Ever since the success of the Grudge, 10 years ago, American filmmakers have been looking to popular overseas films for original ideas, many times simply remaking them. To many, this seems like a desperation move for original material, but I see it more as a cultural thing. Movies often reflect the society of the country they were made in, and by remaking them in the United States, the story introduces movie lovers to something unique, from a different culture. I personally find this very desirable and have appreciated many of these remakes, even when I didn't love the story. In his latest venture, Spike Lee takes on the Korean classic, Oldboy. This is a film that was remade simply because of how bizarre and shocking the story is. The year is 1993, and Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) isn't a great guy. For some reason, he's drugged and then locked away in a pretty decent looking room without doors or windows, and held there for exactly 20 years. Then, just as suddenly as he was imprisoned, he was released, and goes on a search for answers, in this seemingly new world. Josh Brolin stars and is usually pretty good as an ancillary character, but as the star of a thriller, I was skeptical. As always, he could have shown some more emotion, but he was much better than I thought he'd be. Spike Lee gives him as much help as he can, by giving him a huge cast of supporting actors, all of whom had name recognition. In particular, Samuel L. Jackson playing a psychopath, was very funny, and definitely injected some much needed humor. Oldboy is one of those films where it all comes down to the ending. If you're unfamiliar with the story, I won't say anything other than to tell you, that it is bizarre and twisted, with an ending the likes of which you couldn't possibly have imagined. Even if you start to watch this film and don't really like it, stick with it, because the ending really is that good.
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