Oldboy : The hammer fight scene

The hammer fight scene

First of all, the original has to be one of the greatest films to be released within the past decade or so. The remake is genuinely not that bad as far as remakes tend to go. It doesn't improve on any aspect of the original, but it is still solid based on it's own merits.

Having said that, the hammer fight scene in the remake is faster, more violent and has an even more brutal edge to it. So how the hell did it end up completely devoid of any tension or even excitement? The camera work is fairly good too especially as joe comes down the ladder and it moves behind the mesh wire, it feels smooth and free. I just really can't understand what was missing, I couldn't help but think this is far more inferior compared to the original. Any thoughts?

Re: The hammer fight scene

It's been a long time since I've seen the original, so I didn't do a side-by-side viewing before writing this, but one fairly simple explanation might be that you knew more or less what was coming. Nothing hits us like it hits us the first time. Horror movies are a prime example-even the best will probably only truly freak you out on first viewing. Even though you found this hammer fight to be better than the original, I think the idea still applies.
Or I could be totally, completely wrong....

Re: The hammer fight scene

It isn't so much that I thought the fight in the remake was better, I felt that there were aspects that should have made it better, such as it being more visceral in it's violence and Josh Brolin's movements etc but despite that I felt it lacked impact, it didn't deliver in my opinion. But maybe, as you said, I was the level of expectation I had from the original that left me feeling unsatisfied.

Re: The hammer fight scene

I just finished watching this, and I honestly found the remake hammer scene to represent a broadway number in comparison to the original. I may catch a lot of flack for this, but I was extremely dissatisfied with the American remake. Great SK films should not be remade in Hollywood. Just my opinion

Re: The hammer fight scene

Well for one, because the fighting was so choreographed. Joe was kicking people into the air, it was too stylized for what the rest of the film was. Whereas by this point in the original, we'd seen some ridiculous *beep* squid eating, ants crawling all over his body, etc... so when the stark realism of the original hammer hallway scene starts, the realism of what's going on feels more tactile because you've seen unrealistic things leading up to it. Plus it was the difference in the approach to the characters, Joe looked mean, like a brawler, like a guy who could punch and take a punch. Oh Dae Su didn't... he was a bit older, and a lot more manic in his demeanor whereas Joe was more one note. It was standard action hero dynamics that got Joe through the hallway, it was sheer will and rage that got Oh Dae Su through.

Re: The hammer fight scene

I thought the hammer scene was interesting (and funny...it had a bit of a "West Side Story choreography pause before resuming the fight), but what really--REALLY--took me out of it was after all that hammer-smashing-bashing he turn to climb the fence/wall and the hammer was bright, shiny, and clean! I mean...no blood, debris, nothing. Now, I've never seen a hammer after a fight, but I'm thinking it wouldn't be clean, and that in a nut shell is the difference...the original was visceral and grimy (real) while the remade scene was professional and clean.

Re: The hammer fight scene

It's way too well-lit, and thusly comes across as a scene from a comedy. All I could think about was "why don't any of these gang members have guns?", something I never thought about in the original, because the scene just seemed to belong.

Re: The hammer fight scene


comes across as a scene from a comedy.


This was exactly what drew me to the message board. As the scene unfolded I asked myself "is this meant to be comedy?"

I guess it wasn't intended to be comical. But it was mildly so. Just in no way believable.

Re: The hammer fight scene

I just came away thinking that a hammer is a way better fighting tool than I thought. Gotta go buy a big hammer for my purse.



"...but can you Americans speak any other language besides English?"-Inglorious Basterds

Re: The hammer fight scene

I don't know about a hammer in a purse, but a friend of mine used to carry a small hatchet in his VW van for protection. Just the sight of it meant he never had to use it - quite frightening and visceral as a potential weapon.

Just a thought.

Re: The hammer fight scene

I don't know.....a hatchet might f up the lining of my Louis Vaton clutch LOL! JK

Re: The hammer fight scene

I watched the original, and then the remake within a few minutes for comparison between the two. The hammer scene in the remake honestly felt like some sort of gameplay event you would encounter in a video game. There was no transition between him holding Sam L. hostage to him ending up in the hallway. It just kind of cut to a hallway and then Brolin stepped into frame, then there was a Drop D guitar power chord and the gangsters showed up at the other side of the frame. Then the fight ensued after a few moments.

I think that the transition was so jarring that you couldn't help but be like "whoa, what the eff, how'd we get here?". I half expected the one take shot to start with Brolin holding Sam L. hostage, then we'd see them from behind with Sam L.'s goons in front of him and he would throw Sam L. to the goons and they would charge him and as he starts beating them down one by one while Sam L. flees in the background, the camera would slowly rotate around the action completing a full 180 as Brolin finishes beating down the goons and he would pass through the door and into the hallway where the camera moves along with him. That would have been awesome and would have felt much more akin to the original if you'll remember, he's holding that main guy hostage and enters into the hallway where the goons are before dropping the guy and fighting the goons.

That's just my take on it. Also, I read that Spike Lee's original cut of the film was a full three hours and the studio shortened it to the 1 hour, 45 minute version that was seen theatrically, basically a film massacre, just about cutting it in half, and I do believe this is one of the scenes that was shortened. Perhaps we will see a Director's Cut surface if we're patient and I'll wait until then to judge this movie completely.

