Following years of development hell — including a Steven Spielberg/Will Smith incarnation — the dreaded remake of Park Chan-wook’s brilliant 2003 thriller Oldboy is heading our way in October, with an unlikely Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing) at the helm. In the role made famous by Choi Min-sik, Josh Brolin stars as a businessman who is abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement, until he is inexplicably released and embarks on a quest for vengeance, only to find himself trapped in a web of conspiracy. The first red-band trailer landed this week, and devotees of Park’s film and Garon Tsuchiya’s manga will be relieved to find that this film does not shy away from the gruesome violence and twisted subject matter of the source materials. While the remake’s existence still seems unnecessary — essentially offering a slick, English-language retread for American audiences with a slight tweak on the narrative, à la Matt Reeves’ solid-but-pointless Let Me In — Brolin at least looks well-suited to the lead role, and the supporting cast of Sharlto Copley (not seen here, but certainly heard sporting an unrecognisable accent), Elizabeth Olsen, Michael Imperioli and Samuel L. Jackson are all promising. With its obvious genre trappings and lack of NYC setting, what is perhaps most interesting about this trailer is how little it resembles anything Lee has made before, and despite my reservations I am curious to see how he fares with this material.
Oldboy is due October 17 in NZ. Check out the first trailer and poster below.