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Old Boy Hollywood remake gains traction

There have been talks of a Hollywood remake of Park Chan-wook‘s hallmark revenge thriller Old Boy for some time now, but the project was stuck in legal battles over the rights to the original story, from the Japanese manga of the same name. But with that dispute finally settled (to the tune of how many millions, I wonder), Old Boy is back on track to be the next big Hallyu-Hollywood crossover. Will it survive the process and actually become a watchable movie? Or will it die a slow death and get lost in translation?

Three big names are being bandied about in contention for the remake: Steven Spielberg, who has been attached as producer and possible director for some time now, Matthew Vaughn (Kick-ass, Layer Cake), and Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting). I’d vote for either of the latter two, if I had my druthers, since they have more of an indie edge and will un-slick the Hollywood sheen off of the remake. I think Danny Boyle in particular could do something very urban and gritty with the source material, while creating something other than a carbon copy.

Because who needs a carbon copy when Old Boy is…Old Boy?

Frankly I don’t see why you’d even TRY to remake a film that’s considered to be one of the best, not just of one country, but of an entire genre, worldwide.

Screenwriter Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, The Cell) has penned the remake, which if it follows the original trajectory, will star Will Smith and be produced by Dreamworks. I can’t really get a feel for Will Smith as Choi Min-shik‘s dark and intense character, but then again, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Can they do a parody-comedy version? I’d watch that.

Lauded by critics the world over, Cannes Grand Prix winner Old Boy (2003) is pretty much the ONE Korean movie that everyone has seen. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the trailer for the US release:

Via Star News

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Nooo~~ the old one was good! They'll ruin it like My Sassy Girl...

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agreed to the nth degree. even if it's done by matthew vaughn or danny boyle (i doubt it will), it will be ruined. if it's a moderate success, it'll be like Lake House, and if it's a mess, it'll be My Sassy Girl.

love the last photo though of choi min sik and yoo ji tae. wonder who will take on the yoo ji tae role.

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I've seen The Lake House (Ok), Il Mare (Good), and My Sassy Girl (Awesome) but I never seen the remake? Who was in it?

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I'm apprehensive about this bit of news. I do agree that Danny Boyle would be a great director for translating this movie for Americans but I can't see Will Smith acting on the same level as Choi Min-sik. In a movie which is so rooted in the anguish that the main character feels, they should pick an actor with more acting chops than Will Smith.

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Will Smith? Really?

Might as well go with Steven Spielberg then. Don't waste Danny Boyle on Will Smith.

Now, Danny Boyle and some British actor of his choice? Game. He can certainly bring the dark, cynical, sardonic edge - a la Trainspotting.

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"He can certainly bring the dark, cynical, sardonic edge – a la Trainspotting."

In the sense that Danny Boyle made the novel into a gritty music video, this is true.

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But that is his imperative, no?

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"But that is his imperative, no?"

I feel Danny's a hipper version of Guy Ritchie.

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Yeah, I'm WTF-ing about the remake too. The Korean version is pretty much perfect, why would you try to duplicate that?

With Will Smith as the probable headliner, though, it's a good thing they're going with the original manga's storyline rather than the movie's.. I really can't see Will Smith doing anything with incest. :x

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Random, but I remember there was supposedly going to be a Hollywood remake of Speedy Scandal. Did that ever happen, or did it fall through? (Oh please let it be the latter, that movie was glorious.)

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Ehhhh . . . Will Smith is the black Ben Affleck. It won't work. Danny Boyle has the morbid wit (though you want a kinetic stylist more like a Brian De Palma), but Oldboy's extreme cinema stylisms make this a difficult fit in non-horror.

Charlize Theron has been touched to a Sympathy for Lady Vengeance remake. That one I could see fly.

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Speedy Scandal would be perfect for a remake. Especially if they cast a notorious bachelor like Clooney.

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Wow I was always wondering who would be a good counterpart for Chae tae hyun's character and George Clooney is a really good choice!

Will Smith, NOOooo, won't really pull off a dark character and make it seem real like Choi Minsuk and the incest, won't pull that well either ughh

I hope Quintin Tarantino directs at least! I mean pretty much all his movies has a dark, grotesque theme to them so he may do old boy some justice. If not him, Matthew Vaughn, I'm not sure bout Danny Boyle cause I've only seen Slumdog Millionaire and it was alright to me :/

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wow, you're so great, belleza. Yes, if there will be a Holywood remake of Speedy Scandal, please make it with George Clooney.
And as for the daughter, how about Ellen Page of Juno?

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"And as for the daughter, how about Ellen Page of Juno?"

