OLDBOY opens August 16th
Over the course of the past 20 years, Korean directors like Lee Chang-dong, Bong Joon-ho and Ha Hong-jin have become some of the most respected names on the international film scene, introducing audiences to a whole new world of cinema in the process. A lot of that has to do with Park Chan-wook’s 2003 thriller, OLDBOY, which told the story of a man who falls down a traumatic rabbit hole after being held captive by an unknown party for 15 years. Now the movie will soon be returning to AMC Theatres nationwide after being remastered and restored for the big screen.
Ahead of the movie’s August 16th re-release, we’ve put together a list of things to know about OLDBOY, with information that will be of interest to longtime fans of the blood-soaked tour de force revenge thriller and the uninitiated alike.
A Revenge Thriller Returns To The Big Screen
Even though OLDBOY becomes more complicated and unsettling as the movie goes on, the affair starts with a rather simple premise: a businessman is kidnapped, held prisoner in a hotel room for 15 years, and is then released back into society with a mobile phone, stack of cash, and so many unanswered questions. What follows is one of the most visceral stories of revenge in the history of cinema, one with twists, turns, broken bones and incredibly disturbing revelations.
Choi Min-Sik Stars
At the center of OLDBOY is Choi Min-sik’s Oh Dae-su, a drunken and loose-lipped businessman and neglectful father who finds himself trying to figure out why he was held captive in a sealed-off hotel room for the past 15 years. The dynamic performance by the actor, especially as he undergoes an incredible transformation from an aloof father and businessman to a highly skilled fighter who can handle anything thrown his way, is something to behold.
The film also stars Yoo Ji-tae as Lee Woo-jin, the man who held Dae-su as his prisoner all those years and who later becomes his victim’s target as the story unfolds. Kang Hye-jung also gives a commanding performance as Mi-do, Dae-su’s love interest and partner in his quest for vengeance.
Based On A Manga Series
Though Park Chan-wook made some changes to the specifics of the story, OLDBOY is largely based on Garon Tsuchiya’s manga series of the same name. Released between 1996 and 1998, the eight-volume series tells the story of Shinichi Gotō, a man who is randomly released from captivity after being held in a private prison for a number of years. Detached from society, and left with a fractured mental state, Shinichi sees only one way out: revenge. What follows is an intricate and blood-soaked tale of pain, suffering, trauma and the taste for revenge. In addition to Park Chan-Wook’s OLDBOY, the manga series has been adapted to the screen on two different occasions. First, it was made into a 2006 Indian film called ZINDA. Seven years later, Spike Lee made an adaptation, also called OLDBOY, starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley in the lead roles.
Park Chan-Wook Directs
Already one of the most inventive and recognizable names in Korean cinema prior to making OLDBOY, the bone-crushing revenge story took Park Chan-wook to new heights upon the film’s November 2003 release. The manga adaptation came on the heels of SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, a movie that was just as brutal, unsettling and unforgettable while also featuring the filmmaker’s unique knack for storytelling and painstakingly choreographed action sequences that make the audience think they are right there in the action. Park would conclude this trilogy with the 2005 release of SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE, a psychological thriller touching on similar themes and issues.
All-Time Great Fight Sequences
Oh Dae-su has only a few ways to kill time during his life-changing 15-year imprisonment: watch TV, eat fried dumplings, and practice shadowboxing, a skill that not only prepares his mind for what’s to come but also his body. And, he soon puts those skills to good use.
There are multiple action sequences that take place throughout the movie, but the scene that is most iconic of those is the corridor fight, an extensive one-shot in which Dae-su goes through a small army of men like he’s in a side-scrolling beat-em-up video game. The punches, the kicks, the knives and that hammer all make up the freed man’s arsenal as he attempts to work his way through the wall of bodies to learn the identity of the man who held him captive for so long.
Watch The Remastered Trailer
A little more than three months before OLDBOY was set to be re-released in theatres, NEON, which is handling the distribution this time around, released a new trailer for the remastered and restored neo-noir thriller. The nearly two-minute trailer, which doesn’t feature any dialogue or information about the movie’s plot, is full of short snippets and extended shots from some of the thriller’s most impactful moments, including the aforementioned corridor fight sequence.
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This is almost the exact opposite of the film’s original trailer; one that helps explain some of the broader details of the plot without giving too much away about the revelations that shake up the final act of the movie.
Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time so that you don’t miss the return of OLDBOY, remastered and restored, at AMC Theatres locations nationwide this August.
See OLDBOY remastered and restored in 4K definition for its 20th anniversary re-release and stay after the show to watch a bonus conversation with Director Park Chan-Wook and Nicolas Refn.
OLDBOY opens August 16th