Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Spike Lee|
|Produced by||Roy Lee
|Screenplay by||Mark Protosevich|
Old Boy (manga)
by Garon Tsuchiya
|Music by||Roque Baños|
|Edited by||Barry Alexander Brown|
|Box office||$4.9 million|
Oldboy is a 2013 American remake of Park Chan-wook's 2003 South Korean cult film, which is based on the Japanese manga with the same name, published 1996–98. Directed by Spike Lee and written by Mark Protosevich, the film stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley.
The film was released on November 27, 2013. It was the last film to be distributed by FilmDistrict, before Focus Features absorbed the company in October 2013. It received a mixed reception from both critics and audiences, with praise towards the acting and visual style, but criticism for the comparisons to the original and adding nothing new to the film. The film was a box office bomb, being one of Lee's worst-performing films of his directing career.
In 1993, Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is an alcoholic advertising executive for his company. His constant drinking has gotten him into frequent trouble at work and one day his ex-wife Donna berates him for missing his daughter Mia's 3rd birthday, which he brushes off. Later that night he ruins a meeting with a highly potential client, Daniel Newcombe (Lance Reddick), by hitting on his girlfriend. Knowing that he will likely be fired for his failure, Joe goes on a drinking spree and gets hopelessly drunk he had to sleep rough for the night and goes to a bar owned by his friend Chucky (Michael Imperioli), who refuses him entry. While stuck outside in the rain, he spots a woman with a yellow umbrella who takes him away before he passes out.
He awakens in an isolated, locked hotel room, and finds that he is being held prisoner. His captors provide him with basic hygiene items and meager portions of processed food and vitamin pills, along with a pint of vodka with every meal to prevent withdrawal, but do not provide reason for his imprisonment. Through a news bulletin on the TV in the room, Joe learns that Donna has been brutally raped and murdered, and he is the prime suspect. He also learns that Mia has been adopted. After being prevented from committing suicide, Joe starts writing Mia letters, gives up drinking, and spends the next 20 years planning his revenge. He gets in shape, becomes a skilled boxer by watching televised matches, and compiles a list of everyone who might be responsible for his imprisonment, with Newcombe being the prime suspect.
In 2013, Joe watches an adult Mia being interviewed by a TV show called Mysteries of Crime, and claiming she could try to forgive him if he returns. Suddenly, he is drugged and awakes in a trunk in a field, with money and a cell phone. He spots the woman with the yellow umbrella, whom he chases to a nearby clinic; there he meets Marie Sebastian (Elizabeth Olsen), a nurse who offers to help him. Joe refuses help but takes her card. He later visits Chucky and tells him what happened. He receives a mocking phone call from the mastermind behind his imprisonment, The Stranger (Sharlto Copley). After learning Newcombe died in a plane crash, Joe investigates the other names on his list, and learns they are all innocent. He eventually passes out from dehydration, and Chucky calls Marie, who gives Joe medical treatment.
Marie reads the letters Joe has written for Mia and offers to help him. With her, Joe is able to locate the Chinese restaurant that provided the food he was given in captivity and follows a man who arrives to take a large order to an abandoned factory, which is where he was held captive. Joe confronts the owner, Chaney (Samuel L. Jackson), and tortures him into giving him a taped conversation in which he discusses the terms of Joe's imprisonment with The Stranger. Joe is then forced to fight off all of Chaney's men, one of whom stabs him in the back. Joe is then returned to Chucky's bar, where he meets The Stranger himself and his bodyguard Haeng-Bok, the woman with the yellow umbrella, who has kidnapped Mia.
The Stranger offers Joe a proposition: if Joe is able to discover his real identity and his motives for imprisoning Joe in 46 hours, he will not only release Mia but also give Joe proof of his innocence along with $20 million in diamonds. He also promises to shoot himself in the head while allowing Joe to watch. After The Stranger leaves, Joe rushes to Marie's house to save her from Chaney and his men. Chaney sets up a table and gets ready to torture Joe before receiving a phone call from the stranger who offers him some money in exchange of Joe's release. Marie digitally identifies The Stranger's ringtone as being the theme song of Evergreen Academy, a prep school Joe attended. They visit the former Chancellor's house, where Marie distracts her while Joe enters through the back to look through the yearbook from the year he graduated. Looking through the names, Joe recognizes one, Adrian Doyle Pryce, and recalls tormenting his sister, Amanda, for her promiscuity. Joe sends the name to Chucky, who investigates the name on the internet. While visiting the school late at night, Joe remembers seeing Amanda having sex with an older man in the outside greenhouse, and spread the news throughout campus. The man was later revealed to be Adrian and Amanda's father, Arthur, who was having incestuous relationships with them both. To escape the humiliation, Arthur moved the family to Luxembourg, but could not live it down. Arthur then murdered his wife and Amanda, attempted to murder Adrian, and then committed suicide. Joe deduces that Adrian, the sole survivor, blamed him and swore revenge against him for humiliating and destroying the family. Chucky confirms that The Stranger is indeed Adrian Pryce and tries to call Joe, but Adrian, having cloned Joe's phone and hearing Chucky refer to his deceased sister as a whore, finds him and strangles him to death in a rage.
