×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Preview Review: ‘Oldboy’ Red-Band Trailer

Anyone who has seen Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy” knows that it is one of the most elaborately confusing and visually striking Korean films of all time. Anyone who hasn’t will get exactly the same impression of the Spike Lee remake from the arresting new red-band teaser that debuted today on Yahoo! Movies.

Considering all the gnarls and twists the pic’s plot actually has in store, the trailer does a remarkably clean job of setting up the premise, the players and the basic concept of a thriller that asks two key questions of Josh Brolin’s character, Joe Doucette: “One, why did I imprison you for 20 years? And two, why did I let you go?”

The first minute rather startlingly whisks through Doucette’s two decades of captivity, featuring a channel-surfing blur of natural and man-made disasters (the Twin Towers, which respectfully featured into the opening titles of Lee’s “25th Hour” 11 years earlier, are somewhat jarringly destroyed on-camera here), and then the trailer gets down to distinguishing itself from the original movie, if only in terms of style.

Yes, there are two quick glimpses of the infamous hallway sequence, where Brolin fights his way through a phalanx of henchman, with only a hammer to defend himself. The scene makes more sense in South Korea, where guns are illegal and characters must get creative with weapons. (Here, it looks like a construction zone, which might explain why the baddies are armed with two-by-fours.)

Popular on Variety

Overall, the trailer really pushes its red-band status, opening with an innocuous expletive, as Brolin looks for the phone in what takes him a moment to realize is not your average hotel room, and builds through increasingly abstract, undeniably enigmatic images of sex and violence (a hammer to one character’s skull should help weed out those who don’t fit this pic’s iron-stomached target demographic).

An unseen villain’s voiceover unifies these dreamlike visuals, which still carry a strong Asian feel. Although Park’s original clearly influenced Lee’s remake, it is the red-band “Only God Forgives” trailer that seems to have most directly shaped this promo, which culminates with a scene between Samuel L. Jackson and a boxcutter that drives home how desperately Doucette wants revenge. Assuming the desired effect was to leave audiences scrambling to imagine how these elements could possibly relate, mission accomplished.

The Film District release is set to open Oct. 25.

More Film

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    COLA Announces California On-Location Awards Winners

    “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Dolemite is My Name,” and HBO’s “Ballers” are among the winners of this year’s COLA awards. The COLAs recognize location managers, public employees and other professionals who help facilitate on-location production across the Golden State. This year’s awards program was held at the Universal Hilton. Finalists and winners are [...]

  • French movie director Jean Luc Godard

    How Anna Karina and Jean-Luc Godard Immortalized Each Other (Guest Column)

    With the passing of Anna Karina, a curtain has fallen on the French New Wave, that fabled cinematic movement that brought fame to the man who made her name, Jean-Luc Godard. Yes, Godard is still with us, as is “Breathless” star Jean-Paul Belmondo (practically the last of the living New Wave legends), but his moviemaking [...]

  • Richard Jewell

    Box Office: Clint Eastwood Suffers Worst Opening in Four Decades With 'Richard Jewell'

    Clint Eastwood might end up with a lump of box office coal after “Richard Jewell” sputtered in its domestic debut. Despite critical acclaim, Warner Bros.’ drama about the security guard falsely accused by the media for playing a part in the 1996 Olympics bombing ignited with a dismal $5 million from 2,502 theaters. It’s a [...]

  • (from left) Tom (Henry Golding) and

    Emilia Clarke's 'Last Christmas' Crosses $100 Million at Global Box Office

    Universal’s “Last Christmas,” a romantic comedy starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, surpassed $100 million in global ticket sales. The milestone is a win for original fare, one that is especially impressive considering the movie was skewered by critics for its wacky twist ending. After six weeks in theaters, “Last Christmas” has earned $34.4 million [...]

  • DSCF0855.RAF

    'Jumanji 2' Rules Overseas Box Office With $85 Million

    Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” powered international box office charts, collecting $85 million from 34 markets over the weekend. The action-packed sequel kicked off in North America with $60 million for a global start of $145 million. “Jumanji: The Next Level” debuted in a handful of foreign territories last weekend, bringing box office receipts to [...]

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:

    Disney Plus Signs Exclusive Distribution Deal With Canal Plus in France

    Ahead of its launch in France on March 31, 2020, Disney Plus has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Canal Plus Group, the country’s leading pay-TV company. The deal, which was first reported in the French newspaper Les Echos and confirmed by Canal Plus Group CEO Maxime Saada on his Twitter account, marks a new [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content