Re: The hammer fight scene

Oh Dae-Su is human. Joe is somewhat close to invincible, one-slice-and-it's-over, a killing machine.

-Hammer Fight: In the original, the hammer fight is one hallway. Remake? It's three levels of beatdown. When he conquers one area and jumps down to the next floor, the tension disappears then begins again like a bad rollercoaster. Joe seems to take each bad guy out with one fast hit.

If I'm remembering right, Dae-su has to be a bit more scrappy and the targets seem to react more realistically to his attacks (i.e. one hammer blow to the back can hurt like hell, but won't remove you from combat necessarily).



-Jock Fight: Dae-su comes across actual street thugs, questions his training with an inner monologue, then beats said thugs in a "non-stylized" manner. Joe? He harasses a young woman, which oddly enough results in a jock aggressively telling Joe to...stop harassing the young woman. The other jocks stand up, immediately making them target dummies to Homicide Joe.

Just as you said with the hammer fight scene, this scene is "faster, more violent and has an even more brutal edge to it." Hell, I think he actually killed a couple of them unlike Dae-su. Joe pounds one of their heads into the ground and the poor guy's neck snaps.

Dae-su only seems to fight thugs and "bad guys" throughout the original. People who wouldn't call the police after taking a beating. Joe wants to build a rap sheet by killing jocks, threatening nurse-daughter at knife point, etc..."Are you an innocent? Yeah? Well stop looking at my letters! Stop patching up my wounds! I HATE DUMPLINGS! Action Joe smash! Raaaah!"



-Normal Guy vs Action Star: Okay, Joe isn't completely invincible. He does get a knife in the back (though Dae-su had to fight longer after the knife gets lodged; Joe goes deaf it seems and casually gets knived after the pre-elevator fight is over). Joe does get a little roughed up by the bodyguard early in the film.

By the final fight, Dae-su receives some solid damage from the bodyguard; it takes him a little time to grab a weapon and deliver the fatal blow. Joe walks in (probably thinking about what he's having for dinner later) and delivers what? One quick slice. Game over, bodyguard. He's Mr. McOneSlice.



Really, the tension is blatantly ripped out of every action sequence for me. The action choreography causes me to believe Brolin was directed to mimic scenes from a particularly one-note Jason Statham action fest. Korean Oldboy? Drama with a doses of action, romance, and detective-film. American Oldboy? Action with doses of confusing romance, melodrama, action-detective, and...action.

Re: The hammer fight scene

I have to agree with Thanlon11

It's the difference in directors and their intentions. The remake's tone treats Joe as much more a tough guy.
The original treated Oh Dae Su as a broken man full of desperate unrelenting will against all odds.

It is the against the odds approach that makes the original better. The direction including choreography never loses the conceit of what the scene is about. Oh Dae Su's determination to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Joe's fight is played almost more for the fact that American's attention spans call for explosions or fight scenes every 15 minutes.

The score in my opinion is the #1 thing that made the original great. Rising strings and orchestration also unified with the conceit of his determination to go the distance. The Remake just plays this lame heavy metal that belongs in a Jason Statham movie...By association you tune out suspension of disbelief over it's music video cinematography.

Lastly what is trick is in the original all the men are Korean...I know that sounds bad, but in cultural relevance it felt like some secret wicked establishment hidden in the belly of the Asian underworld. The thugs in the remake are a rainbow of American that just feel like a bunch of expendable stuntmen counting down for their cue.

The remake does do some cool stuff, but serves a totally different purpose than the conceit of the original film's vision.

Re: The hammer fight scene

The reason for the lack of effectiveness of the fight scene in American version is the fact that Park's version was stylized and shot as side-scrolling video game fight, which might have had a sub-conscious effect on our nostalgia. American version pretended to be a fight where goons were intentionally throwing their punches in air and thus looked awkward.

Re: The hammer fight scene

this scene was pretty bad, if you look at any of the gang members they are inexplicably not engaging at times, and just swinging at air the other times. maybe if you focus on the main character it is alright, but just watch the gang members.

Angel : In 243 years I've loved exactly one person.

Re: The hammer fight scene

I've seen that some people haven't seen the original scene (Perhaps it was a different thread, opps!) But anyway, take a look at them both on this clip.

Let me know what you think! Especially the people that haven't seen the original. I personally laughed a bit at the remake and I really liked the original, as someone else said it was a bit more realistic. Of course it is choreographed, but in this remake, it was terrible.

"Oldboy 2003 vs Oldboy 2013 - fight scene"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZFIxLCJifw


I need a Sig so bad

Re: The hammer fight scene

The fight scene ruined the movie for me. It was laughable. Guys were just swinging at air and they could hit him many many times when his back was turned to them, but waited to attack him only when faced to him. Just terrible. The rest of the movie I liked, but the fight scene was one of the worst scenes I've seen in a long time in a movie.

ozz

Re: The hammer fight scene

it looked choreographed and fake while the original looks more natural, no "super bad ass" *beep* Daesu gets beaten bad but he also beats them bad, it's simply that it looks like a real fight where anything could happen.
Top