Joe hides Marie in a motel, where they have sex, while Adrian watches on a camera. Joe later goes to Adrian's penthouse, kills Haeng-Bok, and answers his questions. Adrian congratulates Joe on discovering the truth. He keeps his word, giving him the diamonds and starts taking him to see Mia. Along the way, Adrian tells Joe he is surprised that he hasn't asked another crucial question: "Why did I let you go?" He shows Joe a studio, in which the crime show Joe watched in prison was shot, revealing that it was all fake. Joe then happily sees Mia playing her cello in another room. Adrian then reveals to Joe that "Mia" is actually an actress on his payroll and, while playing a slideshow full of pictures and videos, Joe's real daughter is actually Marie, having changed her name and background through 20 years. Horrified by what Adrian has engineered him to do, Joe begs for death, but Adrian refuses, saying that he needs to experience this moment so Joe could truly understand what he had lost. His revenge exacted, Adrian keeps his last promise, and shoots himself in the head in front of a visibly shaken Joe. Joe writes Marie a letter, stating they can never meet again and that he loves her, and leaves her all but a few of the diamonds, which he gives to Chaney in exchange for returning him to captivity—supposedly for the rest of his life.
An American remake of Oldboy previously had director Justin Lin attached. In November 2008, DreamWorks and Universal were securing the rights to the remake, which Will Smith had expressed interest in starring, with Steven Spielberg as director. Mark Protosevich was in talks to write the script, although the acquisition to the remake rights were not finalized. Smith later clarified that Spielberg would not be remaking the film: he would be adapting the manga itself, which is considerably different from the film. In June 2009, the comic's publisher launched a lawsuit against the Korean film's producers for giving the film rights to Spielberg without their permission. Later in November 2009, it was reported that DreamWorks, Spielberg and Smith had stepped back from the project. The producing team announced on 10 November 2009 that the project was dead.
On July 11, 2011, Mandate Pictures sent a press release stating that Spike Lee would direct a remake of the South Korean film (ignoring the earlier version's adaptation of the manga) with a screenplay written by Protosevich. Josh Brolin was cast to star in the remake as the lead character, while Christian Bale was reportedly in talks to portray the antagonist character, but it was later reported that Colin Firth had been offered the role. Firth later passed on the role, which was later offered to Clive Owen. In May 2012, Deadline reported that Sharlto Copley had officially been cast as the villain Adrian Pryce. Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson and Nate Parker were all later announced to have joined the cast. Parker was later replaced by James Ransone, due to a scheduling conflict. The film marked Jackson's first time working with director Lee since 1991's Jungle Fever.
Spike Lee's version was 140 minutes long, but the producers heavily re-edited the film to 105 minutes (re-edits by producers also included the 'one-shot hammer' scene); Lee and Josh Brolin were unhappy with it. Lee even removed his trademark “Spike Lee Joint” for a more impersonal “Spike Lee Film” during the editing process. Brolin has also said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that he prefers Lee's version of the film, though it is not clear if this cut will ever be released.
|This section requires expansion. (December 2014)|
Oldboy received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 41%, based on 138 reviews, with the critical consensus reading, "Suitably grim and bloody yet disappointingly safe and shallow, Spike Lee's Oldboy remake neither surpasses the original nor adds anything new to its impressive legacy." On Metacritic, the film holds a 49 score out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The film grossed $885,000 in its first five days, one of the weakest Thanksgiving openings of all time, according to Variety. It opened in 18th place at the box office and finished with a worldwide gross of $4.9 million, against its $30 million budget, making it a box office bomb.
The film's advertising agency was also accused of taking advantage of the creative artist, Juan Luis Garcia, who created posters for the film. According to an open letter posted by Garcia on his official website, the agency was asking him to work for too low of an offer, saying that the "exposure" would be more important. Garcia claims the posters were used and imitated for promotion of the film without paying compensation or credit to the artist. Spike Lee responded on his Twitter account saying: "I Never Heard Of This Guy Juan Luis Garcia,If He Has A Beef It's Not With Me.I Did Not Hire Him,Do Not Know Him.Cheap Trick Writing To Me.YO". He also addressed this further on Instagram, "Why Should I Pay Someone Who I Never Met Nor Had Any Contact With Ever? He Never Made Any Deal With Me.Why Don’t You Pay Me For Your Stupid Text On Thanksgiving Day?". The issue was eventually settled.  Garcia replaced the letter on his website with a message saying "A big Thank You to everyone who contacted me regarding the Oldboy posters. Spike Lee, Art Sims, and I have settled our differences and can put it behind us."
|Choi Min-sik||Sanjay Dutt||Josh Brolin|
|Kang Hye-jung||Lara Dutta||Elizabeth Olsen|
|Yoo Ji-tae||John Abraham||Sharlto Copley|