Ellen Page wouldn't want to be typecast like that. But Dakota Fanning would be good in that role. Then again, Palin Nation may raise a uproar about that.

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All I wanna know: what's going to happen to the octopus scene??

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I agree, that octopus scene was is one of the most memorable scenes in the movie for me. That and the big reveal of course at the end.

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Oh no I must have missed something. What about the octopus scene that was so memorable? :/

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Oh no I must have missed something. What about the octopus scene that was so memorable? I didn't really get it :/

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* WARNING: SCENES IN THIS CLIP MAY DISTURB SOME VIEWERS *

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzJEGqek3TQ

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They'll probably westernize it by having a chocolate eclair scene :P

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I saw this news on SlashFilm and I think I've been pretty upset since then.

This definitely does not need to be remade. What is wrong with Hollywood? First "Let Me In" which is a shot for shot remake of "Let The Right One In" and now they're also remaking "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

Are they really that out of ideas? Was the drowning waves of comic book movies not enough?

I miss the Hollywood that would take risks and create edgy artwork.

Old Boy is a classic, it was amazing and needs to be left alone. You don't see the rest of the world trying to remake the Godfather.

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"You don’t see the rest of the world trying to remake the Godfather."

But you kinda do. Godfather is a seminal influence on HK and Japanese cinema.

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There's a big difference between serving as a seminal influence and being remade.

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It is too bad that Hollywood would try to interpret such great films. American audiences should be fine just reading the subtitles for the originals.

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I meant to say re-interpret

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An Old Boy Hollywood remake?? eeehhhh, even though there are some big names thrown around, but this doesn't seem like a good idea...just because Old Boy is...OLD BOY. How can anyone ever top Choi Min Shik??

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There are some movies that should be left alone. I can't see remaking this is one. Watch the Original. What makes it work is the fact it is Korean, if they try to change it, to Americanize the story, it will not work.
And for Steven Spielberg.... Hell No !
shuttering...

cheers, parsnip

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especially considering an awarded and being in the best-of list movie, remake sounds to me weird.
what? are they jealous? do tehy think they can do it better or what?
I can't see any good reason for that! immitations keep alive the original...

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NOOOOO...hollywood please don't screw this up...when you killed il mare and my sassy girl i just snorted but you're going over the line this time

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Will Smith in the Choi Min Sik role? Someone may watch it, just not me. I don't get why they'd take a great, great movie and make it mediocre.

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I don't understand why they wanna make it Hollywood. Why not just put the original in American Theatres with subtitles and make their money that way. They are soo going to ruin this movie just like they ruined every other one. America may like it because they are so closedminded and don't understand foreign films or it may suck so bad and never see another week in theatres. Why waste that money HOLLYWOOD. make your own movies.....I hate this idea.

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because hollywood knows how to ruin a good movie and still make money :) seriously, as much as i love will smith i can't even imagine him committing incest in the movie.

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Yikes! A remake of Oldboy? I can't imagine America making as intense a movie as Oldboy was for me, plus, I really loved the trilogy as a set, all three movies were amazing in their own way. I don't think America would be able to do Oldboy justice.

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crap. I really thought this had blown over and now I'm pissed off all over again... Nothing hollywood does here will be good enough for those that have seen the original. Period. The only possible way it could have? DeNiro - 15 years ago or so.

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Yep. It was only a couple of weeks ago when my sister and I were having a discussion that maybe, just maybe any plans of remaking this film has been dropped. Sadly, they'll go ahead and Americanize it. I don't see the point. There are just somethings that don't cross over so well culturally, i.e. the remake of the Japanese movie Shall We Dance?

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Ergh.. I vote Danny Boyle..And if I have to watch the Will Smith do the final scene, I'm gonna be sick. It's so not his kindof movie..

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I'm always kind of sad about remakes, because 1. they might mess it up 2. even if it is amazing, unless you've seen the original (which at this time is pretty much limited to film buffs and Asians), people don't really give the original movie credit. Example: Infernal Affairs/The Departed; I've heard the remake was good, but I pretty much died a little bit inside each time someone gushed about how awesome The Departed was without realizing/acknowledging that it was a remake of an Asian movie.

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"The Departed was without realizing/acknowledging that it was a remake of an Asian movie."

Actually thought the remake was better. Great move by William Monahan to adapt the Spy v. Spy plot into Boston turf war. And the undercover cop psychology was more convincing as well.

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Exactly. The Departed did a good job of telling the story differently. The pace is entirely different, so I could give it some latitude. But ultimately, Infernal Affairs is just awesome, but its pace is one that just doesn't translate into a Hollywood blockbuster. At least Scorsese had the good sense to change the pace, and while at it hyper-Americanize the pace.

