Another Movie Fail in the Making? Spike Lee and Oldboy

12.7.11 ShaSha LaPerf 7 Comments

So recently it was announced that Spike Lee would be directing the remake of the Korean film Oldboy. Sadly Oldboy has been sitting in my Netflix cue for a while (pushed aside for Ip Man and chocolate, both of which I really liked), but I've heard that it's violent, crazy, and a damn good movie. So of course America needed to fuck up the movie's legacy by making their own version of the movie.

The Old Boy American remake has actually been floating around for some time. Originally it was in the hands of Fast and Furious director Justin Lin. But things fell through and it was Steven Speilberg who was expected to take up the slack along with Will Smith. But that fell through.

So now here's the interesting twist: the movie is to be directed by Spike Lee. Yep, Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Girl 6 making Spike Lee. Honestly I've been on the fence about his movies. I get his messages and all but sometimes I think he can be as coony as Tyler at times as well. But he is a well-known black director and this would be the first time we'd see one doing a remake an Asian film.

So I know you're sitting there thinking "Fuck yeah! Spike Lee! He's no stranger to taking on issues of race and had the balls to call out Clint Eastwood for his lack of black soldiers in the film Letters to Iwo Jima. Surely Spike Lee must be setting up casting calls for Asian-American men to take on leads roles in this film right?"




Josh Brolin's name is at the top of the list. Yep fuckin Josh Brolin. At the moment things are just hearsay but it looks like we're getting Akira all over again. I'm guessing we'll see the script go from white actor to white actor. Since Will Smith was the original pick for Speilberg's version I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Jaime Foxx or Idris Elba in the token black actors list. Will Smith may pop up as well (because we all know like Asian actors only four black actors really exist). And I'm sure we'll see Sung Kang listed getting the very difficult role of "Asian Guy Who Gets Shot While Sipping His Starbucks Coffee."

Okay okay okay, I'm gonna try to be optimist here and hope that Lee will have enough  sense to give some Asian or Asian-American actors at least one of the lead roles. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!


  1. First of all I must say welcome home.

    Spike Lee makes get on my nerves. Frankly, I didn't think that some of his movies wasn't all of that. Just looking at them was enough to give you vertigo. His movies would have been better if he would have just let the storylines stood still. It would say one thing and just whe you thought you got what he was coming from. Though I understood the theme of his movies, they were also styled in riddles. On top of that, he's too serious. Just as much as he think that Tyler is buffoonish , he is too serious.

    I will give Tyler credit. He was attempted to reinvent his movies, by making a couple of serious one, whereas Spike, I'm still waiting for him to be different and to diversify his movies a little. I don't know if john Singleton is still in the directing business. To me, he would have been a better director than Spike Lee. At least I understood where he was coming from.

    In his own way Spike Lee is confused. He'll , like you said, will call his bluff about Clint East wood about not having enough Blacks in his movies, yet he is doing the same with this movie. It really does remind you of what has been done to Akira.You would think that Spike would be more understanding of having Asian actors in this movies since he complained about the very same thing that was happening with Black actors/actresses.

  2. Thanks for the welcome home! I had a great time with my friends, but now it's all back to work!

    For me Spike Lee movies are hit or miss or he tries to do too much in them. I haven't seen his more recent ones though. Girl 6 is stuck in my head and that movie was crap. But I did like Bamboozled though I wasn't feeling the ending at all.

    Yeah where the heck is J. Singleton!? I recently watched Behind the Music with Ice Cube and he made an appearance. I was like, where you been bruh!? Singleton's movies are also a bit more on the niche side and I do think he could probably pull off a good Old Boy.

    I can see black directors being conflicted because they've seen first hand how blacks are treated in Hollywood. If Spike Lee did OD with an all black cast I wonder if the reactions would be different then an all white one? Would black actors be seen as "well they're not Asian but at least some black actors are getting roles?" But it still leaves Asians out and they're even more marginalized than we are in Hollywood.

    I just saw Old Boy yesterday with Shen. Yeah...that's one "speshul" movie...

  3. Spike Lee, I can usually tell in advance which of his movies will suck so I just don't watch them. School Daze is one of my favorite movies ever. Malcom X was good. Inside Man is pretty good.Miracle at St. Ana is pretty good. Has he ever worked with an Asian descent actor before? Lee's main problem is that he is arrogant and loves the sound of his own voice. Sometimes he seems to have issues with women. I guess I have a wait and see approach to this remake.

  4. You're right about Lee's arrogance. I don't like Tyler Perry's movies but I found myself rolling my eyes when he bashed him for his movies, knowing full well his own movies have some questionable stuff. I don't think he's used any Asians in movies. I think Summer of Sam and the 25th Hour are the only movies of his that didn't have predominately black casts. Right now the news about the movie is still new and from what I've read it's the movie company that wants Brolin but I didn't see a mention of Lee himself saying anything about Brolin being cast. Let's see what comes out of Lee's mouth when we get a more confirmed list of actors be they Asian or not.

  5. i don't really believe in remakes just for the sake of not having to read subtitles. Old Boy is one of my favorite films and it's so recent, i really don't see the point in butchering it.... A remake should add something new or different, a new spin or interpretation of a film most people have forgotten... True Grit was a great remake for instance. But i really don't get remaking recent successful Asian horror films just so they're in english and so US markets can capitalize on their success... same thing with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo... why remake such a recent awesome film? Can you come up with something on your own?
    Josh Brolin? Spike Lee? They can't come close to the work of Min-sik Choi and Chan-wook Park -- totally wrong for this type of film and role. This US parasite relationship to foreign films has to die

  6. Honestly, I can't see a remake of Oldboy. I can't see Will Smith stuffing a live octopus in his mouth, which is a great scene in the original. I agree, Hollywood needs to come up with some original ideas and steer away from horror, teen sex, and remakes of a remake. Also, are Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, and John Singleton the only black directors we have?

    1. We do have quite a few black directors out there, sadly they don't get nearly the exposure they should. I'm especially sad at the lack of exposure black female directors get. :(

      So far casting just has Josh Brolin and (I think) Elizabeth Olsen--the sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley--listed as cast, but no details about how the storyline will play out has been released yet. I think the original is pretty good and I don't know if I see myself jumping to see this remake.