grow up through this crime series. He tries to break out to meet her and writes letters to her. He manages to stop drinking (they gave him a bottle every day) and starts working out. They show so much of what is happening in the world that you miss that sense of isolation the original film gave you. I felt so bad for the guy in the original that when he got free I cheered. In this one it was like “Meh.” Oh, Samuel L. Jackson runs the hotel in this.
So he's free and minutes later while chasing a woman down he gets into a fight with these guys and just mangles the fuck out of them. He meets up with this chick played by Elizabeth Olsen. He finds his old friend played by Michael Imperioli and they try and figure out why he was captured, who did it, and how to find his daughter. Sharlto Copley shows up and is wasted in this playing a cartoon villain.
Lots of things happen that I don't care about because I know how its gonna end. Its just a matter of seeing how they handle the ending in an American version of this. And yes they fucked that up. I wanted to see the hammer fight and it was a joke compared to the original. The original was one whole shot with no cuts. It was brutal, sloppy, and actually felt real for what it was. This one had some cuts which Brolin and Lee both said was done during editing and they're upset about. But even if it were one shot the fight looks super choreographed.
This movie did have the honked up ending but it was not nearly as mind-fucking as the original. Fuck up, but not as fucked up. They even had the nerve to toss in a feelgood ending. Bullshit. Bullshit, I say! I'm gonna have to chill on remakes for a while after seeing this. There's a reason why this was Lee's worst debut and made only $4 million on a budget of $31 million. Don't bother seeing this whether you've seen the original or not.
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