Geoff Boucher
August 09, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Oldboy

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
120 minutes
Limited Release Date
03/25/05
performer
Choi Min-Sik, Kang Hye-jeong, Yu Ji-tae
director
Park Chan-wook
distributor
Tartan
author
Park Chan-wook, Hwang Jo-yun, Lim Jun-hyung
genre
Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it an A-

The poster for Spike Lee’s Oldboy shows a black-clad Josh Brolin emerging from a steamer trunk that sits in a grassy field like a forgotten casket. The striking image fits the thriller, in which Brolin plays a man seeking revenge on the mysterious villain who kidnapped him and locked him in a room for 20 years, then inexplicably let him go. Oldboy is the 21st feature from the feisty Spike Lee, but his first remake. It follows in the bloody footprints of South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film — itself based on a popular 1996-98 Japanese manga — which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and the loyalty of action-film connoisseurs worldwide. (At one point Steven Spielberg and Will Smith pursued the project.) ”It’s a big cult film,” says Lee. ”The fans love it, love it, love it. And I do too, but that’s a challenge that led to good things.”

Lee remains undaunted, especially since he got a message of approval from Park himself through their mutual friend Brolin. ”My man told Josh that as long as we make our own film and not try to duplicate what he’s done,” says Lee, ”he’ll be happy.”

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