Chan-Wook Park's 2003 opus Oldboy jumped into my top 10 films of all time list when I first saw it after renting it on impulse from my local video store. The film is dark, visceral, superbly acted and directed and it is constructed in such a way as to completely blow you away when the ending is revealed. If you don't believe I'm a real fan, I even tracked down the unofficial Bollywood remake 'Zinda', worth a watch if you need a good laugh.
So naturally I'm all over any news on the supposed Spielberg/Will Smith remake/reimagining that is in the pipeline.
With the film and the original manga well-known for their disturbing themes — and graphic violence, is the typically family-friendly Spielberg up to the task of staying true to the dark, violent nature of the story?
“It’s the thing that Steven was attracted to,” Smith told MTV News. “We’re working from the comic and we haven’t done anything other than talk about it. So we’ll see what happens, but he’s not going to do anything that would be less than stunning.”
“Oldboy” tells the story of a young man who has been imprisoned in solitary confinement for a decade of his life, with only a television as a link to the outside world. When he finally breaks free, he sets off on a quest to exact vengeance upon his unknown jailers. The manga was previously adapted to the screen by Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, whose film garnered substantial critical accolades around the world upon its release, and has received high praise from action-film junkies such as Quentin Tarantino.
I think Spielberg has proven throughout his career that he can put his had to pretty much any genre and come up with an instant classic. I feel it is unfair of MTV to refer to him as 'family friendly'. Think of 'Jaws', 'Duel', 'Saving Private Ryan' and even 'Schindler's List'. If Spielberg wants to go dark and violent, he can go dark and violent.
My main concern is the involvement of Will Smith. Especially since he seems to be in on the creative process a little early for an actor. I'm worried that his input will lead to a big, dumb effects movie like 'I am Legend' or even worse, sappy, melodramatic Oscar-bait like 'Seven Pounds'. Nothing in Smith's back catalogue convinces me that he can pull off this role.