Oldboy

18/100

Terrible. It's the result of an American Studio looking past cultural intricacies and bravura filmmaking, only seeing a twist in need of squandering and empty spaces where product placement can be needlessly shoved in. Spike Lee does the best with what he's given (there's a reason why this is "a Spike Lee Film" and not "a Spike Lee Joint") but most of it feels studio-mandated and misjudged. I'd go crazy for the supposed Director's Cut just to see Lee's full vision, although I wouldn't count on a drastic shift in merit or value. Spike Lee, along with acclaimed DP Sean Bobbitt, fully commits to crazed comic-book images and sweltering intensity, but even Josh Brolin (quite good here) can't raise the film's personalized energy to a unique level. It's comprised of screams and blood spurts, surreal moments and cathartic revelations, but Lee's re-imagining offers none of the soul or the poetry that the original modern classic is seeped in.

At its kookiest, artifice and movie sets, lights, and cameras play a strange role (Sam Jackson also *gets* the inherent goofiness of the material), and Lee's distanced angles really make colors pop, but for a film that tries to stay reverent to the 2003 film, it simultaneously aims too high (maybe its ambitions would be reached in the DC?) and still settles for only slightly out-doing its predecessor in shock value. At the end of the day, I watched a remake of a film that didn't need to be remade, and that already causes anger in purists, but the simple truth is that it isn't very good. Utilizing Shazam as a way to discover clues doesn't help your case.

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