"Spike Lee's Version is Just as Sick and Twisted as the Original"
Today, we have a trusted source's reactions to a test screening of the film, which confirms the good, the bad, and the ugly. By the very nature of clicking on this story you had to know there would be spoilers, but I'll give you one more chance to turn away.
On changes, pacing, and cuts:
There are only minor changes, with stuff like the prison sequence being longer and some tweaks to the ending. It’s not shot for shot by any means either, so if you see it, you should definitely expect things to be different and to cringe all over again. In terms of pacing, again, this was a rough cut, but at a little over two hours, it mostly moved along at the right pace. There was some stuff transitioning from act two to three that could be cut and maybe some stuff from the beginning. In the end (and this should be viewed at positively), I felt like I was in the theatre for two hours and was perfectly content with that.
On the violence and similarities of it to the original:
Don’t worry, this is going to be rated R. Much like the original, acts two and three are very sadistic and “wrong.” The violence hasn’t been downplayed even a little bit as it's just as sick and twisted as the original. If I had to summarize the violence in three words, they would bloody, gratuitous and hammer.
On the infamous "hallway" fight:
While they are basically the same across both versions, they do have some differences. Rather than a fight down a long hallway, Joe is tasked with fighting guys down hallways across three floors. Some people in the screening found issue with this, but personally, I loved it. It was ridiculous and over the top in all the best ways. Would it hurt to have it trimmed? No. Would it be the end of the world to leave it as is? Absolutely not.
On the integrity of the ending:
The ending is even more incestuous than the original. The “big twist?” Still in there as is. However, the villain’s character…let’s just say the best thing about incest is that it’s the game the whole family can play! The last few minutes differ greatly from the Korean film in a way that I feel fits this version very well. I don’t want to give away too much, but to me, it almost makes more sense than the original’s ending.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie and I can’t wait to see the final version of it in theatres. Even after seeing the original, I could say that I like them equally as much. The acting, story, and action all outweigh the negatives of the film, which can (and hopefully will be) fixed up before the final cut‘s release. I’ll give it an 8/10. And, as a quick note, the film was presented without a title, so we might have to start referring to it as something else sometime soon.
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"Has Park Chanwook been approached by Spike Lee for the Remake?"
One thing we haven't been sure of when it comes to the remake of Park Chan-Wook's OLDBOY is whether or not he is actually involved with Spike Lee's production. I'm sort of surprised this hasn't already come up, especially since the fan outcries of the remake have not been favorable. Someone let me know if the general opinion on this topic has changed.
When speaking with the director on his latest, STOKER, The Wall Street Journal wondered if Chan-Wook had been taking part in the remake:
“I’m involved in the film as much as how I’d like if I were doing a remake of another filmmaker’s film, how I’d like that original filmmaker to be involved in my remake. That, in other words, is nothing. I’m not involved. I don’t really want to know anything about it. I want to close my eyes and close my ears to the remake. I want to go to the cinema as soon as it’s out and I want to be amazed.”
Gotta admire his positive outlook. Plus, if it is bad, he can just go back to closing his eyes and his ears. Chan-Wook is right though. If someone wants to take a work that's already been done, and redo it for whatever reason, then they should take full responsibility of it and make it their own. There's no point in doing a remake if you are just going for the same perspective. Then there would be no point of it at all. Not to mention that the director pulled the material from Garon Tsuchiya's manga, and as I said, made it into his own vision.
Sources: Joblo 1 and Joblo 2