Rex Reed Smears All of Korea ...

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
to Vote

A reader just sent this in and he makes one mighty good point ... I'm pretty shocked a major paper would print this ...

Hi ScreenAnarchy,

I urge your readers to send Rex Reed of the New York Obsever a message of utter contempt due to his insensitive and almost racist remarks regarding his review of Oldboy, of which he obviously did not like. As quoted from this link :

"For sewage in a cocktail shaker, there is Oldboy, a noxious helping of Korean Grand Guignol as pointless as it is shocking. What else can you expect from a nation weaned on kimchi, a mixture of raw garlic and cabbage buried underground until it rots, dug up from the grave and then served in earthenware pots sold at the Seoul airport as souvenirs? "

I would understand if he were to focus his opinion towards the film, but not generalize the whole of Korea.

to Vote
Screen Anarchy logo
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here to report it, or see our DMCA policy.

More about Written

John CampeaMarch 25, 2005 8:44 PM

Hmmm... maybe it's just me, but I don't read that as racist at all. Perhapd badly worded for what he was going for... but I didn't interpret that at all as a shot at the Korean people. But yes... should have been more careful on how he worded it.

opusMarch 25, 2005 9:26 PM

South Korea is a "nation of emerging cinematic schlock?!? Yowza...

ParadoxPodMarch 25, 2005 9:37 PM

First off, the guy's thinking is clearly ethnocentric. If it's not something that would be done in America, than clearly it is wrong... ASS. Second of all, while I support differing viewpoints, to describe Oldboy as "schlock" says something of his intelligence, not his tastes. Speaking of tastes, Kimchi is good. And normally I don't even like cabbage. Seriously

Chris TanMarch 25, 2005 11:07 PM

Well I couldn't help but write him a little something. If he doesn't explain himself, the next one won't be as polite.

Here is what I wrote and I'd like to see what others are writing too.

Dear Mr. Reed

I am sorry, but after reading your review of Oldboy, I couldn't help but note a possible racist remark or two, which you might or might not have intended and I cannot sit back and not say anything.

Now, I can understand your viewpoint in not liking this film, there certainly are scenes that aren't for the weak of heart to such graphic scenes which are quite commonplace in Japanese anime and manga (which Oldboy was based on). But it is one thing to use critique a film and its film-makers, to the point of using graphic words to describe one's distaste towards a film; it is an entirely different thing to slander the film-maker's country and their culture to make a point.

I found your comments like "what else can you expect from a nation weaned on kimchi" to "metaphysical oriental mumbo-jumbo" to be in bad taste.

Why you would rip into a different culture to get your opinion of a film across is beyond my comprehension of how a professional film critic conducts his or her work and I look forward to an explaination as to why you chose such a reason to do so.

Your Sincerly,

Chris Tan

New Zealand

enygmaMarch 25, 2005 11:44 PM

Wow, I heard about this from and I read the entire review. Frankly, I was really offended by what he said. While I personally don't care whether or not he enjoyed the movie, I thought it was rather petty of him to deride an entire nation. Anyway, this is the email I'm sending.

"Dear Mr. Reed,
While your negative feelings towards the movie, "Old Boy", do not interest me, I thought it was in extremely poor taste to compare one film with the rest of the nation. You may have thought you were being clever or witty, but in truth, your review was extremely ethnocentric and even racist. You say that nothing more can be expected of a, "nation weaned on kimchi, a mixture of raw garlic and cabbage buried underground until it rots, dug up from the grave and then served in earthenware pots sold at the Seoul airport as souvenirs," and that the movie is,
"Part kung fu, part revenge-theme Charlie Chan murder mystery, part metaphysical Oriental mumbo-jumbo, all of it incomprehensible." For you to deride an entire nation based on your narrow-minded stereotypes displays an extreme pettiness of mind which leads me to wonder why you decided to even review a non-American movie. In the future, it might be best for you to only review American movies since it seems you have a difficult time criticizing foreign movies without lambasting the entire country."

ChrisMarch 26, 2005 2:20 AM

I mis-spelled educated...if that ain't just the text book definition of ironic...

Andy BaileyMarch 26, 2005 2:31 AM

I tried to e-mail Wrecks Reed but apparently his mailbox is full! Here's what I wrote...

Dear Mr. Reed,

I read your review of Oldboy and wholeheartedly disagree with your assessment of the film, not to mention your attack on the foodstuffs of Korea, and, by extension, Koreans in general. I am not Korean myself, but I felt deeply offended by the insults to Korea contained in your trashy, idiotic review. Not only are you out of touch with the new generation of international filmmakers (why would they assign a crotchety old fart like you a review of a Park Chan-wook film in the first place?!) but you are cloaking your ignorance of filmmaking in a relentless barrage of insults against a country that is currently producing some of the most stylistically arresting work in world cinema. It's time for the New York Observer to put your sorry ass out to pasture -- your writing stinks, you are ridiculously out of touch with young, emerging filmmakers, and you're a nasty racist to boot. If you elect to walk out on a movie before it ends, Mr. Senior Moments, you should simply refrain from writing about it. Film criticism (and I hesitate to even lump you in with that gilded metier) doesn't need the likes of you, loser.

