Friday, November 7, 2008

Will Smith, Oldboy??? WTF

File this one under "Wow times ten" news items.

Just read over on Empire Mag's website that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are in serious talks to remake the Korean masterpiece of shock/drama cinema, Oldboy, directed by Park Chan-Wook in 2004. Spielberg as director, Smith as star, naturally. Nothing's set in stone just yet, but it seems like a super-strong possibility. I've read how Spielberg and Smith have been trying to work together for years, yet have been unable to secure a project that'd suit both, for whatever reasons.


And, man, Oldboy certainly is the last project I'd ever expect them to jump into together. Well, if not the last, then damn near close to the end. If anybody reading this hasn't seen Oldboy (and my hunch says that's the majority), go rent that shit right now. It's a revenge tale, a compassionate character study, eye-popper of a gore-and-torture-show, and tense crime drama, all wrapped into one unique and hard-to-turn-off flick.....plot-wise, it goes like this: this everyday Joe gets locked up for 15 years, for reasons I believe are never justified (it's been a couple years since I've watched the original; I own the DVD, though, so I'll be revisiting this weekend). 15 years passes by, excruciatingly alone and angry. He gets out, and proceeds to tear through the criminal underworld---dropping bodies, clipping body parts, taking some names---in efforts to figure out who "kidnapped" him. But graphically. And awesomely.

In other words, the exact kind of great foreign film that America often tries to remake, only to churn out some inferior bile that grinds my gears. At one point, I know that Nicolas Cage was in talks to star in an Oldboy remake, which would've been cause for witch hunts and tomato-tossing in Hollywood's direction. Cage hasn't made a good movie since....Adaptation? Was that really his last good one? Jesus. Besides, he was partly responsible for that truly-atrocious The Wicker Man redo, and I won't even get started on that one....

But Spielberg? And Will Smith? Neither one seems like an obvious Oldboy choice, but they've both entered the dark-side in the past, so it could very well be great. Though, I'd be willing to be coin(s) that most of Oldboy's striking visuals will either be tamed or scrapped altogether now....Will Smith eating a live octopus? Ripping out criminals teeth with the clawed-end of a hammer? Then there's the entire climax, which rocks harder than Judas Priest and compromises nil.

Come to think of it, I take back whatever excitement I may have injected above....there's no way that they'll maintain the rawness of the original. Will Smith is about the worst choice you could pick to star, because now it'll be surely be a blockbuster, thus neutering the original's primal force. What the hell was I thinking, giving the benefit of the doubt? This is Hollywood, we're talking about. And does it get more Hollywood than a Spielberg/Smith duet?


Keeping close eyes on this one, nonetheless. At the least, it'd be an intriguing trainwreck.

.....and now, courtesy of those great peeps at, who I'm assuming made this, considering I found it on their site:


Menacing, isn't he? Yeah, this is a bad idea. Switches file to "Give me a break" instead.

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