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Oldboy

A 2003 South Korean revenge drama based on a manga and directed by Park Chan-wook.

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It's never pleasant when a man has to put his life aside for revenge.

  • Oct 20, 2006
Rating:
+3
Lots have been said about this film. It is neither a classic nor a flop. After seeing this film last night I found it to be pretty good. There's no reason to bash this film because it does deserve to be rated moderately. When rating a film I ask myself what the film is giving the audience and what the message that the director is pushing across.

Like Sympathy...Oldboy is another film concerned with the theme of revenge but on a first glance, seems a little more straightforward in it's approach. On the surface, this seems like a simple revenge fantasy, but as the mystery of why he was subjected to his confinement unfurls, things become a little more complicated. Lee Woo-Jin, his nemesis is at first a cold, calculating man fixated on destroying Dae-Su, but once his reason for doing so becomes clear, its hard not to feel just a little sympathy for him. Furthermore, Park pulls plot twist after plot twist out of his film makers bag of tricks, but manages to keep it from becoming disorientating like in say, Identity and the pace of the film does not suffer for these quiet, analytical sequences.

However, what ultimately lets it down is that you get the feeling Park wasn't totally decided on what sort of film to make. Sympathy...for all its flaws had no misgivings about the fact it was a dark revenge tale, but Oldboy cannot seem to decide whether it is a action spectacle or a twisted, Oedipal tragedy. The infamous corridor fight sequence for instance, while fun, seems extremely out of place with the rest of the film and can we really believe that Dae-Su is such a great fighter, when all the training he has done has consisted of shadow boxing? And whoever was in charge of casting should of ask for a second opinion, as Dae-Su and Woo-Jin look to have about fifteen years of age difference between them, when they're supposed to be almost the same age.

Aside from that Min-sik Choi gives the performance of that year and potentially his career. As Oh Dae-su, he undergoes a transformation of at least three different persona's, performed almost all of his own stunts and otherwise poured his heart into the movie. I will say `OldBoy' kept me entertain and didn't bore me one bit. It's truly work watching.

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More Oldboy reviews
review by . May 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     Few films go as in-depth into the concept of revenge as Park Chan-Wook's "Oldboy" does. There are so many revenge films out there to the point where every one kind of feels run-of-the-mill, even for what it is; but this film just isn't like those movies. In fact, "Oldboy" is unlikely to feel like any cinematic experience you have ever had. It evokes emotions; both tender and cold-bloodedly dark, out of its audience, and by the end, it has drained us like …
Quick Tip by . November 26, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
Caption
Park Chan Wook's 2nd film in the Vengeance trilogy is one of the best films ever conceived, in Korea, and anywhere else in the world. Truly a gripping, riveting, contemporary classic that won numerous international film awards. This is a tale of revenge taken to the extreme, Park artfully blends repulsive elements into something truly poetic and beautiful with an ending that is so different and filled with visceral impact. Park is one of the best writer/directors of this age.  See …
Quick Tip by . June 04, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
Caption
When I look back on great psychological thrillers and great revenge stories there are a number of films that pop into mind... and this is now one of them.   Oldboy is a superbly complex revenge melodrama with a level of action, violence, humor, and eroticism that will get you thinking while your adrenaline is pumping. The film is a masterpiece that won't be forgotten because there isn't anything quite like it. If I had to compare it to another film or source material I'd say …
review by . May 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A movie driven by madness is the shortest and best way I can sum up this film as it seems to be a plot focusing around which man can be the most insane; the one seeking revenge against his captor or the one who has done the capturing. I will need to be careful as the way the film's structured, in order to really tell anything of the story, I may have to spoil a few important moments of the movie so you have been warned.       The story focuses around a man known as Dea-Su …
review by . December 21, 2008
posted in ASIANatomy
U.S. dvd
      OLDBOY is the 2nd installment of Park Chan-Wook's vengeance trilogy that is loosely based on the Japanese comic by Tsuchiya Garon and Minegishi Nobuaki. I use the term "loosely" because the plot, characters and almost everything else is completely re-worked for the big screen. I've read that Park saw his film; "Sympathy with Mr. Vengeance" a sort of commercial failure, so he comes back with an effective counter-attack. Oldboy made me re-think …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
You can bet that if and when they remake this in Hollywood, it won't have anything like the punch in the gut that this one delivers.
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
By far the most graceful, yet brutal, of Park Chan-Wook's vengeance trilogy, though Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a close second and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is still quite the respectable film. Seriously, I loved this enough to get a tattoo from it.
review by . January 17, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
I popped Oldboy into my DVD player expecting to see a pretty decent movie but I got something way past that. First do not buy this film expecting to see a martial arts or action packed film because this is not packed it's just the right amount to keep you interested. There's more torture than fighting as you see Oh dae-su seek the ultimate revenge after being kidnapped and held for 15 years and then for some crazy reason he's let go.     By this time your probably thinking Oh …
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Ranked #85
Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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Wiki

In the realm of revenge thrillers, you'd be hard pressed to find more ultra-violent vengeance and psycho thrills than in the creepy story ofOldboy. This Korean import made a pop splash at the Cannes Film Festival and during its limited theatrical run thanks to the imprimatur of Quentin Tarantino, who raved about it and its visionary director, Chan-wook Park, to anyone who would listen. It's easy to see why QT fell in love with the grindhouse attitude, fast-paced action, violent imagery, and icy-black humor, but it's a disservice to think ofOldboyas another Tarantino homage or knockoff. The darkly existential undercurrent in the themes thatOldboytraces over its life-long narrative arc is much more complex and deeply disturbing than anything of its kind. The movie's tagline is, "15 years of imprisonment... 5 days of vengeance." The imprisonee is Oh Dae-Su, an ordinary Joe who is snatched off a Seoul street corner and locked away in a dank, windowless fleabag hotel room for the aforementioned 15 years. Just as abruptly he is released, and thus the five days begin. Why did this happen to Oh Dae-Su? Ah, but that would be telling, and in fact we don't know ourselves until the final wrenching scenes.

Oldboy breaks into a classic three-act saga, the first of which details the hallucinatory period of imprisonment in which Oh Dae-Su wades from mild insanity to outright psychosis in the hands of unseen yet attentive captors. Act 2 is the revenge, when an ...

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Details

Director: Park Chan-wook
Genre: Action, Drama, Foreign, Thriller
Release Date: November 21, 2003
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: August 23, 2005
Runtime: 120 minutes
Studio: Tartan Video, Show East, Vivendi Entertainment
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