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post #1 of 19 Old 02-17-2014, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
87





Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 104 minutes
Genre: Crime/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabether Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Spike Lee
Music by: Roque Banos
Written by: Mark Protosevich
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 4, 2014







"What is the fundamental question?"


Film Synopsis:

From director Spike Lee comes this chillingly dark tale of vengeance bursting with unforgettable twists and turns. Kidnapped and kept in solitary confinement for 20 years, Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) has suddenly been set free without a word of explanation. Obsessed with finding those who imprisoned him, Doucett wreaks havoc upon his captors, unaware his freedom is part of a plan and his true punishment's about to begin.

My Take:

Oldboy is a remake of the 2003 Park Chan-wook South Korean cult film both of which are based on the Japanese Manga of the same name. I haven’t seen the original film but the trailer for this looked bizarrely interesting. The plot revolves a not so nice businessman Joe Doucett, who is inexplicably abducted and imprisoned in a hotel room like dungeon for twenty years only to be released much the same way. During his stay he undergoes a bit of a physical and mental transformation after being completely broken down and undergoing a reshaping driven by thoughts of revenge and the hopes of making right the only wrong that he can, finding and reestablishing a connection with his daughter.

Once he is set free Joe’s actions continue to be monitored and steered by a nameless facilitator who clearly has a purpose. Exactly what that is remains to be seen but in the meantime Joe isn’t planning on waiting around and gets busy looking for clues beginning with taking a piece out of those responsible for the twenty years of misery he endured. As for the who and why, well that is a mystery that once revealed may or may not satisfy everyone but leads to a juicy little twist that may elude even the craftiest of sleuths.

Oldboy certainly isn’t for the squeamish and is a violent and visceral tale of revenge, consequences and fastidiousness. In terms of the story’s arc the film isn’t particularly good however there is an engagingly dark edge and mysterious underpinning that keeps it moving. There is ample thematic action along with the requisite bloodletting you’d expect from such a film. As the mystery unfolds you are left wondering, really? THAT’s what precipitated this? Then of course there is another thin but much needed layer that you probably didn’t see coming which for me was enough to elevate the film from mediocre to above average. The ending is anticlimactic but within the context of the story is apropos.

Oldboy is a difficult film to define in terms of what makes it better than other movies in its genre. It’s not a film that you would quickly recommend to friends except for those that you know might GET it. I found it to be dark, nebulous and oddly entertaining as its multi-themed plot played out right through to the end. When it was over I couldn’t help but feel as though the 90 plus minutes I spent watching it was a decent investment.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong brutal violence, disturbing images, some graphic sexuality and nudity, and language.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692


Oldboy comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 mbps.

This is a solid looking high definition presentation that uses an intentionally stylized visual design that offers a light grainy veil, dynamic contrast and varying degrees of chromatic saturation. It boasts clean, well depicted colors that offer a good mix of secondary hues that appropriately mate with the source material. Resolution is definable with appreciable fine rendering that can appear scene dependent. Sharpness wavers, which results in some scenes offering lucid clarity while others lack well defined edges and finely resolved detail. Black and white levels are stable which gives a fair amount of pop to colors and brighter exterior sequences while keeping darker or low lit segments looking noticeably punchy with crisp, quiet blacks. The result is a pleasing and cleanly rendered presentation that thematically supports the film’s elements.

The lossless soundtrack doesn’t consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it energizes the room and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dialogue has appreciable presence with refined vocal character and fair room penetration. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. There are several sequences that engage the entire system to briefly produce entertaining and room filling sound that is measurable (the finale is a good example). This soundtrack isn’t demonstration worthy but it readily delivers a satisfying listening experience that didn’t leave me disappointed.


