‘Oldboy’ Red Band Trailer: Josh Brolin Gets His Hands Dirty in Spike Lee’s Film

Published 2 years ago by

Oldboy - a loose adaptation of the graphic novel written by Garon Tsuchiya and illustrated by Nobuaki Minegishi - is the modern cult film classic that made director Chan-wook Park’s name. The film is a harrowing portrayal of a man set free after twenty years of imprisonment by a mysterious figure, who then gives his captive a few days to determine the reason for his horrific “punishment” (lest he suffer even more). Much of the film’s popularity can be attributed to its brutal content, squirm-inducing plot twists, and examination of the dark side of human emotions (such as love) – which is why a Hollywood remake has been viewed with a whole lot of skepticism.

The Americanized Oldboy re-interpretation was directed by Spike Lee and written by Mark Protosevich, with a cast that includes Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, and Samuel L. Jackson. As you can see from the newly-released red band trailer, Lee’s take on the story is (as promised) just as grimy and graphic as Park’s vision, and his film recreates many of the shock-tastic moments in Park’s movie. In fact, some of those memorable beats look to be even more gruesome, under Lee’s watch (see how Brolin extracts information from Jackson).

Question is, will Lee’s Oldboy treat its characters with as much sympathy as Park’s film did, or get lost in the unpleasant details? After all, people sometimes seem to forget that Park’s movie is more than an exercise in Korean “extreme” cinema, it’s also one of the most humane portrayals of emotionally-damaged people – who are willing to commit detestable acts shunned by decent society – in recent memory.

oldboy poster trailer josh brolin Oldboy Red Band Trailer: Josh Brolin Gets His Hands Dirty in Spike Lees Film

Protosevich – whose screenwriting credits include I Am Legend and Thor – appears to have made some wise choices with his Oldboy script, which includes playing up how the newly-freed Brolin is motivated by the desire to protect his adult daughter (more than Park’s film did, anyway). Similarly, having Olsen’s character be a social worker – who encounters the homeless Brolin – may allow the events which follow to feel more believable and significant (given the American context).

Lee’s recent directorial track record has been spotty (see: Miracle at St. Anna, Red Hook Summer), but he is still a master cinematic stylist and understands how to take familiar genre tropes and elevate them. Such movies as 25th Hour and Inside Man benefitted from Lee’s filmmaking know-how, in addition to him largely staying away from the script writing (e.g. keeping his infamous cynical soap-box preaching to a minimum). That bodes well for Oldboy, especially when it comes to how Lee will re-invent moments like the famous hallway fisticuffs sequence in Park’s interpretation (which is glimpsed in the trailer).


Oldboy will open in U.S. theaters on October 25th, 2013.

Source: Yahoo! Movies

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  1. Good to see they are recreating the hallway scene.

  2. Wow . . . is it a little premature to say that I think Spike Lee might have actually nailed it?!

    • Way to premature.
      It looks almost the same but with more known stars.
      What is the point?

      • But it IS different. The fact that the guy who imprisoned him is holding his daughter hostage is different. The girl helping him is a social worker. The hallway scene will be different and Josh Brolin extracting information from Sam Jackson is handled differently than in the original Oldboy. It’s premature to say that there’s no point in remaking it seeing as how there are obvious differences if you pay attention to the trailer.

        • What you list as being different are relatively small changes. Sure they could change up some things here and there and even may have thought a different ending. Will it change the viewing experience from the original. I highly doubt it because from what I have seen in the trailer is basically the same. So no,I don’t see the point.

          • True Grit was nearly the same as the original. Yet the newer one improved upon it with minor changes. And yet this Oldboy looks as different, especially compared to True Grit mo ies. Anyhow, I realize I can never appease fanboys who still think remake bashing is still useful and original even if they haven’t watched the film yet.

            • True Grit was not the same as the original. Tone has everything to do with how the story unfolds and how it is received – the original True Grit was campy as hell to the point where watching it didn’t hold up at all. Especially given how they bitched out on the true ending of the story – the remake was true to the actual novel and the tone fit it far better than the original.

      • LOL! Didn’t you see Ju-On and “The Grudge”? This is america. We steal and copy everything. I love the original series (the other two movies by park chan wook that go with oldboy) and like the idea of american remakes, but think spike lee is the last person in the world to do it.

