A trend that isn’t so new in Hollywood is to take popular movies from other parts of the world and Americanize them. In this movie, Old Boy is a Korean movie that has been changed for an American audience. I admit I haven’t seen the original, but the summary is available online and after having read it, I am stymied as to why the changes were made.
The story is told much through the trailer. Josh Brolin is imprisoned for unknown reasons for twenty years. Yes, you read that right, twenty years. In all that time, he finds no way of escaping the single room nor overpowering his captors. For unknown reasons, he is set free. Instead of questioning why he was released, Brolin’s anti-hero is set on finding who put him in there and making them pay. Needless to say, the lack of direction by the brutish Brolin makes for a good deal of misdirection which culminates into a plot twist that is more than cringe-worthy.
Brolin has always impressed me as an excellent character. In this movie, once again, he takes centre stage and does so with great gusto. With that same compliment comes the trouble with the story. About half-way through I leaned over to my cousin and inadvertently spoiling the ending by guessing something that was well hidden in plain sight. I fault the movie only in its over-use of violence and sex and underuse of a very able cast and strong story. It always makes me wonder why gimmicks are used instead of leaning and revealing what was a great story, bringing that to the forefront. This is an interesting movie, but the Korean version might be much better and worth your $7.