Bonus Features:

  • (HD) *Exclusive 4 Alternate & extended scenes

  • (HD) *Exclusive “Talking heads” featurette – 2 minutes

  • *Exclusive Workout video promo

  • (HD) Making of Oldboy – 16 minute featurette

  • (HD) Transformation – 2 minute featurette

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

Oldboy is a remake of the 2003 Park Chan-wook South Korean cult film both of which are based on the Japanese Manga of the same name. I found it to be dark, nebulous and oddly entertaining as its multi-themed plot played out right through to the end. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition audio/video and a middling supplemental package that looks behind the scenes as told by the cast/crew. Oldboy isn’t a film for everyone but if you’re open to something a little different it might just surprise you. Give it a rent on Blu-ray and see what I mean.



attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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post #2 of 19 Old 02-17-2014, 12:49 PM
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The original film was AMAZING. From what I've heard, there's not much point in watching this if you loved the original. Too bad you haven't seen the original to compare
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post #3 of 19 Old 02-17-2014, 12:50 PM
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Thanks for the review. Your response is interesting, especially given the fact that you have never seen the original 2003 version. I am a huge fan of the original, and need to see this version This version was completely ripped apart by critics (for the most of it), but I am very interested to make the comparison.

You should view the original. I'd be interested to know your thoughts.

In fact, the media labeled Park Chan-wook's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance, and Oldboy as a trilogy in theme. If anyone is interested in this type of theme exploration, check out Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-17-2014, 02:03 PM
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I thought the original wasn't very good at all. The mystery of the beginning is interesting but the movie falls to pieces, especially with the absurd "gotcha" ending. Maybe the hype raised expectations too high. I felt the same way with Battle Royale.

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post #5 of 19 Old 02-17-2014, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repete66211 View Post

I thought the original wasn't very good at all. The mystery of the beginning is interesting but the movie falls to pieces the absurd "gotcha" ending. Maybe the hype raised expectations too high. I felt the same way with Battle Royale.

I felt the same way as you did overall on both films.

I've been looking forward for quite some time to giving this remake a shot.

I always take most critics reviews with a grain of salt.

The only 1 I've almost ways agreed with 100% was with Ralph's reviews. eek.gifbiggrin.gif
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post #6 of 19 Old 02-17-2014, 03:18 PM
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Thanks for reviewing this for us, Ralph! smile.gif

I saw the 2003 version and liked it, but have been undecided on the remake. I might wait for a big price drop or go with a rental to see how the two films compare.

Thanks again...

oz
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-17-2014, 07:51 PM
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Personal opinion... this movie should be banned and every copy taken and destroyed.... they should have NEVER attempted to remake the original... ~_~
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-18-2014, 10:18 AM
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I think there is more to the original than merely a "gotcha ending". Granted, it could be said that, especially if you're not a fan of the reveal, it could be a prime example of style over substance, but it has style in spades. I thought it was masterful in its camerawork and editing, at the very least. The hallway fight scene alone makes it worth a watch. And I thought the main actor's portrayal was mesmerizing. (Though the cartoonish acting job by the villain really undermines that.) And there are definitely some heavy questions it makes you ask yourself "what would I do?" if you were forced with those choices.

From your review and others I've seen, it sounds like this one neutered and/or misunderstood what really made the original spectacular. While the original, too, was violent, it wasn't the violence that made it the cult classic that it is.
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-19-2014, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post

I think there is more to the original than merely a "gotcha ending". Granted, it could be said that, especially if you're not a fan of the reveal, it could be a prime example of style over substance, but it has style in spades. I thought it was masterful in its camerawork and editing, at the very least. The hallway fight scene alone makes it worth a watch. And I thought the main actor's portrayal was mesmerizing. (Though the cartoonish acting job by the villain really undermines that.) And there are definitely some heavy questions it makes you ask yourself "what would I do?" if you were forced with those choices.
I don't mean to imply the movie was bad, just that the good was overshadowed by the bad. In the case of the "gotcha" reveal, the entire movie builds up to it and when you find out the motivation for the years of events leading up to the climax just seems silly. That and the mustache-twirling bad guy made the movie seem almost campy. But I agree that the principal actor did a fine job and I do think the story was interesting up to a point. Again, it's not a bad movie, it just fails to live up to what the hype led me to expect.

