Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oldboy Spike Lee style

I've written about it in the past, the tendency of Hollywood to remake popular Korean films for an American audience that eschews subtitles and non-White actors in starring roles. And despite a mixed record — whether one considers box office receipts or critical acclaim — Spike Lee is pushing ahead with his remake of Oldboy.

Spike Lee doesn't mind having Koreans swinging brooms in his films, but all the hammer swinging will be done by Josh Brolin. The remake is being filmed in Louisiana, which seems suitable from what little I know of the place (Katrina, corruption, jazz, jambalaya, gumbo, the French Quarter, and Anne Rice vampires).

Anyway, if you're itching to see how Lee elevates or trashes the legendary original, hammer time is next October.



  1. Really? A tendency to remake Korean films. More like far from it. Hollywood has a tendency to remake popular films/books from any and every country they can that might make them a dollar or two of profit. Reimagined South Korean films are actually only a small subset of their overall remaking tendency. And, who knows, maybe Lee's take on the film will be at least as good as David Fincher's version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (I still love the original Swedish trilogy) or the Matt Reeves version of Let the Right One In.

    Anyway, I don't expect "Oldboy" to come even close to the type of profit that will be generated by the Hollywood/New Zealand remake of the British novel, The Hobbit, but I do hope that it isn't a debacle now that it has lost quite a bit of its original high expectations since Will Smith and Steven Spielberg are no longer starring in or directing the film as they were once rumored to be doing.

    1. John, I say this with the nicest intentions, but what is wrong in your life that you have to piss on everything?

      My statement of a tendency — be it great or small — does not imply that Korea is the only country from which American remakes are mined. Off the top of my head, I'd have to guess that France and Japan produce far more "original fare" for Hollywood to copy for the big screen, with Britain being a major provider of small-screen ideas.

      But when movies like "The Lake House," "My Sassy Girl," "The Uninvited," and "Juno" are followed by remakes of "Oldboy" and "JSA," I'd say that Korean films are being paid attention to in a way it hasn't in the past.

      Would you be happier if I changed "tendency" to "recent trend"?

  2. Well, Hollywood has remade the most Korean films out of any foreign films within the past few years. They are much more than a "small subset" of the remakes made in Hollywood.


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