        • Spielberg almost came up to the plate to direct with Will Smith as the lead actor which I thought Spielberg was the last Director to remake

    • I totally agree, this movie looks great. I personally think Spike Lee has the potential to be a fantastic director, although I really dislike most of his films, Miracle at St. Anna and Inside Man were magnificently directed and I still haven’t seen Clockers. Anyways, this movie looks awesome, and I can’t wait. Marking my calendar! I haven’t been this impressed in years.

      • “I personally think Spike Lee has the potential to be a fantastic director”

        I will try not to be sarcastic with my reply, but I must say Lee is a great director and has been since the 80′s. You may be a younger person and if so look on IMDB and find his younger movies. Inside man is good and so was Miracle at St Anna. But those are far from his best movies.

        He is and very accomplished film maker. He is also a master documentary maker and that is often overlooked due to the subject of this films.

        2002 25th Hour

        2000 The Original Kings of Comedy (documentary)

        1999 Summer of Sam

        1998 He Got Game

        1995 Clockers

        1994 Crooklyn

        1992 Malcolm X

        1991 Jungle Fever

        1990 Mo’ Better Blues

        1989 Do the Right Thing

        1988 School Daze

        1986 She’s Gotta Have It

        Check out some of these movies to see his real greatness. Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing are to of the most critically acclaimed American films ever. The reason Lee get so much flack is because he is a jerk but many director are and the fact that he comments on race a lot. Most white people have not seen Do the Right Thing but think it is a movie about the “evil white man.” Half of those that have think the same thing. When in reality the movie is about “everyone’s) racial prejudice and how it destroys communities and lives. Sal the white restaurant owner is actually the good guy but most are too blinded by their own hate to see that.

        A lot of what Lee says he should keep to himself but he has the right to say it. Especially when so many people claim that racism is dead when actually it is alive and well.

  3. As far as “Americanized” versions of Asian films go, I thought this was gonna be worse than it looks. I’m not completely sold yet…I still don’t feel Josh Brolin is the best choice for the main character here. But it doesn’t look too bad overall. Not sure if it looks good enough to see in theaters, but I’ll at least give it a watch somewhere down the road.

    Question for those who have seen the original Oldboy though…

    Going off of the trailer, they show here that Joe already knows he has a daughter just by watching the TV while imprisoned. I’m guessing this means we’re not gonna get the huge twist ending the original had with finding out he was having sex with his daughter? If he already knows he has one alive, and what she looks like. That’s a bit disappointing, the original movie threw me for a loop with that ending.

    • I’m thinking she’s just a decoy. Adding a bit more weight to the whole ‘you had a daughter but she’s gone now’ bit from the original.

      • I am nodding my head in agreement on that observation

      • Could be a bait and switch thing, making him think the other woman is his daughter until the end.

        As for the “what’s the point?” comment, if it helps shine a light on the original with audiences who may not have heard of it then what’s wrong with that?

        I was one of many who saw the Godzilla and King Kong remakes and then went to see the originals for the first time. I’m sure Evil Dead may have the same effect, even if the plot is entirely different compared to the original.

        I’d normally baulk at the thought of an English language remake after the failures of Quarantine and The Ring in remaking the amazing REC and Ringu movies but Oldboy was always one of those movies that deserved a Western take and this one looks great.

        • So I need to see a Western version to appreciate the original Asian version. That is just a nonsense argument. A remake or reboot is only worth it if they change and enhance the initial viewing experience. So far only a few movies have managed to do that. I don’t think remakes are necessary unless the director himself wasn’t satisfied with some of the things because perhaps at that time he wasn’t technically able to do a scene. But even then there is something to be said of the charm of certain old school effects which might have added to the fun factor of a film. I understand the argument of bringing in a new audience to an older film to renew interest. But come one do you really need to see a remake to get that interest. If you love a certain genre won’t you delve deep into that genre to see what it out there. And with the almighty internet it has become very easy to find those gems that are worth seeing. So another no on that argument. Remakes in general are pointless.

          • you certainly don’t have to go see it. it’s not a requirement anywhere, so feel free to skip it, BUT, maybe some people don’t want to read subtitles because you lose track of some action, and dubbed versions are terrible, so, there you go.

