Oldboy is justifiably famous (or infamous) among Asian film geeks as this crazy, out of this world surreal thriller… and it is ALL of those things and more… there’s been talk of an American remake for a long time, but it’s hard to imagine doing that given the sheer lunatic twists this movie makes (and, yeah, I mean lunatic… but in a great way) and where it ends up… but I hope they do, and I hope they stay as close to the source as possible.
Again, if you haven’t seen it, watch it (but be warned, in addition to its twists, it’s pretty brutal and raw) watch it watch it watch it… especially screenwriters, because this film is a clinic in taking the unexpected turn.
In terms of fight scenes, however, it’s got one of the greatest fight scenes of all time, and it’s all done in ONE take…
Just a little backstory, our hero, a chubby middle-aged salary-man, is kidnapped and locked in a room for FIFTEEN YEARS… no explanation, no contact, he has a TV and dumplings every day… and he starts to go mad. But rather than go mad, he vows revenge on whoever put him in this room, and starts training his body, beating the walls with his fists, exercising… he uses the fifteen years to turn himself into a weapon of vengeance…
After fifteen years, he’s suddenly released with no explanation, not why he was incarcerated, not why he was released… and he vows to find them. But how to do that? He doesn’t even know where he was kept, much less who… he begins by tracking down the dumplings he ate every day, he knows the taste and finds the exact restaurant, and forces them to tell them where they delivered the same exact order every day for fifteen years.
He finds the place, and it’s full of gangsters… he goes in to force the man who watched over him to tell him why they kept him there… and in a narrow hallway, runs into a whole mess of bad guys.
And in ONE TAKE, fights them all off in one of the more brutal and realistic fights ever… he gets stabbed in the back and keeps going with the knife still there! And, more importantly, everyone gets tired (which happens in a real fight, for those who’ve never been in one) and wiped out… he literally beats them up or wears them out… there’s a point where neither he nor them can barely go on, but he wills himself past it… and defeats them.
And then there’s a nice bumper on the end, too, after that.
One of THE BEST fight scenes ever put on film… watch it. And what’s interesting, I haven’t even really given away any of the movie’s nutty twists yet… if you think this fight scene is nuts, you should see where the movie itself goes… like Ben Fong-Torres says in Almost Famous, “carrazzy, man.”