This is the latest movie that I have watched, just tonight in fact. I have watched a few foreign movies in the past and this example from South Korea is a very good example. This version was a dubbed one as I’m not a huge fan of subtitles and perhaps a little of the story is lost in translation, but I was able to follow the plot to the end.
After Oh Dae-Su played by Choi Min-sik is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, he suddenly finds himself released and he embarks on a journey of revenge to find out who was responsible and for what reasons. The only catch is that he only has 5 days to do so. The film contains quite a lot of violence, but its the kind of things that you could understand a guy doing if he had gone through was he had for 15 years.
As a piece of film-making, I think it is actually superb, the direction is first class and the build up is very well thought out and by the time you realise what the whole thing is about, it is already upon you hitting you in a double realisation, your own and the main character’s. You suffer the same emotional traumas that Oh Dae-Su does and the feeling of complete inner destruction by the man behind what has happened to him. I cannot give anything away, but it lasts for the whole film.
The film is actually the 2nd part of a trilogy called The Vengeance Trilogy written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. Although the storylines in each film are not connected, I am definitely going to try and get a hold of the other two films. Oldboy also features one of the best fight sequences shot, without any special effects, wirework or CGI and it is a traditional piece of stunt work like a lot of films should be. It must have taken some time to choreograph and the final outcome is very good and you actually have a chuckle or two during it.
Like I say, if you can handle the language dubbing, this story should have you gripped until the end and I would certainly recommend it to fans of mystery/action films. As for a Hollywood remake? it won’t happen. Between 2008 and 2009, Steven Spielberg had apparently secured the rights to the story and have Will Smith starring, but not from the original Manga writers, but from the Korean film-makers without their permission and in 2009, Spielberg declared that the project was dead in the water. Perhaps a small shame as this film will now always have a limited audience, but I am certainly glad I have seen it and give it a fantastic 8.5/10. Check out the trailer: