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Oldboy - Fantastic Korean film to watch out for

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I wanna give everyone an early heads up on upcoming Korean masterpiece, Oldboy. It won the 'Grand Prix' at this year's Cannes and is so awesome that Hollywood is set to remake it. :rolleyes: (surprise there).

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You can see it uncut at the Edinburgh Film Festival this August (I'm going). Alternatively there is a Korean Region 3 DVD out that you can import for approximately 13 delivered. I have a feeling that it will be censored for UK audiences due to a scene where a character eats a live squid. The BBFC have a strong policy against the cruelty of animals, but this might just scrape through because the dish is a delicacy in Korea and the scene is not out to deliberately offend. So could be accepted due to a cultural thing.

Oldboy is the second part of Korean director Chan-wook Park's "Revenge Trilogy," (after Sympathy for Mr Vengeance) where Park focuses extensively on the vengeance theme and investigates the consequences. Based on Minegishi Nobuaki and Tsuchiya Garon's Manga, this gruelling tale follows Daesu - a drunk man kidnapped and held captive for 15 years. Enduring brainwashing treatments and constant hypnosis, he is suddenly released without any idea why he lost 15 years of his life. Fuelled by revenge, Daesu begins a strenuous mission to discover why anyone would keep him prisoner for 15 years.

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Resulting in violent encounters with petty thugs and gangs, Daesu fits the pieces of the puzzle together, forming an unbareable picture that he never expected.

Oldboy is cleverly structured and paced, utilizing a flashy introduction and one of the greatest climactic endings I've ever seen. The story is brutal and unforgiving, which seems to be a trait from Director Park, but is also very cutting edge.

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Filled with stunning photography, lighting, fights and dialogue, it is unsurprising to see why Oldboy won the Grand Prix at Cannes this year. Furthermore, the score is absolutely vibrant - consisting of a subtle blend of electronic beats merged with orchestral music. I am going to hunt down the soundtrack CD.

If you were curious into experiencing Korean cinema, then I strong urge you to check out Oldboy. It's fresh, original and is different to anything Hollywood has ever created, which is why Hollywood are immediately remaking this.

DVD

The video presentation is very decent. Capturing deep, rich colours and accurate detailing, even in the shadows. The audio comes in Dolby 2.0 and DTS 5.1, so if you don't have DTS then you're screwed sadly. I wonder why there is not a Dolby 5.1 track?

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The extras on the second disc are awesome. Due to the movie's superb music, you can select tracks from the OST and the screen is organised to look like a trendy jukebox. Very cool. I cannot emphasise enough, just how excellent the music is in this movie, therefore this extra was a joy to experience.

You also have a music video from Starsailor plus some documentaries (unsubbed) and trailers. The packaging is very smart - two slim digipacks that house a disc each. In addition, all the menus are in English (with little or no Korean!) making it easy to navigate.

Bottom Line

Oldboy is a fantastic piece of work from Chan-wook Park. A very challenging film that is executed superbly, with plenty of unpredictable situations that will astonish and shock the viewer. The current Korean DVD is spot on, especially with the cool jukebox containing the excellent Oldboy score.

Set to be remade by Hollywood (which seems to be a trend with all the latest Asian hits), I'm telling everyone about this movie now so that you can check out the original first, long before the remake is made.

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Guest The Reverend Z. Munch

Its ace, i bought it off Ebay.

Ace scene in a corridor with the main character laying waste to a bunch of gang members with a clawhammer, and another lovely wholesome scene where he orders a live octopus from a restaurant and proceeds to try and eat it alive with the tentacles thrashing around inside his gob.

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I read an article about this a while back saying the CGI and fight scenes in the film are immense, as i recall it also said something about it being an adaptation from a comic book with roughly the same storyline. I thinks this will be a purchase when the pay comes rolling in on Friday.

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Guest The Reverend Z. Munch

I don't see how they could remake Oldboy into a Hollywood thriller anyway without changing a lot of the content and subject matter within the storyline. However, i think if they do decide to remake it, they should get a decent director to helm the project - someone like Chris Nolan or Darren Aronofsky or David Fincher, someone who will at least do the original some justice and not go out of their way to re-model the film to make it into some glossy glitzy Hollywood blockbuster starring Will Smith.

It wouldn't surprise me if they immediately got rid of the live octopus-eating scene, which i think is pretty integral to the plot being that Daesu is a man struggling to cope with the insanity thats clouding his grasp of reality.

They'd probably no doubt change the fight scene with Daesu laying the smackdown on a bunch of gang members with a clawhammer into a glossy Matrix-style bullet-time extravaganza and replace the clawhammer with the more U.S-friendly baseball bat.

Plus other themes like the hints of incestuous relationships within the film running in the film are unlikely to endear itself to American audiences...well, thinking about it, maybe audiences in redneck and hillbilly towns in America might enjoy that kind of stuff but i doubt the majority of American audiences would.

Hopefully though if they do decide to remake it, they do the decent thing and get Darren Aronofsky to direct it and get Gary Oldman to play the "Daesu" character.

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I read an article about this a while back saying the CGI and fight scenes in the film are immense' date=' as i recall it also said something about it being an adaptation from a comic book with roughly the same storyline. I thinks this will be a purchase when the pay comes rolling in on Friday.[/quote']

This is exactly why you have no money :)

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Just to give folks a heads up that this has been released in the UK. It's showing in Glasgow anyway, dunno about Aberdeen.

Furthermore, it is uncut.

Let's hope that Tartan do a wonderful job with the DVD, as they have done with so many of their recent releases.

I got to ask the director Park Chanwook a question at the EIFF... was well cool.

The Korean R3 DVD is now out of print, they are releasing an ultimate edition which looks fantastic but it's pricey... and it's missing the DTS track... :moody:

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Guest haigyman

i saw an advert for this in the belmont before i saw some kind of monster. i did "tag" it as "one to watch".

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god, heard about Oldboy so long ago...It's OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD news... it's def "THE ONE TO WATCH" as well as versus 2 and Ju-on the grudge (not the pissy SMG remake which im guessin will be weaker than a a paraplegic kid)

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god' date=' heard about Oldboy so long ago...It's OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD news... it's def "THE ONE TO WATCH" as well as versus 2 and Ju-on the grudge (not the pissy SMG remake which im guessin will be weaker than a a paraplegic kid)[/quote']

I thought Ju-On was piss, a poorly strung out collection of haunted house bollocks. A Tale Of Two Sisters, however, is well worth checking out - Korean horror, claustrophobic and confusing... until it all comes slamming together at the end.

Versus 2 could be pretty damn sweet.

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Finally got round to seeing Oldboy and loved every minute of it. Don't know how much longer the belmont are showing it but it's worth finding out. Such a brilliant storyline and so much humor for such a strange plot. I'll be purchasing the DVD asap. The fight scene when he deals with the corridor full of guys and then the people in the lift was so brilliantly done. Ace Film! Solid acting, solid cast, solid musical score and solid camera work... beautiful.

Cheers for pointing me in its direction.

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Yeah, one of my main reasons for going to Glasgow was to see this movie... amazing stuff, but messed with my head for a couple of days afterwards, strange going from the last bullshit Yank film I watched to something that unashamedly challenges your sensibilities...

As the Munch said, I don't see how an American remake could possibly do it any justice, and that's as someone who liked the remake of The Ring, and The Grudge... I just think the storyline's way too intense for them not to dilute heavily. However, the idea of Gary Oldman as the title character is genius, maybe the Reverend should consider becoming a producer, or casting director... though hopefully not in the same style as Audition...

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Cool, some dedicated viewers here... traveling all the way to Glasgow to see a film. :up:

nullmouse, I agree... Tale of Two Sisters is one of the finest Asian horrors I've seen since Ring (the Japanaese original). It seems there are so many "Ring clones" that it's nice to see a film make use of a structure that is original and puzzling. The film absolutely messes with your head; superb stuff.

Tartan will be releasing a wonderful 2 DVD set with subbed extras. Look out for it.

I don't know anything about Versus 2 (I adore the first one). Anyone know if it's still the same director (Ryuhei Kitamura)? You may be interested in knowing that Versus has recently been given the director's cut treatment in Japan. The new fights are even more brutal (excellent camera work) but the greatest improvement is with the new DTS track. The entire room shakes with every punch to the face. Importing the DVD is expensive, may set you back 30 or 40. Sadly there aren't any English subtitles either, but that wasn't a problem for me as I could follow the story.

Oh for anyone interested in The Grudge, here's some information about the Japanese originals. There are four Ju-On movies (all directed by the same dude who directed the American remake, he really should move onto other projects lol).

Ju-On: The Curse

Ju-On: The Curse II

Ju-On: The Grudge

Ju-On: The Grudge II

I've seen the very first one (Curse) and it's pretty decent. I'll see the rest of them soon. The same house has been used for all four films + remake.

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