Saturday, September 03, 2011

One More Dub

A few months back, Netflix caused a stir by changing up its pricing plan. Folks like me who were getting both DVDs and streaming programming for a low price (under $10/month) now basically had to pay twice that. At first, I cried bullshit like many others, but after I calmed down, I realized it was just bidness. Netflix is looking to dump the DVD rentals and grow the streaming biz, which is the future. I decided to go with the streaming stuff, even though the selection isn't as good right now.

There's still plenty of cool stuff available, and I've started taking advantage of it this week by watching a few movies and TV shows. In addition to watching Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing for the first time in 20 years and the first few episodes of season 1 of Party Down, last night I watched the Korean thriller Oldboy, which I had heard much about on the excellent podcast Filmspotting but had never seen before. Spike Lee's putting together an American version of the film starring Josh Brolin, but after seeing the original last night, I don't know how he's going to replicate it.

Without giving too much away, the basic plot is about a man who is imprisoned for 15 years by an unknown enemy and then released. After he gets out, he swears revenge. It's not a typical martial arts movie, although there are some pretty amazing fight scenes:

It's a wild ride and the last act has some crazy-ass twists and turns. Again, I like Lee and Brolin, but I'm not sure they could pull off what Chan-wook Park does in the 2003 original. Fairly mind-blowing.

Unlike the clip above, the version of the movie I watched was dubbed into English. It took me out of it a little at first, especially in the opening scenes where there are few voices speaking excitedly. Just reminded me of watching Japanese monster movies or Mystery Science Theater 3000 (making fun of Japanese monster movies). But the overall filmmaking virtuosity of Chan-wook Park and the performance of Min-sik Choi as the star overcomes any early doubts. Definitely worth checking out, but not for the squeamish.

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