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Oldboy was the first Korean film that I saw. I cannot believe they have the audacity to remake this.

Will Smith = No. I don't dislike him, but his talents in acting lie elsewhere.

Steven Spielberg = No. All I can think of is Titanic. I don't want Mr. Titanic directing one of the most gruesome and disturbing movies that I have seen. No thank you.

If I had to choose, I agree with other people and vote Danny Boyle. But what I really vote is for them to not remake this into a Hollywood film. Not that Americans can't make gritty films, the original isn't exactly "Hollywood blockbuster" material.

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"All I can think of is Titanic. "

Titanic? Do you mean James Cameron?

I think Spielberg doesn't plant to direct this one. Even if Danny bows out, they might try a David Slade.

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I can understand - titanic is sort of spielberish anyway :) yeah he is so not ATALL old boy types...
Christopher Nolan who directed memento... he could carry out an old boy.. but I dont think mainstream american audience has the stomach to accept old boy.

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I prefer James Cameron over Spielberg. Nolan is one of my favorite director but I think Martin Scorsese will be my pick.

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I know my opinion will be a minority here, but i think old boy is pretty adaptable (with the right director and actors), because the movie is very much about isolation and the search for oneself. Two themes that are very universal and identifiable to American audiences. My dream director for this project would be Darren Aronofsky or Alfonso Cuarón. I think either of them could get the tone, git, and bring their own spin on the story.

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"I know my opinion will be a minority here, but i think old boy is pretty adaptable (with the right director and actors)"

The extreme nature of Oldboy makes it a difficult fit for a mainstream commercial market. Outside of horror, only Tarantino can sell that level of violence.

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The definition of "mainstream" Hollywood is changing with the up-sergeancy of smaller movie studios and more indi projects having a greater a $$ return than blockbuster movies. Old is not going to be a GI joe or a Harry Potter type of blockbuster, nor was it that, when it opened on Korea. If you look at the movies that are up for oscars this year, none of them are exactly what you'd define as blockbuster success. They are smaller movies, still backed by big studios that opened to limited theaters. The "extreme nature" is that last thing i'm worried about. Incest has been done many times already in US movies (China Town as one example)

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Just don't see it. Once you bring in Dreamworks and Will Smith, you've already established tight constraints of the movie you can make. Moreover, casting Will Smith signals that the studio WANTS to crossover with this project.

Extreme cinema is still niche. It makes sense for art-house audience and the Comic-con people, but if you're looking to make 20-40M from this puppy, they'll have to dial down the psychological violence in order to make it work.

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I don't think they are looking to make that much money with this movie. They only types of movies that makes that kind of money is superhero and action flicks. Nor, do i think "Extreme cinema is still niche" or for the comic con crowd. I don't think Smith is the right actor for this role, but he is still looking for his oscar. He's already tried the feel good uplifting role. His only way to probably nab one is to play in a more harder edge experimental role. I think everyone is assuming too much. With, the state of politics and the paranoia of the general American populace, I think this story could really resonate well people. IF and only IF done right

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hahaha if it is being made in hollywood - incest is definitely out. Hollywood is too conservative.
Old boy was made in bollywood(indian movie) with the incest parts cut completely out of the story - It was some mafia revenge movie....

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I already siad this as an example but "China Town" has incest, so does an old Steven Speilberg movie, "The Color Purple" also "Precious" "Gran Torino" even teen flick "Curl Intentions" flirted with possible incest.

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I actually think that the fact that incest is not as shocking a theme in Hollywood is what dilutes the force of this film. Incest is much more charged in the Korean context, methinks, due to the centuries of Confucian patrilineality.

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I can't really get on board with Will Smith as the lead for the remake. (In fact, I am against the remake because Old Boy is already great.) I do miss him in Fresh Prince (prior to the character of Nicki being introduced). Good times back then.

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I have no problem with this, so long as it's done well. Though I would've liked to see how other established directors like the Coen brothers, the very ambitious Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino would have interpreted the film. Oldboy seems to fit more into their particular quirks, I guess.

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i agree! don't get why remake a film that is known worldwide and that even non-asians have seen.

I love Will Smith, but he has been typecasted too much into the shining hero role. I'm not sure if he will fit Choi Min sik's role.

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Hollywood just needs to get some new stories, they keep remaking an otherwise perfect movie and bling it up and add all these effects and basically trash the brilliance of the original film just so they can make money off of someone else's idea!
I felt they did the same with The Departed, which was a remake of Infernal Affairs, and I'm not sure they even gave credit to the original film. It was exactly the same though except for the location.

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Tarantino is an interesting choice. After watching Basterds, I could see him pulling it off.