    • Totally agree with your assumption. I didn’t have much faith in this but going off the trailer i can honestly say my interest has been caught. Just as long as it stays no holds barred and dark i’m a happy camper.

  4. Trailer looks good and I’m actually happy some plot details are different from the original. Park’s film is a classic that should be viewed by everyone and I truly hope this film provides new twists & new themes. I don’t want a replica.
    It’d be great to have the manga, Park’s film, & Lee’s film all unique…but equally brilliant.
    (But Spike Lee is hardly the same directorial caliber as Chan-wook)

    • Yes
      Spike lee is above chan-wook

      • He really isn’t. Sorry but no…

        • agreed to the umpteenth degree.

  5. You lost me. The poster gave me a smidgen of hope but this trailer is just so “off” in so many ways I’ve lost all hope that this’ll even come close to being a good movie. On top of that, this doesn’t even look like it’ll be a compelling re-imagining since Lee appears to think turning Oldboy into a gore-fest, porno, with no soul is the route to take here. Gah, this trailer just makes me angry.

    • Because oldboy was a g rated movie for the whole family

      • Bring the kids, it’s incest time!

        But seriously, my point was the extremity in the original had a point behind it other than just “shock value.” Obviously I haven’t seen this film yet but based on what I’ve seen it looks to lack any of the depth of the original while supplanting in even more extreme content.

        • What makes you think that the violence in this doesn’t have a point behind it too ??
          Go see the movie, then criticize it

          • Because of the pedigree of the men behind the film. Spike Lee hasn’t made a good movie in years and even then I don’t particularly like his style. Mark Protosevich has written such classics as The Cell and I Am Legend. This material is complicated and I seriously doubt these two can bring anything of quality to it.

  6. The entire and complete success or failure of this movie depends on one thing and one thing only: The Ending.

    I don’t care if they lifted it straight from the original movie or rewrote it completely. If that final act fails this entire movie fails.

    To tell the truth, I don’t know which one I’m rooting for.

    Could get interesting…

  7. If the twist is still at the end…….. People who haven’t seen the original will most definitely S*** Themselves! The reactions at the theater would be priceless!!

    • Lee already said the twist is different and is removing the incest.
      As I understand it, it’s not in the original manga; which he claims he’s following.
      That being said…
      NOTHING can compare to Park’s version; I just hope Lee doesn’t try to compete and gives us something fresh.

      • That’s not true. According to people who saw a test screening, the twist is still there.

        • I’m merely going by an early interview he did before filming began. I hope I’m wrong

          • I just googled around looking for what you’re talking about, and all I could find were interviews where Spike said he’d changed a few things here and there.

      • That twist was off the charts!! One of the most unexpected EVER! I’ve never read the manga just saw the movie, it’d be interesting to see how he goes with it. But at the end of the day.. Spike Lee did not have the BALLS to do the same ending, and honestly i don’t think a lot of Americans would be able to handle it.

        • The twist is still there based on word from test screeners but was it delivered right might be another question.

  8. You people act like Spike Lee hasn’t made any good movies before, do your f**king homework kids lol. He’s a great director.

    • Lately though his output has been pretty weak at best. This could be a comeback for him… Or it could be as terrible as I’ve been predicting all along. I’m leaning towards the “terrible” but I’m more of a Korean cinema fan than I am Spike Lee fan so I’m coming at it from a biased perspective.

      • Inside Man was his last damn good film. It took Ang Lee 7 years to direct his next masterpiece. Why can’t Spike take 7 years?

        • because the first thing he does is do a remake to a very good foreign film, it just screams of trying to appeal to a built in fan base for a comeback. Also, i don’t think the argument is can Spike make a good movie (he can and has) but the original director left a very special artistic imprint with this story that many fans don’t typically expect from many American directors or Hollywood remakes. So i think the question is will this be a heartless remake or will this be an interesting retelling. But after seeing this trailer i’ll give it a chance. Plus i’m glad that even though the story is crazy dark, they still use the somewhat whimsical bright sunny and alternatively cold color schemes of the original that made it seem vaguely fairy tale like.

  9. They are going to have to make the plot more believable and really sell me on the characters in order to make this movie worth watching. The original was almost perfect, I don’t know why you attempt to remake it, you will only end up doing it a disservice

    • That is my sentiment towards a lot of remakes.

