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“Oldboy,” Spike Lee’s remake of South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s 2003 cult thriller of the same name, won’t get any respect from the fanboys (or anyone else), but it stands on its own. It just stands a good bit shorter.
Josh Brolin is the best thing in it as a small-time jerk mysteriously imprisoned for 20 years, then just as mysteriously freed. It’s definitely not for the squeamish, but where the first movie possessed an elegant nihilism that raised it above convention, the remake becomes more genre-bound as it goes. If Park’s film is the work of a brilliant but soulless surgeon, Lee’s is that of a gifted provocateur amusing himself until the next real thing comes around. With Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, and Samuel L. Jackson.