Oldboy (Korean) – Too Much Drama

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Rating (3.0 out of 5)

Summary:  After watching the film I stood up, shook my head and mumbled “Huh”. “Oldboy” contains all the elements of a Greek tragedy with a healthy dash of Korean action film mixed in. My mind flooded with thoughts, good and bad. Finally, as I eventually settled my mind, I realized “Oldboy” similar to my thoughts, was a giant jumble. While there were good aspects to the film, there were too many negatives to rate “Oldboy” higher than a 3.

Plot: Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi) is kidnapped from the streets and imprisoned for 15 years in a mysterious room. When released his captor provides him 5 days to correctly solve the cause of his imprisonment.

Detail: The main character Dae-su swims through the full range of emotions and as the viewer the movie invokes a dizzying array of emotions. Many of the emotions were uncomfortable and some of those moments did soured me on the film. A tragic theme of incest premises the movie and incest with some of the graphic footage overwhelmed this kindly souled blogger.

The fight scenes are well choreographed and definitely a highlight of the film. Who doesn’t appreciate a man battling a mob with nothing but a hammer? He practiced fighting in his room each day, striking the concrete wall with his bare knuckles. When feeds, Dae-Su tests his skills on a young gang before getting involved in much larger scale battles. Dae-su did get hurt and struggled to continue onward, a refreshing vulnerable hero.

The movie hit full stride when Dae-su pursued the unraveling of his imprisonment. For example, Dae-su was determined to locate the building of his imprisonment. He reluctantly ingested dumplings at all restaurants with a certain word in the name, as during his confinement, his captors only served him those dumplings. When he discovered the right one, he followed the delivery boy and began the next stage in his journey.

“Oldboy” employed an overly melodramatic acting style. The style seemed more appropriate for a 1960’s Italian film than a modern film. One moment Dae-Su is tough as nails the next he is a sniveling fool. I wanted a bit more consistency, especially from my hero.