Monday, 24 November 2008

Oldboy: Smith & Spielberg must be stopped

While the many many (Ed's note: two) scribes here at The No Show will usually opt for laughs over accuracy or detail, news is reaching our ears that Will Smith seriously wants to remake Oldboy. (Not the film, apparently; the original manga.) And he wants to remake Oldboy with Steven Spielberg. And Dreamworks. And the co-scriptwriter behind I Am Legend.

With this in mind, I feel I need to drop the whole "funny" thing and get down to brass tacks: they must be stopped. By any means.

Smith and Spielberg and Dreamworks and
I Am Legend screenwriter and Hollywood in general Must. Be. Stopped. Doing. This. Shit.

Frankly, I don't care if they're remaking the film or the manga or the book of the film of the promotional napkin of the book of the film of the manga. They just have to be stopped.

Why? First, a quick recap of the film/manga: Oldboy follows a man's kidnapping, his years of imprisonment in a private jail/locked hotel and quest for revenge when he is let go, more or less arbitrarily.

Now, I haven't seen the original film. But that's not the point - I haven't seen any of the stuff we review here. Here's the real problem: from the many many minutes of searching I did on the internets, I have discovered that the most memorable bits of the films involve a hammer as a weapon; the removal of a tongue by the owner of said tongue; the actual eating of something best described as "living sushi" (octopus - the internets cannot confirm whether this was prepared or just chomped on, though it does claim that four living octupi were chomped for the scene*); quite a lot of incest and a few suicides. Oh, and an ambiguous ending.

Now, what are the chances that Smith and Spielberg and Dreamworks and I Am Legend co-screenwriter and Hollywood in general are going to be able to do ANY of that on screen? Have THEY seen the film or the manga or whatever? Because I haven't and even I know there's no way any of that's going to end up on several thousand screens across the US.

And if it's not, then what is the point? Does the world need a watered-down version of Oldboy? No it does not.

Oldboy has a specific audience: hardcore fanboys of Asian "world" cinema (translation: more gore = more box office). But it surpassed it's own limitations by throwing up philosophical (sometimes existential, often nihilistic) questions in the midst of the carnage, as only truly awesome kung-fu flicks will do. (And again, I haven't seen Oldboy. But I do have an MA in Eng Lit from university. So this is all relevant.) But while Oldboy can get away with examining the nature of violence mid-punch, Will Smith and the rest do not. American-made action films are all action for action's sake and pithy comebacks and happy endings and the hero coming out victorious with his moral centre shaken but not stirred.

Oldboy is no hero. He's no anti-hero. He's just a mess. And not like a Will Smith as Hancock mess, we're talking proper fucked up incest and cut out tongues and chomping on octopus kinda nasty shit. So Will Smith and his might-be-Scientologists crew really really really need to be stopped and give the money they would spend on this film to charity. Or go remake The Man in The White Suit. Buy stocks. Anything. Just do not remake Oldboy.

The world of cinema would be ever so grateful.

We now return you to your otherwise hilarious world of No Show antics.

(* When asked whether he felt sorry for the actor having to eat the living octopus, the director replied, "I feel worse for the octopus". Violent AND funny. Eat THAT Smith!)

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