Follow TV Tropes

Following

Film / Oldboy (2013)

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/oldboy-poster-josh-brolinjpg-8861c30a0d103da6_1541.jpg
Advertisement:

Oldboy is a 2013 film directed by Spike Lee, and a remake of the famed Korean film from 2003.note  It follows advertising executive Joe Doucett as he is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his punishment.

The film stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Michael Imperioli, and Samuel L. Jackson. It was released on October 25, and the trailer can be seen here (NSFW).


Advertisement:

Tropes featured in this film:

  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Downplayed. Chaney has many of the same threatening sleazy demeanor as his 2003 counterpart Mr. Park, but Samuel L. Jackson takes the character in a more deliberately comedic direction.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Young Joe is an obnoxious, alcoholic and sexist prankster, while Dae-su in the original is only seen embarrassing himself while staggering drunk on a bender.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Downplayed with the Big Bad. The lengths both Woo-jin and Adrian go to in order to hurt the protagonist are largely the same, but the difference in motivations make Adrian less sympathetic. The men are both angry at the protagonist gossiping about their sister, but Oh Dae-su witnesses something that creeps him out whilst Joe witnesses what's basically a crime Adrian's father having sex with his own daughter. Neither antagonist are justified in what they did, but Woo-jin avenging his innocent sister's suicide adds a sympathetic dimension to him while Adrian's motive is partially to avenge his father, who killed his family and molested both his children, just further shows how twisted he is.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
      Advertisement:
    • In the original, the protagonist's confrontation with the villain's bodyguard ends with the bodyguard about to kill the protagonist, only for the villain to kill the bodyguard. In this film, the protagonist kills the bodyguard himself after a fairly brief fight.
    • Adrian is less unstoppable than Woo-jin. In this film, Joe punches and manhandles Adrian in the climax. In the original, Dae-su never lays a finger on Woo-jin, who spends much of his revenge simply laughing at Dae-su.
  • Berserk Button: Never call Adrian's sister a "whore" in front of him, as Chucky learned a very hard way.
  • Break the Haughty: What is done to Joe by film's end.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than the Korean movie, with Gorn being favored over Gory Discretion Shot. For example, the implied and humorous hammer kill from the original has been replaced with a hammer-claw to the face.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Joe against the students on the football field.
  • Dark Action Girl: Adrian's bodyguard is a woman.
  • Darker and Edgier: Subverted with the ending, which gives the film a somewhat happier and less ambiguous outcome.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Early in his captivity, Joe "takes matters in hand" while watching a Thighmaster infomercial with a pillow over his crotch.
  • Dragon Lady: Adrian's bodyguard is a tall, powerful woman wearing a Chinese gown.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Adrian wouldn't be out of place in a James Bond movie.
  • Fanservice: Joe and Marie have sex in a hotel, and the viewer gets a good look.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Joe goes through a bit of this following his release.
  • Foreign Remake: An American film of the original Korean.
  • Gender Flip: The bodyguard of Adrian's counterpart in the original Korean film was a man, here she's a woman.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Joe realizes he's been manipulated into sleeping with his own daughter, he has one of these.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Joe is a sexist alcoholic schmuck, but as we see over the course of the plot most of his misdeeds from from thoughtlessness, not evil and he DOES have a line he won't cross.
  • Karma Houdini: Chaney keeps his business, receives a big cash bribe for sparing Joe, and gets a fortune in diamonds from Joe in the end.
  • Kick the Dog: At one point during his captivity, Joe catches and befriends a mouse. Later, after the mouse has given birth to a litter, it is killed and served to Joe as a meal.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Adrian is very wealthy and has high-class tastes.
  • Modesty Towel: Marie wears one when she and Joe hole up in a hotel. Not that it stays on her for long, as she lets it slip before having sex with Joe.
  • Mook Chivalry: When Joe fights his way out of the abandoned factory after interrogating Chaney. Unlike the original, the fight does not take place in a narrow hallway.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Joe Doucett goes into a Chinese restaurant, trying to find the source of the dumplings he ate for 20 years, the camera lingers on an octopus in a fish tank. This is a nod to the original and the famous scene where Oh Dae-su eats a live octopus.
    • Joe interacts with a woman wearing angel wings. This is a reference to Oh Dae-su's first scene, where he drunkenly puts on angel wings he bought for his daughter.
    • The severed tongue is a reference to Oh Dae-su cutting off his tongue.
  • The Oner: The "hallway" fight is again mostly filmed in one take, though it's less two-dimensional this time.
  • Pater Familicide: Part of Adrian's backstory is that he is a survivor of this.
  • Pet the Dog: Joe befriends a mouse he finds in his bathroom and makes a pet of it growing quite attached to it, showing that while he was/is an odious and thoughtless person he is not truly evil.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Joe stops drinking alcohol, exercises and practices fighting while being held captive. He's in much better shape 20 years later.
  • Product Placement: There are several shots of iPhones and MacBooks, Chucky teaches Joe how to use Google, and Marie uses Shazam to identify a ringtone.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Adrian definitely comes off as this, even more so than his counterpart in the Korean film.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Subverted. Joe smashes the mirror because he wants to cut his wrists with the broken glass of it during his 20 years captivity.
  • Shout-Out: Spike Lee's brother Cinqué Lee plays a bellboy in this movie just as he did in the Jim Jarmusch film Mystery Train.
  • Surprise Incest: Marie and Joe end up having sex in a hotel — before Adrian eventually reveals to Joe that Marie is actually Mia, Joe's daughter, and not just an unrelated woman who he happened to meet.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Joe sometimes does this, such as the scene where he gets drunk and shouts, "I'm drunk!"
  • Took a Level in Badass: Joe gets much tougher after training himself over 20 years in the hotel room.
  • Wham Shot:
    • While not played up as one, the reveal that Chaney has got a dozen other people imprisoned in the same overly elaborate fashion is going to hit some people.
    • After Adrian reveals that the "Mia" Joe has seen through the film was actually an actress at his employ, he shows Joe how the actual Mia grew up, revealing that the grown-up Mia is actually Marie, the woman Joe ended up sleeping with.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After droppin' a hundred punks and finally getting that knife out of his back, Joe barely stumbles out of Chaney's place... and is immediately picked up by Adrian's people.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report