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post #10 of 19 Old 02-19-2014, 01:35 PM
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Loved the original... No room for a remake.

 

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post #11 of 19 Old 02-19-2014, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

The original film was AMAZING. From what I've heard, there's not much point in watching this if you loved the original. Too bad you haven't seen the original to compare

I've seen both. I'm in a different school of thought than most and don't revere the original as a masterpiece. It's a really well made, highly entertaining movie, but it was hardly flawless. As such I was actually looking forward to this remake to hopefully fix up a few of the things I didn't particularly care for in the original.

It didn't happen.

Instead this movie plays out like a fan made cliff notes or "greatest hits" of Chan-wook Park's Oldboy. There is nothing going on below the surface, at all. In the original, events seemed to actually take a toll on the characters, they seemed to actually feel things. This time around, Josh Brolin is directed to play the Oh Daesu character as a one note brute, he doesn't question anything or grow during the course of the movie at all. The plot is missing the glue to hold it together and instead you jump from scene of violence to scene of violence with no grace or actual finesse. The movie is void of urgency, suspense, intrigue and thrills. The end feels more like a "gotcha" than something earned or planned (imo, it felt earned in the original). It's just a really poorly completed remake, a little corny too and I cannot recommend it. Oddly, they did get rid of a couple small plot points that I didn't like in the original, but they didn't find good replacements for them.

Had I never viewed the original, I may have enjoyed this one to an extent, as it's still a little "different", but overall it's just a really poorly made movie that seems like it was hacked to pieces for theatrical release. Elizabeth Olsen did a solid job, the rest of the cast ... eh.
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-19-2014, 11:17 PM
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Whoa, what the heck?? I remember reading that they were re-making the original for American audiences, but I don't ever remember this hitting theaters...this is the first I've heard about it since first learning that a remake was in the works...how the heck did I miss this??

I have the original in my Netflix queue and plan to watch it soon.

I can't believe I missed this one entirely. Weird.


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post #13 of 19 Old 02-21-2014, 01:47 PM
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I saw the American version, and it seems that it was edited by the studio once again, against the wishes of Lee and Brolin, in fact in the titles it doesn't say the usual " A Spike Lee joint" since Lee took that off in protest.
In any case it wasn't a bad movie, based on the performances and the direction, but the so called twist is rather sick, and I don't see how one can call that "juicy" with a good continence. I know it's just a movie, but to me that was "crossing a line" of what should be exploited in the sake of storytelling. YMMV.

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post #14 of 19 Old 02-23-2014, 09:09 AM
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This was a weird movie, I enjoyed it though..

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post #15 of 19 Old 02-23-2014, 09:12 AM
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The fight scenes was something out of a Michael Jackson "bad " video, super cheesy.

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post #16 of 19 Old 02-24-2014, 12:40 PM
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My wife and I loved the original movie. I am interested in seeing this remake. I loved "Let the Right One in" also and the remake of that, "Let me in" was ok.

At one point, Will Smith was set to star in this remake and Steven Speilberg was set to direct. It's funny how things changed before actual filming began.
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post #17 of 19 Old 03-03-2014, 01:41 PM
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Let Me In had some phenomenal film making in it (the car sequence comes to mind especially), there is nothing like that in this remake.

I do hope we get the extended version at some point for curiosities sake.
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post #18 of 19 Old 03-03-2014, 02:03 PM
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Someone mentioned earlier regarding my remarks about Will Smith and Spielberg's involvement in Old boy. Here's an old link but it's not the one I had initially read a few years ago. :http://screenrant.com/oldboy-remake-dead-steven-speilberg-will-smith-out-ross-33910/
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post #19 of 19 Old 03-06-2014, 07:34 PM
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I just got a chance to watch this. I had to quit watching almost an hour in. It is a sorry attempt at a remake and should not have been made. It doesn't come close to the original.
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