“O” is for Oldboy (2003)
nce upon a time I didn’t reckon much to foreign movies with their annoying subtitles and dodgy acting. Since then of course I have grown into a mature, fully rounded human being and can appreciate things differently.
I have now seen numerous films from other countries, but my favourite of them all thus far has to be the original Korean version of Oldboy. “They” always say that the remakes never match up and in this case I have to agree. There was always going to be an updated Westernised version of this movie. See my review HERE.
So, it was a friend of mine that got me onto this movie in the first place. Gordon Macari happened to post up a video on Facebook one evening entitled “The best fight scene in a movie ever” or something along those lines and I watched it and was blown away. Now I’ve seen The Matrix, and Equilibrium and other movies with epic fight scenes in them, but nothing compares to one guy with a hammer taking on an entire army, or so it seems, in a warehouse corridor.
After I had seen that, I knew that I had to watch the whole even if I didn’t completely understand it due to the subtitles. I have found in the past that some of the meaning of the story is sometimes lost in the translation of the language, but in Oldboy’s case, this was not to be. It was easy to follow and just a great story. For those of you who don’t know, Dae-su Oh is kidnapped and imprisoned in a room for a total of fifteen years without know why or who by. When he is released, he is given 5 days to work out the answers and confront his captor.
A warning: this film is bloody. There is violence aplenty so it if is not your thing, then perhaps it isn’t for you, but as a piece of filmmaking and storytelling, Oldboy is superb. I found that I was completely wrapped up in what was happening to Dae-su and before you know it, the answers are revealed and you suddenly get what it is all about. If you feel that you cannot watch the film with subtitles, then try to get a hold of a dubbed version, there is one out there and I would recommend you watch the original rather than the Josh Brolin remake from last year. Oldboy is a film that I would have to sit down and watch if I caught it on the TV. I shall embed the fight scene at the end of this post in the hopes that it inspires you to watch the whole movie, just as it did me. If you have seen both versions, which do you prefer?
Fun Fact: The famous one-take corridor scene was shot in three days. No CGI was used to cleverly edit the sequence like a single shot but the scene was actually shot in one take (although a little CGI was used to show Oh Dae Su getting stabbed in the back with a knife and to correct some punches landing).