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Watch: Bloody, Pulpy Hard-R Red Band Trailer For Spike Lee's 'Oldboy'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
July 10, 2013 3:55 PM
18 Comments
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There's only one way a remake of Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy" was ever going to even a have a chance of approaching the original -- embracing the fact the story requires a hard-R to get told right. And for the first trailer for Spike Lee's take on the material, the studio is making it clear that they've gone right to the limit and then some in bringing it to American audiences. Now the question is: does it work?

Granted, even getting fans of the cult original on board the redo with no bias is no small task, but this red band trailer certainly goes for broke in getting not only their attention, but everyone else's. Yes, the structure of the original is there, and even some of the visuals seem to be a bit mirrored -- particularly in the early scenes of Josh Brolin's character's imprisonment -- but once it gets rolling, Lee seems to be making his own impression on the story. 

Performance-wise, Josh Brolin looks to be pretty on point and so does everyone else, though Samuel L. Jackson may be on the edge of hamming it up. And like we said, there is no holding back, with blood flowing freely and flesh more than hinted at. And then there is that hammer....yes, they are redoing the nearly untouchable hallway fight scene, but with promises there will be a fresh approach. And while big question remains about how they'll handle the reveal of the movie (curiously, there's not much of Elizabeth Olsen in the spot...), let's remember that this version is borrowing a little more from the manga that started it all than Chan-wook's movie, so some story beats could change.

Lastly, this looks like a massive change of pace for Lee. While his films have always been strongly stamped with a sense of place, this is a distinctly alien world, and it's definitely not Spike's New York City (or any city that we can discern). In fact, the only real references to other places come in the montage of footage (nicely showing the passage of time) at the beginning of the trailer. Lee seems to be working in brand new territory without his regular toolbox, but damn, does he seem to be relishing in it and showing he's got a lot more to show even after decades in the game.

Thoughts, impressions? Sound off below. "Oldboy" comes for vengeance on October 25th.

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18 Comments

  • Donella | July 11, 2013 3:59 PMReply

    The trailer looks great! I think Spike is gonna bring it. I like his use of bluish color and lighting. Chilly, eerie. Exactly what Old Boy is. It reminds me of the green tint for Inside Man.

  • Youtube | July 11, 2013 5:02 AMReply

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  • cattt | July 11, 2013 2:41 AMReply

    The producers have said that this isn't a remake - it's an adaptation of the comics.

    And yet, it looks like a shot for shot remake. Most of the sets and scenes look exactly like the Korean film.

  • PcChongor | July 10, 2013 8:45 PMReply

    Well, at least there was no dub step in the trailer...

  • Nolan | July 10, 2013 6:55 PMReply

    I actually think the original is cheesy and overrated. It's an interesting idea that I think was done really badly. Sounds like the perfect project to be remade, although I still don't get why Spike Lee did it.

  • Jackie | July 10, 2013 6:29 PMReply

    I hope he doesn't end it like the Manga... I HATED the ending of that. The movie's ending was BRILLIANT... the Manga... STUPID! I am sold. Big fan of Brolin and dying to see how Copley handles the villain role... (district 9 is among my favorite movies)

  • Real | July 10, 2013 5:39 PMReply

    Pointless.

  • nechoplex | July 10, 2013 5:11 PMReply

    Looks cool and I'm curious to see how they handled the material's more intense stuff. Quick question: is the Jennifer Carpenter the woman who goes into attacking Brolin in the end of the trailer? It looks like her, but IMDB says otherwise..

  • MAL | July 10, 2013 5:02 PMReply

    I loved the original Oldboy and Spike Lee has never impressed me ... but I am intrigued. Great cast and the tone feels just right. I will give it a chance.

  • LeonRaymond | July 10, 2013 4:55 PMReply

    I love it -Spike stepped way out of his comfort zone and usual approaches to film. So happy to see he left the urban sphere way behind . it has that feeling like ONLY GOD FORGIVES this deserves me to see it !!!

  • Traie | July 10, 2013 4:55 PMReply

    Big Lee fan and love the original.
    Got chills...Sold

  • Kapuscz | July 10, 2013 4:54 PMReply

    The original was a masterpiece. Real shame that Spike Lee is doing this. I'm not against remakes in principle but remaking an excellent film quite soon after it came out is redundant, and for a director who you might expect to produce something interesting (though I'm not his greatest fan), it's shameful. Why doesn't he try and get something original off the ground or at least remake something that he might improve.

  • Donella | July 11, 2013 3:57 PM

    Spare us the whining, really! How many remakes of foreign films have been done in the last few years? Funny Games, The Ring, The Grudge, Rec, Insominia, Traffik, 12 Monkeys, The Experiment.

  • Wayne Bryant | July 11, 2013 9:39 AM

    SOLD!!! No need to question why a remake was done. Happens all of the time. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. When Scores remade Infernal Affairs people barely batted an eyelash. Get off Spikes back and enjoy the movie for what it is.

  • Chris | July 10, 2013 4:38 PMReply

    The original was fucking nuts! This looks good. Can't wait to see it.

  • Rob | July 10, 2013 4:36 PMReply

    I don't mind remakes of foreign films when they highlight the switching of cultures. A great example of this is the Breathless remake with Richard Gere. Unlike the original, Gere is the American this time, and the girl was French, instead of vice-versa. I will give this a chance, but it still is another damn remake.

  • JJ | July 10, 2013 4:11 PMReply

    Love Spike. Love Brolin. Love the original Oldboy.
    Not watching this.

  • Evan | July 10, 2013 4:10 PMReply

    The original is one of my favorite movies of the 2000s. I'm actually looking forward to this very much.

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