Other than him, the only directors I would go with is...

David Lynch or David Fincher.

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"After watching Basterds, I could see him pulling it off"

He could, if he could avoid wanking off to references to cinematic trash. Fincher would overplay the grim tone without imbuing it with a sense of humor.

Now Lynch . . . if HE was allowed to work from the original Japanese manga, he could potentially make an altogether superior Oldboy.

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I am going to have to disagree with the majority.

Will Smith is all about image and does not put his name on anything that will not be a box office smash. I think he has thought this through and it will be a well made, well executed hit.

I wish they wouldn't touch the original, but I think this one will be a lot different from the original.

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"I think he has thought this through and it will be a well made, well executed hit."

That's the crux of the dilemma. It isn't that America wants to remake it; it's that they want to remake it with Will Smith, which clearly establishes the box office expectations of this project. To make it as such, you'd have to completely domesticate the story and dial down all the mordant bits.

Now, you COULD do it. You could make this an edgy mob revenge movie. That would be a good movie and a good Will Smith vehicle. But that ain't Oldboy.

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arrgghhh... they'll blotched up Old Boy the way they did Il Mare, that movie with the two sisters [forgot the title] and My Sassy Girl... the latter was sooooo distasteful that I couldn't even finish watching the movie! But despite that, I do feel glad for the people behind these movies because at least Hollywood has given their work an awesome praise-- by actually remaking 'em, thus a great acknowledgment of their great work. I'm not Korean but boy am I proud! lol...

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Uh there not even remaking the film their doing an adaptation of the manga, the korean movie this stick close to the manga. Especially with that one twist in the movie had, that wasn't in the manga.

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Meant "the korean movie didn't stick close to the manga"

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I love Will Smith but,....NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Please, Please don't remake this movie smh. Some things are NOT meant to be remade...It's like remaking Casablanca or Gone with the Wind (totally different genres of film) but, PERFECT none the less smh...

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I've never seen Old Boy, but apparently everyone is against it being re-made XD I mean, that usually doesn't work out well, I agree, but nya XD

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Oh Hollywood... WHY? What else do you want to prove?

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Why can't Hollywood with all its money produce original movies?????

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I love the reasong to the remake which was that the original japanese manga is different then the korean film version.
It seems they are also making a remake of the cult classic Battle Royale(I doubt it though because of the idea of school students killing each other might not be so great in the US).

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Ehh, that's a big blah for Battle Royale remake. This I believe will not go well at all for American audience.

Where would they find teenagers who are serious enough actors that would want to kill each other? It will become soooooo cheesy and lame.

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Ah, why do americans have to mess with this? They always put their finger in awesome asian movies and turn it into some mediocre remake that has no soul to it at all. Why can't they understand that each screenplay carries the culture bagage from where it was made and that when you take that bagage away, you're taking away what makes it so good. Would you see an Bollywood remake of a Hollywood movie? No. The same answer applies for Hollywood remakes of any asian movie. I will avoid the pain that is to come. I'm so not watching that.

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"Would you see an Bollywood remake of a Hollywood movie?"

I've been meaning to see the Bollywood remake of Fight Club! :D

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LOL. I like the last photo! (:

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Hmm, I'm skeptical about this remake because the original was really that awesome and mind-corrupting LOL. A lot of Asian movie remakes really becomes dull and so unlike the original (ahem My Sassy Girl). Somehow the American version just doesn't understand the deeper concept or cultural meanings.

However, I have nothing against Will Smith whatsoever if he does get the role. Who says he can't act? Besides Fresh Prince or Men In Black and other action roles he's ever done, you guys should see his more serious roles like Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds, etc. Doing the intense and wronged character of the "kidnapped" guy works for him.

Right now it all depends on the other characters and who the director would be. If it was me I would go for Christopher Nolan. The guy is a master at mind twisting games so yep he's perfect for the job too.

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"However, I have nothing against Will Smith whatsoever if he does get the role. "

I do, because he being the biggest movie brand in the world already limits what the studio will allow the movie to be.

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Hollywood remakes of Korean movies always failed in comparison to the original. This is not a good idea.

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This ought to be interesting.

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I've been living under a rock.

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Outside the black hole more commonly known a America is not under a rock. The US is not the be-all and end-all of the literate world. Just an FYI.

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Hollywood and Bollywood always trying to remake the Korean movies,,, just another fail>< I dont even watch american movies any more, I mean yea there are some amazing movies that I still like but remaking east asian films like Kor, HK and Jap into Hollywood style or Bollywood style just cracks me up,,, ignorant Americans always want it there way,,,,I'm also American too but its sad Korean movies should be left as it is,,,

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