Thursday Movie Picks: Revenge

Thursday Movie Picks

I had to bow out of last week’s Thursday Movie Picks topic (hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves) simply because I only watched 1 new TV show last year! Hopefully, that will change this year as I get into some more of Netflix’s offerings.

However – this week’s topic is ever so slightly awkward in the sense that I’ve had it pre-written for a couple of weeks now and it features the currently infamous Liam Neeson. If you’ll allow me to be ever so slightly crude for a moment, it comes to something when you see one of your favourite actors trending on Twitter and think great, are you dead, a pedophile or a racist?!

Aaaaaanyway, let’s move that to one side so that I can tell you about my 3 favourite revenge movies.

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Taken (2008)

As if Taken is over 10 years old now! I was late to the party with this one – my husband (back when he was my boyfriend) really wanted to see Taken 2 at the cinema so I was forced to see the original just so I knew what was going on. It’s one of those movies where even if you haven’t seen it, you know the famous line “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Also – I just this second learned that they made a TV Show of the series, has anyone seen it? Is it any good?

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John Wick (2014)

As you can see, I’m not going with obscure picks this week. Weirdly, John Wick is another series I was late to, again being forced by my husband (he was my fiance at this point) to give it a watch. If you should learn anything from action movies let it be this – don’t kill another man’s dog. You won’t live to tell the tale!

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Oldboy (2003)

Finally, it seemed criminal to not mention Oldboy this week even though it’s all I’ve been talking about for a couple of weeks now! Oldboy is the ultimate tale of revenge on both sides of the coin. The main who imprisoned Oh Dae-su is after revenge for…well, I can’t tell you for spoiler reasons. Oh Dae-su is after revenge after being locked up and fed fried dumplings for 15 years. It’s dark, gritty, twisted, and an absolute must watch!

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Oldboy (2003) vs. Oldboy (2013)

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I had so much fun writing my Point Break (1991) vs. Point Break (2015) post that I was dying to do something similar. My chance finally arose when I decided that Oldboy (2003) would be my first Blind Spot movie of the year. I’d heard terrible things about the 2013 remake and since I ended up enjoying the South Korean original so much, it was an easy decision!

You can read my full review of the original Oldboy here, but let me recap my thoughts for you quickly. It was brilliant, it was dark, twisted, uncomfortable at many times, and smart. So smart in fact that one of my very few criticisms would be that I struggled to follow the story at some points, but that’s largely down to my inexperience with foreign movies and having to rely on subtitles.

From what I can gather, Oldboy fans didn’t want a remake. Why mess with a classic? The same question is on many lips with all of the Disney remakes we’re getting this year and I can see where they’re coming from, but I do have a counterpoint. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for an Americanised remake to stir curiosity in moviegoers, enough to make them watch the original?

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So let me cut to the chase. I watched the remake. I really enjoyed it! Was it as good as the original? No – but as a couple of my fellow bloggers told me – a lot of the hate is undeserved.

Spike Lee’s version is very much a reimagining of the original, it’s been adapted for a Western audience. One wouldn’t be wrong in saying it’s also been ‘dumbed down’, but I would say not to the point where the twist becomes less shocking.

There were two noticeable nods to the original that I spotted. The street vendor who sold Joe the rubber duck for his daughter is wearing a pair of angel wings, just like Oh Dae-su wore in the opening to the original. Marie has a tattoo of an octopus on her arm which is a reference to the octopus that Oh Dae-su ate in the original. I love spotting things like this and I wonder if there were more!

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A few things that I want to complain about:
– The ending didn’t have the same impact. It was moving in the remake but horrifying in the original.
– The bad guy in the remake was almost funny in how over the top he was. The bad guy in the original was quiet and chilling.
– The fight scene in the corridor. You know the one I mean. It was just nowhere near as badass!

All in all, you just can’t beat the original. That said, I really don’t think the remake deserves the hate it got. If you’re intrigued by the premise of the movie but don’t have the patience to read your movie, I don’t think you’d be doing a terrible thing by giving the 2013 version a go.

