A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

An additional four to six-week delay faces students who have already submitted their FAFSA for 2024-2025 academic year.
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Amy Moore, Reporter • February 14, 2024

“Oldboy” falls short of original

Here we are again: Hollywood has given us another remake of a Japanese cult film. Movie lovers and critics have loved “Oldboy” since its release in 2003 and 10 years later we get the American version. Unfortunately for the target audience, what we get is a beautifully directed movie that does not take enough risks.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of “Oldboy,” the story follows a man who one night is unexpectedly kidnapped and left in a room where he spends 20 years there without any reason as to why. His only window to the world is a television that broadcasts the news. He finds out he has been framed for the murder of his ex-wife and his daughter is taken to live with another family.

Oldboy then spends his time training for the day he gets to exact his revenge. He gets his wish when he is unexpectedly released into the world and sets off to find his captives, helped by a young woman. The story is a beautiful, disgusting portrayal of what man is capable of when he has nothing to live for.

This American version sticks to the same formula as the 2003 remake beat for beat, and that is where the movie falters. Performance wise, the actors and actresses do a great job of bringing the characters to life. Josh Brolin does a great job playing Joe Doucett, bringing his tough demeanor to flesh out this violent character. Elizabeth Olsen is also very believable as Marie Sebastion, the nurse who falls for Brolin’s character; at times you really can feel that her character cares about him. Samuel Jackson plays the usual villain role he as portrayed since Pulp-Fiction – it’s enjoyable but not exactly new.

“Oldboy” disappoints not because of the acting or even the direction, as Spike Lee definitely spices up the scenery with bright colors that play off the usual drab raining backgrounds of the original. It’s the story that ultimately stops the movie from being on the same level as the classic and for that the blame lies with the producers.

Instead of taking the story and making it their own, they instead played it safe and did an almost shot for shot remake. The scenes almost play out exactly the same. The famous one-shot hammer scene, in which the main protagonist takes on an army of men with a single hammer, was cut so much it there is barely any difference between the new and the old version. The ending was also changed, making the character of Joe seem more likable, but it unfortunately takes away from what the original intended and what we are left with is this mess that does not exactly know where it is going.

Watching this movie makes yearn to watch the original version Spike Lee originally shot, which was originally 140 minutes until the producers cut it down to 105 minutes. In an interview with the LA Times, Josh Brolin said that Lee’s original version was superior in many ways. Unfortunately for us, we may have to wait till the extended Blu-ray, version if they ever decided to release it. Until then if you are itching to see an amazing, violent story with a surprise ending, I suggest watching the original on Netflix.

About the Contributor
Jarrett Rodriguez, Co Editor-in-Chief