A movie like Spike Lee’s Oldboy is destined to accrue a healthy amount of haters long before the film is released. Lee’s Oldboy is a remake of Park Chan-wook’s legendary Korean film of the same name, and in the decade since its release, Chan-wook’s film has developed cult classic-like status. The film has a loyal fan base who made it clear from the announcement of Lee’s remake that they simply were not interested.
And I get it. I fully understand the uproar over Lee’s film. Chan-wook’s Oldboy is a marvelous mystery thriller that needn’t be tampered with. But first off, it’s important to explain how Lee wants his film to be perceived. He’s stated many times (including when I heard him speak in person last February) that Oldboy was not a remake of Chan-wook’s film, but rather a reinterpretation of Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi’s source material, the Japanese manga, “Old Boy.” Interesting then, that in the opening credits for Lee’s film, we’re presented with a title card reading: “Based on the Korean film Oldboy.”