‘Oldboy’ Viral Video: Samuel L. Jackson Welcomes You to Hotel Oldboy

Published 2 years ago by

In case the ancillary lesson of Oldboy needs to be spelled out, and in case the newly unleashed viral video for Spike Lee’s impending remake of the South Korean classic doesn’t get the point across, there’s nothing glamorous about doing time in a private jail. (Except, maybe, for Samuel L. Jackson’s edgy hairdo.) In just over a minute, the clip showcases the twisted justice money can buy for those with the resources and inclination to pay for it, taking us through the measure of a day in the life of imprisoned protagonist Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin).

It also performs a very odd balancing act, suggesting that Lee’s film will cut close to the bone of Park Chan-wook’s original vision and yet may end being a weirder rendition of that lauded picture at the same time. What we see here is distinctly, recognizably Oldboy, outside of Lee’s own aesthetic flourishes of course; those little touches happen to be the differentiating factor, the details that let the film be Oldboy while also allowing it to be a Spike Lee joint.

For those who still haven’t seen Park’s second entry in his lauded Vengeance trilogy, Oldboy‘s story concerns a man who, after being whisked away on a rainy night and locked up in a grimy, illicitly owned prison for twenty years with no given reason as to why, sets himself on a quest for retribution upon the person who put him behind bars. Lee’s movie will more or less follow the same track, with Brolin taking the lead, Sharlto Copley playing his enemy, and Elizabeth Olsen stepping in as his ally and romantic interest.

Speaking to narrative details, Lee doesn’t appear to have done much to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, but the more footage we see of the film, the more it becomes clear that he’s put his personal touch as a director on the material. His Oldboy looks immensely slick and smooth, exactly what one might expect from a master of his craft, and most of all, it looks like he’s fully embraced the darkness and heightened drama of its plot.

That might be better evidenced in the above photo gallery, though; each image here plays like a cruel joke, manipulating the idea of advertising a hotel for far more malicious purposes. Maybe that’ll alleviate concerns about whether or not Lee can take the film as far as it needs to go, though there’s already been plenty of talk from both Brolin himself and one of the film’s producers on that score. (To say nothing of the red band trailer.)

The big takeaway here is that Lee’s Oldboy might be derivative, it might be a cash-in, and it might be a whole host of other things, but it certainly won’t be bland. The film comes out just two days after Thanksgiving – something to be grateful for – so we’ll find out then. What do you think, Screen Ranters? Is this going to be a worthy remake?


Spike Lee’s Oldboy arrives in US theaters on November 27th, 2013.

Source: Cinema Blend

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
TAGS: Oldboy
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  1. Can this movie match the level of greatness of Chan-wook’s masterpiece?
    It has a tough road to take, but I’m trusting Spike Lee and co. to give us a worthy re-make.

    • I’m with you on this. I’m putting my faith in Lee and his cast. Even if it falls short of the original, it could still be a very good attempt, which I think would be a better outcome than 95% of all remakes that get made.

  2. Yeah, been rewatching most of Chan-wook’s filmography lately and that only makes me all the more certain Lee won’t be able to pull this material off. I mean, he’ll do something with it I’m sure. Something absurdly graphic, disturbing, and gross most likely considering the promotional material released thus far. Basically just turning Oldboy into everything its detractors have called it for years. I just hope this remake bombs and people quit repackaging Korean films and instead just let Korean directors release their (unedited) films over here.

    Side note, Lee is touting his newest picture as a vampire film? Does he plan on taking all his cues now from Chan-wook? Can we expect Stoker 2 in 2016? Good gracious, I hate remakes.

    I’m done now.

    • I would normally agree with you about remakes, but for some odd reason I’m liking what Lee’s doing with what I’ve seen so far.

      Some of the major problems with releasing the original version here are pretty simple.

      1. It moves too slow for an American audience, sorry, but it true.

      2. Spike Lee’s red band trailer has move violence in it then the whole original film combined. I know because I just watched the original on Netflix recently and that was something that I noticed right away. The epic hallway fight is pretty much it. Sure there’s other “violent” scenes, but they have the volume turned way down in comparison to what an American audience expects to get an R. Yeah, aside from the violence there’s other reason Oldboy is R, but we don’t want to spoil it.

      3. There’s no Hollywood stars. Again, sad but true.

      Lee appears to have ratcheted up his Oldboy remake and he appears to be doing things right as far as the rules of doing a good remake. Mainly bringing more to it. He seems to be matching allot of the impressive shots that makes the original so beautiful but adding something of his own to them.

      This is the only remake I can really remember being interested in seeing in recent memory from a foreign film. Imagine if Lee had directed the US remakes of Grudge or the Ring, they actual would have been watchable.

      And no, I’m not actually a fan of Spike Lee’s work, this is probably one of the few things he’s ever done I want to see.

    • I wouldn’t say that Lee’s turning Oldboy into something gross, disturbing, and graphic, mostly because the original film is already all of those things; if anything he seems to be hitting all of the expected beats from Park’s movie, just with his own visual flair. I don’t know if that’s enough to justify its existence, but I can’t deny that he really does seem to be embracing the movie’s edgier qualities.

      Full confession: Oldboy is my favorite film of all time. I own almost every Korean edition of the film (including the stupidly expensive Ultimate edition), several US editions, and I have a poster for the thing (which I haven’t hung up in my house yet because, frankly, it’s a little creepy even for me). So I’ve been unhappy with the idea of a remake for years. The only thing that really turned me around on it was Lee; he’s a master filmmaker, and I can get behind that sort of directorial choice.

      While I’m still not sold 100% on his remake, I can’t help but applaud what he’s done with it so far. And hey, if it ends up being awful, I can just go back to the original any time. It IS weird, though, that he’s making a vampire movie next, though even if that’s a play right out of Park’s book, I still think seeing the guy who made Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing make his own vampire flick.

  3. Well, I’m in.

  4. woow !! can’t wait to see this movie !!