Is America ready for Oldboy? We don’t know yet, but apparently Spike Lee thinks so. The iconic director, whose last film was the lackluster Miracle At St. Anna, has officially signed on to direct the long-gestating Mandate remake. Based on a Japanese comic, the original Oldboy was directed by Chan-wook Park as part of his ‘Vengeance Trilogy” and released in 2003. It won the Grand Prize Jury Award in Cannes in 2004, but also attracted controversy for its intense violence and taboo subject matter. However, Mandate may be toning these aspects of the film down, as they have hired Mark Protosevich, writer of such studio-friendly fare as Thor and I Am Legend, to adapt the script.
Oldboy tells the story of Korean businessman Dae-Su Oh, who is locked in a hotel room for 15 years for an unknown crime. After his release, he seeks vengence against his captors, but as in all good noir tales, the truth is more complicated than it originally appears.
Mandate originally approached Steven Spielberg to direct and Will Smithto star, but both passed on the project. Lee had been rumored to take control of the project, but now the director has officially signed on, according to Variety. Lee has always been a bit of a coin-toss director- some of his films are brilliant (Malcolm X, 25th Hour), while others (She Hate Me, Girl Six) are downright bad. Still, Oldboy is great source material to start from, and the tense world-building that Lee brought to projects like the thematically similar 25th Hour could be an excellent fit for the taunt thriller. Though I have to wonder how Lee could possibly compete with one of the best fight sequences of all time, below.