Andy Bailey
Los Angeles, CA

Greg SamsaMarch 26, 2005 3:20 AM

I will attempt to resend this tomorrow when his mailbox is hopefully not full. What a blatantly racist review, he is saying 'what else can you expect from Koreans' based on the fact that he doesnt like KimChi? If that isn't racist I don't know what is.

Austin JohnsMarch 26, 2005 4:34 AM

Dear Mr. Reed,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all your excellent reviews over the years. I especially liked you Old Boy review. Those dirty dog eating Korean bastards. They're almost as bad as those smelly Chinks and greedy Japs. I hate all those slants almost as much as I hate those Hebes and Spicks. Have you ever heard this joke? What's worse than a Nigger? A nigger who is a faggot. HAHAHAHA. Man I wish we could put all those perverts into a rocket ship and shoot them into the sun. Those fucking cocksucking homos. Man, I wish there were more true manly men like you and I. I wish you the best and look forward to reading more of your wonderful reviews.

Thanks again,
Austin Johns
President of Rex Reed Fanclub, Torrance Chapter
Grand Master Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan

P.S. I also hope you choke on a dick and get AIDs you fucking Jew bastard.

mrmarzoMarch 26, 2005 6:29 AM

wow that mofo.

DanielMarch 26, 2005 7:37 AM

Unlike racists pricks like Reed, Ebert loved Oldboy and gave it 4 stars.

Geert JanMarch 26, 2005 1:49 PM

He's lying about the movie too, isn't he? For example:

"I walked out at the point where he grabbed a pair of sharp scissors and cut his tongue off in blood-splattering close-ups."

If I remember correctly the cutting of the tongue wasn't actually shown on screen, was it? If someone can confirm this I'll mention it in my mail to him.

GraemeMarch 26, 2005 7:02 PM

There are quite a few factual errors. I have a sneaking suspicion he reviewed it from the trailer and covered it up by saying he left halfway through. Go watch the one at to see what I mean.

Suddenly, he’s released in a field..."

He eats a live eel.

A severed hand rips out a man’s teeth...

Feh. The world is full of assholes.


MarkMarch 26, 2005 10:27 PM

Before anyone bashes this relic of film criticism...has anyone seen this man...that idiotic mustache. To believe that these outdated critics can identify with the intensity of new and unusual cinema only proves how out of touch they are. Ebert may have liked it but he has given raves to films that very often do not deserve it. Such is the life of a critic. But did anyone else notice his review stated kimchee in airports...he probably has either gone to korea once and went NOWHERE in the country or never been their at all...and to compare oldboy to excavated rot (which is quite delicious)...well....lets just say we can compare him as well to that analogy.

samMarch 26, 2005 10:47 PM

"Responding to anti-Korean racism with anti-Jewish racism is a) ironic b) ignoarant and c) self defeating"

Come on Todd don't you know it's hip to be anti-semetic in these dark times? Sometimes you need to press the issue further.

Todd BrownMarch 27, 2005 6:52 AM

Hip my ass. Racism is racism, unacceptable in any guise and certainly not particularly welcome here. Press the issue how? By proving you can be just as ignorant as him? Yeah, that'll help ...

Though I wasn't raised in the culture I've got some Jewish blood in these veins and anything further down that road will be deleted immediately.

daveMarch 29, 2005 1:35 AM

I think sam was being sarcastic.. :P -- just a guess..
Rex is still a dink.

DougMarch 30, 2005 9:34 AM

The arrogance and ignorance of this so called "movie critic" is so enormous that he has pretentiously annointed himself now to be a cultural(and perhaps culinary Iron Chef) critic of idiotic proportions that is simply laughable. How can anyone from now on take this imbecile seriously(not that many cinephiles took him seriously before)?

It appears that on a larger scale, he is symptomatic of the decaying quality of American cinema that was once the overpowering bright beacon of innovation and creativity, which has long since degernerated into an assembly line remakes of predictable, formulaic, studio-system-dictated, brainless, largest-common-denominator packages. Mr. Reed, like the Hollow-wood studios he espouses, appear to dwell in cramped cinematic spaces that does not allow fresh creative air to circulate, for fear it may displace his narrow-cavity cranium full of the mundane, and the banal notions of "I am the expert, I will tell you what is good or bad(even though I didn't see the movie !)".

If american movies are to reclaim the cinematic glory that was once its rightful domain, then perhaps we should start by deconstructing the importance of so called critics like Reed, who has clearly proven himself to be an uninformed theological apostate of authority over cinematic enlightenment and substance. In the age of the popularity of IMDB and all sorts of cinema blogs that are rather full of intelligent observations of cinema experiences, who needs naked emperors like Reed ?

shaunApril 22, 2005 3:37 AM


In Re: to your spewing forth of racism and attempt to review the film 'OLDBOY', I wanted to sum up my thoughts on your racism and blind ability to review any movie with flair or knack by stating my thoughts about you in my subject header.

Why the subject header?
Being that your head is so far up your rectum i knew you wouldn't fully read what i would have to say in this email because you are so full of yourself.

But if you did....
I applaude myself.
For it's 30 or so seconds less you can be a Racist reviewing Hack attacking GREAT films.

Shaun M. Elliott

***this was sent to Rex mere moments ago.