No. No, No, No, No, No. No. They are not allowed to do this. Not this tandem. Not with this story. I'm in a profession where I'm paid to be reactionary and because of that, sometimes I overreact with false outrage or just general overzealousness. So maybe I'm being a little overzealous here, but my outrage is genuine, I promise. This is dirty pool. This is madness. This ... will ... not ... stand.
Steven Spielberg and Will Smith want to team up to remake Oldboy. Again, no. They are not allowed. Here's why: Oldboy rocks and it rocks hardcore. And as much as I like Will Smith and as much as I tend to love most of Steven Spielberg's movies, they do not rock quite as hard. It's not their fault; it's just not in their genes. Oldboy is like a crazy rave, and I wouldn't invite these guys to a rave. I would throw a barbecue for them, or maybe a dinner party with some after-meal Parcheesi.
For those of you unfamiliar with Chan-wook Park's fantastic film, here's the Variety synopsis:
In the 2003 Korean original, a man gets kidnapped and held in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. Suddenly, he's released and given money, a cell phone and clothes and is set on a path to discover who destroyed his life so he can take revenge.
That's all you need to know, because to know anything else would be a sin. I love this movie. It's a dark and disturbing journey through Korean corridors of hell and purgatory, filled with impossible choices and improbable outcomes. It's also an incredibly entertaining revenge film -- in a way, the ultimate revenge film. As my boy Brad rightly points out, it's also a mystery. But its revenge-thriller roots sprout big-time in the film's final act. Oh boy, do they ever.
I have a novel idea for Dreamworks. Instead of spending all those millions of dollars paying Spielberg and Smith and then paying them on the back-end as well for the rest of their natural born lives, try this: Secure all of the rights, market the heck out of the original, and sell some more DVDs. Promote the original film rather than raping it.
On the whole, I don't see the point of remaking good movies. But if you're going to do it, do it right. Spielberg and Smith want to work together? Fine. Go make a nice movie in the vein of The Pursuit of Happyness. I really liked that one. Something like that would work. Yes, I know Spielberg has made R-rated movies (you're talking to a guy who thinks Munich is one of Spielberg's best films), but he has never made anything that has approached this. He's done graphic violence. He's showed us some of the terrible real-life horrors of the Holocaust. But he's never done a piece of entertainment as outrageously sick and twisted as Chan-wook Park's film.
I can see Martin Scorsese teaming up with Russell Crowe, Jude Law and Elisha Cuthbert on this. I can see David Fincher remaking Oldboy with Robert Downey Jr., Edward Norton and Anne Hathaway. I just can't see this Spielberg-Smith team-up working though. I'm sorry, I just can't.
Having said all of that, if this does actually come into fruition and if I've underestimated the size of Spielberg and Smith's cojones and they make a film that is just as hardcore as the original, with that same dark, twisted ending ... people will never look at these two guys the same way ever again. And if it works, I will applaud and say, "Welcome to the dark side guys. I never thought I'd see the day."