  10. The original was a French existential movie shot through the glare of classic K-Horror psychology by the Korean David Fincher. This seems to be… pretty much exactly the same. Minus the three points I stated. Even aesthetically it looks identical. Therefore, I remain unclear as to what the point is.

    I mean, the world knew of the original. We are not talking some hidden gem cruelly ignored by the masses here. The world got it and loved it.

    Maybe it is just me, but I fail to see the point and therefore get excited.

    • Agreed.
      You expanded a little more than I but like you I fail to see the point of
      this remake. Isn’t it about time that some people learn to watch foreign movies. So big deal you have to get used to reading subtitles. Like it is hard to read something in your own language.

      • I agree, I can’t get excited for this either, the original is too good, people need to open their minds to world cinema, their is so much more to explore and enjoy!! A must for any Oldboy fan is I Saw the Devil, what a movie!!

        Awful poster by the way, why would you want to riff on the matrix?

  11. Whoa! I think this might be better!

  12. Looks intriguing but I’m kind of worried it’ll end up like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Let the Right One In where it’s more or less a straight remake with a few scenes changed. That’s the problem with remaking modern movies. You can’t really update them or anything.

  13. There are some truly wonderful books and graphic novels out there right now, why does Hollywood insist on making re-makes and reboots? Think I’ll watch the original then this and make my own mind up. But still, I’d rather be watching original.

  14. Look while the Korean version is remarkable it is ludicrous to say that an “Americanized” version is stupid. Many people have not seen nor have they heard of Oldboy and purist are just normal fanboys who don’t want there original movie experience ruined. Well here’s some advice don’t watch it; for those of us who enjoy movies and various interpretations we can see it without losing the experience of the original.

  15. I must admit, it does look intriguing…I still wish they hadn’t remade it.

  16. Chan wook-Park’s original is as crushingly violent as it is visually arresting & (as mentioned in the article) guided by unyielding directorial compassion. Spike’s a full-on cinematic genius; of a different character than Chan wook-Park certainly, but that might suit to elevate this re-make to new & very different heights.

    i checked out the trailer only after quelling a great deal of trepidation. gotta say it: i’m pumped.

  17. I have seen the original, and the Bollywood clone of this film and I think this one is a bit too “American” to be any good. What makes the original work is the raw edginess of the film / material and the direction of Chan wook-Park. The trailer makes this feel like a glossy big mac version of the film which is what is killing hollywood.

  18. Maybe this is a movie Hollywood needs. This looks dark and gritty. And spike lee ain’t afraid of controversy. Only David Fincher and Quentin Tarantino besides spike lee could do this movie justice.
    25th hour is a modern classic and inside man was brilliant too. So he has done some quality movies in the last 10 years or so.
    Obviously in the 90s he made lots of classics too.
    Do the right thing, clockers, Malcolm x etc

  19. There are some truly wonderful books and graphic novels out there right now, why does Hollywood insist on making re-makes and reboots? Think I’ll watch the original then this and make my own mind up. But still, I’d rather be watching original.

  20. Will josh Brolin be eating a live squid? If yes, then I’m in!!!
    Sorry Sponge Bob, I know he’s your pal and all, but that’s life.

  21. It’s been a while since I have had any desire to see a Spike Lee film. This one I actually might go see.

  22. Not sure that this movie needed a remake ever. I have seen the Park’s twice and loved it. This one seems different and I am not impressed by the trailer. Not even sure I like the cast, yes they are big names but so what that does not mean the movie will be good. I hope that the movie is good and has similar twists to the Park’s.

  23. gosh american and their remakes. Sorry but I won’t go see this movie, Old Boy is a classic and a gem from South Korea. I’m just waiting for the critics to come and assassinate it.

  24. Samuel L. Jackson as!…… Balotelli?….

  25. For me what Made the original was the ending knowing that I will wait for the DVD to see if there is any changes. Does look good.

  26. I was hoping this film would be a closer adaptation to the original Japanese manga. Where there was no incest and only one person died. It looks like Spike is doubling down on the changes that the first film made. More violence longer imprisonment and drastic whitening of the actors. Oh well I’ll go see it I guess.

  27. Well, looking back now after seeing both films I hope everyone realises just how bad the new one is compared to the original. Should never have been done.