Posted by: asianfilmreviews | June 29, 2009

Oldboy remake in trouble?

Rin’s comment on The worst remake idea of all time couldn’t have had better timing. According to Hollywood Reporter, South Korean film distributor Show East never obtained the rights from manga publisher Futabasha to negotiate a remake of Oldboy with Hollywood producers. This could slow production, but I have a terrible feeling this will just be a minor stumbling block for the combined wealth and influence (and egos) of Steven Spielberg and Will Smith. I, for one, don’t believe that either one of these guys should be allowed near a remake of Oldboy, or that the film should even be remade at all. If they’re that enamored with it, why didn’t they help give the original film more exposure here in the U.S. upon its release? Why don’t they attempt to popularize the original source material?

I’m not one to proclaim Oldboy the greatest film of all time (I actually think that Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the best of Park Chan-Wook’s revenge-themed trilogy) or even a modern classic, but it is a powerful, mesmerizing tale of revenge with an appropriately dark and abstract conclusion. Again, we’re dealing with Hollywood here. Take one look at Will Smith’s I Am Legend to see how a remake of Oldboy will turn out. Dark and controversial subject matter will be sidelined in favor of more audience-friendly material. Mark my words. It will pale in comparison to the original.


  1. A remake is never a good idea which I intend to prove on my own blog every monday (shameless self promotion) but Oldboy is one of my favorite movies and I have shown it to numerous people, all who loved it. The entire film from start to finish is very powerful and there is no way an American remake would ever manage to stay even slightly faithful to the source.

  2. I agree. Again, I think Park’s made better films, but Oldboy is an amazing picture in its own right. As far as I’m concerned about Spielberg, he’s in a very strange state of mind, especially after producing two of the most mind numbing assaults on commercial cinema and quality filmmaking – Transformers 1 and 2.

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