Blind Spot Series: Oldboy (2003)

oldboy-movie-review-2003-posterDirector: Park Chan-wook

Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Runtime: 120 Minutes

Main Cast: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jung, Kim Byung-ok, Oh Dal-su, Lee Seung-Shin, Yoon Jin-seo, Ji Dae-han, Oh Tae-kyung

Plot: One night, an intoxicated Oh Dae-su is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years with nothing to live for but fried dumplings and TV. One day he is released without question and given just 5 days to work out who kidnapped him and why.

My Thoughts: I came across the remake of Oldboy when on the hunt for a good plot-twisty thriller. It’s been on my list for a long time now but from what I’ve read, the remake isn’t very good – and it’s the 2003 South-Korean original that should be watched. Thing is, I’ve only ever watched 2 foreign language movies (terrible I know) and I’ve been apprehensive about adding to that number. Hence, Oldboy was a perfect choice for the Blind Spot Series and a great start to the year!

What I find difficult about foreign language movies is the fact it’s impossible to just switch off and enjoy the movie. You have to pay attention to everything happening in front of you whilst also reading the subtitles, so it’s not relaxing in the basic sense. It also doesn’t help when you’re fairly sleep-deprived!

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Oldboy. It’s a fantastic tale of revenge with a lot of well-orchestrated violence thrown in for good measure. It’s a long time before the pieces of the puzzle all start to fit together but the payoff is well worth it, even if there are some elements I’m not sure I understood completely. It was one of those endings that makes you say ‘wait, what?!’ and it’s left open to a bit of interpretation. I love a movie that keeps me thinking long after the credits are over.

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Despite the poor reviews, I am definitely going to see the 2013 remake soon, even if to just compare the two movies. I did the same last year with Point Break and it was fun to do!

Best Bit: When Oh Dae-su returns to his old school to search his memories for clues, and we get a flashback to the start of the events that led to his imprisonment. It’s then when you can start to figure it all about and get that lightbulb moment.

Worst Bit: I’m not against strong violence in movies by a long shot but what I absolutely cannot stand is anything to do with teeth. I’m terrified of the dentist and to have not one but TWO scenes of teeth being forcibly torn out of someone’s mouth….arghhhhh! I’m getting all shivery just typing this out.

Fun Trivia: The famous one-take corridor scene was shot in three days. No CGI was used to cleverly edit the sequence like a single shot but the scene was actually shot in one take (although a little CGI was used to show Oh Dae Su getting stabbed in the back with a knife and to correct some punches landing).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 live octopodes/octopi/octopuses, a delicacy apparently!

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blind-spot-series-2019-bannerThe Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.

2019 Blind Spot Movie List

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Apologies for the radio silence for the last week or so, but I’ve just been taking the time to enjoy the Christmas break, as well as deal with a lot of illnesses (and a broken TV!) in the family. I’ve spent some time planning for 2019 and part of that includes taking part in the Blind Spot challenge, created originally by Ryan at The Matinee and now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes.

I’ve tried a couple of years to take part but always fell behind around Spring. I think it’s because I picked movies that although deemed classic, amazing, must-see, etc – they weren’t movies that really interested me, so it was really hard to find the drive to give up an evening for them.

This year I’ve been more realistic about what I think I would actually like to watch, and so without further ado, here are my choices for 2019:

JANUARY – Oldboy (2003)

FEBRUARY – Rear Window (1954)

MARCH – Saving Private Ryan (1998)

APRIL – Heat (1995)

MAY – The Matrix (1999)

JUNE – Gladiator (2000)

JULY – American Beauty (1999)

AUGUST – Chicago (2002)

SEPTEMBER – The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

OCTOBER – The Shining (1980)

NOVEMBER – Million Dollar Baby (2004)

DECEMBER – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Wish me luck! I’ll update this post with links as and when my reviews are up, and I’ll probably pin the post to the menu of my blog for easy viewing.