Cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD March 4, 2014
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 5.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for 20 years without reason.
First off, let me state that my opinion of Spike Lee’s version of ‘Oldboy’ is in no way affected by the original, which I have actually never seen. I was pretty anxiously anticipating this one, and was very intrigued to see that it was being directed by Spike Lee, and featuring an impressive cast of highly talented actors, including the likes of Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson and Sharlto Copley. Unfortunately once I received the Blu-Ray and was able to finally check it out (having missed it at the theater) I couldn’t help but find myself quite disappointed.
While I can’t compare this to the original having never seen that version, Spike Lee’s version of ‘Oldboy’ was extremely sloppy. I feel it should be noted that Lee himself claims that his intended version of the film was 140 minutes, and that the movie was cut down by 35 minutes without his consent or approval, and that Brolin apparently also prefers Lee’s initial 140 minute cut. Now while that may very likely explain the sloppiness and the movie being all over the place from one point to the next, it unfortunately can’t compensate for the poorly written script which results in the film being unintentionally silly and comedic. Some of the lines and discussions in the film are so bad you would hope they are not meant to be taken seriously, but with the tone of the film and every other aspect of it obviously trying to take itself very seriously indeed, it becomes painfully obvious that this was not intended. Sadly I felt this factor very much affected the overall impact the film was intended to have on the audience and not in a good way whatsoever. While this version of ‘Oldboy’ is by no means a completely horrible movie, it definitely falls short, and the phenomenal actors involved seem to be either tired, uninterested or just simply not at their best here. If at some point this supposed 140 minute version is released, we might see just how much difference the heavy editing might have had on the overall film, but with so many of the other harmful elements present here, it’s hard to believe it could do a whole lot to improve it completely and the unintended silliness of the script will certainly still be present throughout.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Oldboy’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. I would have to say that the video presentation on this release is definitely the most notable and impressive part of the disc and stays true to the exceptional quality and attention to detail that Sony has made common practice and continues to provide in their Blu-Ray releases. Every aspect of the picture looks great, the edges are sharp and detailed, the picture perfectly details every color flawlessly and overall everything looks as good as one would imagine possible. I think it’s safe to say that everyone out there will be more than satisfied with the high definition video presentation on this Blu-Ray release.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. While this lossless soundtrack doesn’t utilize the surround channels nearly as much as one would imagine it might, it does sound great in every other regard. The score hits hard and sounds wonderfully discrete and clear. The audio is the center channel is always audible and crisp, never leading to any issues during the viewing experience. While most of the activity does keep itself focused on the center channel in ‘Oldboy’ it does venture out to the other speakers at times, and overall sounds pretty great for what it is and should leave most folks content.
While this Blu-Ray release isn’t nearly as overflowing with bonus content as a lot of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases are, it definitely has a pretty adequate amount of bonus content. Included on the release are ‘The Making of Oldboy’ featurette which takes you to some degree into the process of bringing this version to life and includes interviews by cast and crew members, ‘Transformation’ featurette, as well as a few other special features that are exclusive to the Blu-Ray release and not available on the DVD. These Blu-Ray exclusive special features include a number of Alternate and Deleted Scenes (though unfortunately only a few extended scenes for the most part, and a mere 10 minutes worth at that, so make sure you don’t get your hopes up in thinking that you might see the 35 minutes of footage that was apparently trimmed from Spike Lee’s version by the studio prior to the film’s release) as well as another featurette titled ‘Talking Heads’ and a workout video that I couldn’t help but feel was oddly out of place.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They may suffer some quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Film Rating: 5.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
‘Oldboy’ will be available to own on Blu-Ray & DVD Tuesday March 4, 2014 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.