run time: 104 mins
considered: Action, Drama, Mystery
starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Michael Imperioli
movie summary: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for 20 years without reason. (www.imdb.com)
my thoughts: Oldboy is a violent revenge movie about one man who will stop at nothing to reunite with his daughter, despite being blamed for her mom’s murder. His only problem is that he is currently being held hostage for pissing the wrong person off.
Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is a drunk con artist ad executive who has been cheating people his whole life. His marriage is over and he doesn’t really care about his daughter. One night he is drugged, kidnapped, and wakes up in a hotel room where he will live for the next twenty years.
While in captivity Joe finds out his ex-wife is brutally murdered, he is framed for the crime, and his daughter is adopted. He works out everyday and bulks up for his escape which fails. Shortly after his failed attempt, he is released for some unknown reason. Once on the streets again, Joe’s kidnapper sends him on a wild goose chase to find out who locked him and why. Should he succeed he’ll get all the answers he’s dying to know, be reunited with his daughter, and be handsomely rewarded with diamonds and cash.
Oldboy kicks up the violence when Joe is on his pursuit. He meets a young nurse named Marie Sebastian (Elizabeth Olsen) who believes his story and tries to help him. Together the pair discover all the evidence they need to win but there’s a major plot twist at the end that no one will see coming.
Very slow through out the first hour plus, Oldboy is just a gruesome flick about revenge. Brolin is actually fantastic as a drunk turned fighting machine, but doesn’t actually have much character build up otherwise. Olsen is great as the caring nurse who goes out of her way to help people in need, but always ends up hurt. Despite a few laugh out loud moments, like when Joe attempts to use a cell phone and the internet, this movie would have been worth watching on Netflix or on a cheap day, not for the full price of admission. I’m not sure how the original Korean version measures up, but now that I have seen one I don’t feel the need to watch the other.
my star rating: 4 out 10.