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Spike Lee’s Oldboy Was Better

February 17, 2014

Not trying to be incendiary, it’s the truth. I am a big fan of the original Oldboy. But everything that was dumb, useless, and absurd was taken out or made to make more sense in the remake.
I felt like I was the only person in the world that was excited for Lee’s reimagining of Park Chan-wook’s masterpiece. But, because of my demanding work schedule, I didn’t get to see it right away. Well, unfortunately I was pretty much right about being the only one that wanted to see it. In a five day opening, it made just over $1M… those are B-movie type profits. Moreover, when my schedule opened up and I plotted out time to go see it (which was less than two weeks later), it had already been ushered out of the theaters.
I just watched Lee’s Oldboy last night through some all too normal, albeit illegal, means… I downloaded it. I figured, with the bad publicity and terrible reviews, I was wasting my time trying to see it anyway. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Because of that, I feel really bad for Spike. He got set up. He got put in a losing position. No matter what, fanboys were going to hate it because it was made… period. And, let’s just call it as we see it, critics hate Spike Lee. So he was already way behind the eight ball. Then the studios clearly weren’t trying to put any money behind it. I feel like it was a concerted effort to make sure Lee will not be allowed to make another big budget movie again. That sucks.
I’ll give you hardcore fans the fact that Chan-wook’s iconic, single shot fight scene in the original was broken up in Lee’s. It borderlines blasphemy (although, I believe it was Lee’s plan to have a continuous shot). Nevertheless, the remake was better. I’d even venture so far as to say much better. It was more palatable and more believable. So if you’re mad there was no stupid giant ant or octopus snack or hypnotism in Lee’s remake, I can’t help you. But if you’re willing to believe that Park Chan-wook’s movie actually could have been improved upon, I’d suggest you seek it out.
To Spike Lee, you made a damn good film. I wish I could’ve seen it in the theater, but consider the BluRay bought. You were very ambitious playing a game you couldn’t win. I enjoyed the sport.

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