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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance [Import]

Kang-ho Song , Ha-kyun Shin , Chan-wook Park    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.86 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance [Import] + Lady Vengeance (Bilingual) + Oldboy
Price For All Three: CDN$ 46.82


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Before he made the notorious cult hit Oldboy, South Korean director Chan-wook Park created Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, an equally gruesome yet elegant meditation on revenge. Desperate to get a kidney transplant for his dying sister, a deaf and dumb young man named Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin, Save the Green Planet!) kidnaps the daughter of a wealthy industrialist named Park (Kang-ho Song, Shiri). Despite Ryu's best intentions, things go horribly awry, setting in motion a series of escalating revenges--to describe the plot in more detail would undercut the movie, because much of its power comes from the spare and skillful storytelling. Chan-wook Park is careful to ground the audience in the characters' emotional lives; when the violence begins, the bloody events unfold with the hypnotic power of the revenge tragedies of the Shakespearean era, which had over-the-top plots and littered the stage with bodies, yet were full of rich poetry. Park's eye for startling images and careful editing creates a visual poetry, grotesque yet often haunting. Certainly not a film for everyone--squeamish viewers had best beware, while anyone who wants their violence flagrant and guilt-free will be disappointed--but cinephiles looking to have their hearts squeezed along with their stomachs will enjoy Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. --Bret Fetzer

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oldboy it is not... Jan. 17 2006
Format:DVD
For those of you expecting the same "tight" editing and mystery of Park's OLDBOY...you might be disappointed.
Mr. Vengeance is the first installment in the Revenge Trilogy, and it certainly sets a good foundation for the films to come.
The film opens with a somewhat trite/cliched storyline (brother needs to save dying sister), but the means to the end is where this film will grab you.
I you are solely buying this film for its "shock" value (which would be unfortunate, as the cinematography is excellent), you will be happy to know that this flick does have its share of punctured arteries, sliced ankles and...uh...err...pools of urine. YES..!!!
However, keep in mind that these violent events will not be widespread -- they are sporadic at best and only used out of necessity for the main character(s).
In terms of tone and pacing, the film does move at slow pace. This is good in that it will evoke more emotion toward the characters...but you will not feel the "rush" that normally comes with a Miike, Noe, or Tarrentino film. Once again, this is not OLDBOY.
But nonetheless...if you like "these kinds" of movies, overall Mr. Vengeance will not leave you feeling like your money was wasted. Plus you get a bonuse disc (35 mins) of other Asian releases satisfy your hunger for more.
I only gave this film a 4-star rating because of the unavoidable comparison to OLDBOY...a film that will own your soul.
I hope this helps...
DIONYSUS JONEZ IS THE FUTURE..!!!
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By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Asians excel at horror because, not having to pander to Hollywood's rules, they can take you anywhere at all. For all this filmed was billed as a gory horror, violence was minimal, and certainly not gratuitous, but man......it was good when it happened!

The film revolves around the lives of a deaf-mute and his sister who requires a kidney transplant. A kidnap attempt to raise money goes tragically wrong, and much blood-letting ensues. The ending makes me wince to this day. My only quandary with Park is that he holds certain scenes too long. He needs more discipline in the editing room. Green hair playing with the little girl for ten minutes or burying a body for another ten minutes while a very annoying device character and a mentally challenge kid of some sort wanders about causing mayhem, I started to look at my watch. It all comes together in a blood bath of revenge.

The performances all around were decent. I liked Du-Na-Bae and felt she was lively and interesting; Ha-kyun Shin also did well considering he had no lines to speak of. However Song was a mystery to me, he only had one moment (the one that I have already mentioned) where I felt he did something worthy of note, the rest of the time his was a non-performance. Aside from him, I think everyone was OK but that the material and the delivery just wasn't there to support them.

"Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" is a very interesting take on Korean revenge mythology and modern society. But what that take is I'm not sure. This one is necessary for film aficionados, just for the camera set-ups and stunning color. I also think that this film delivers an important message. To exact vengeance on someone because you are hurting only makes more people hurt, and it doesn't stop yours.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy and Revenge Dec 6 2011
By Sorpse
Format:DVD
The title of this movie describes it perfectly. There is more than one story of revenge and you feel sympathetic for the characters. The characters are all very well drawn out as well and you learn quite a bit about them which ultimatly brings out emtions from the viewer and really draws you into the movie, I was very interested to see what happened next to each person. Also as a bonus there are some fairly violent scenes which im sure i wont forget any time soon. Overall the movie paints some very memorable pictures, has some great lines, and a very involving, emotional storyline that i found very entertaaining, despite it being a bit of a slow burner, i was never uninterested.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First of Chan-Wook Park's Revenge Trilogy Sept. 21 2005
By Hansol Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Korean cinema continues to impress as Chan-Wook Park proves "JSA: Joint Security Area" was no fluke. "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" is not an easy movie to stomach. It contains some of the most graphic scenes of violence I've seen in a long time, and many of the subject matters it deals with are unsettling and downright depressing. It's an absolutely gripping film, however. As with JSA, the major strength is the solid premise and plot -- a chain reaction of tragedies of Shakespearian proportions. There is no clear line between good and evil -- it's merely a conflict between two groups of people who just happen to be on the opposite sides of the fence (metaphorically, this time).

There is very little dialogue (Park says he tried to limit it to bare minimum), but the superb acting (especially Du-Na Bae playing the villain against type and Ha-Kyun Shin as the deaf/mute protagonist) and stylish widescreen shots are more than enough to carry the story.

This is the first installment of Chan-wook Park's Revenge Trilogy (followed by "Oldboy" and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance").
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood-soaked masterpiece... Sept. 6 2006
By Dimitrios - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
As so many other people I decided to watch this film because I was impressed by the brilliant "Oldboy" and wanted to check the previous work of this fine Korean director. Although "Sympathy for Mr Vengeance" is a little bit less impressive than "Oldboy", it is very powerful with some very brutal scenes of nasty revenge methods. The story has many surprises, and some back and forth movement regarding the time sequence, but the finale is unpredictable and hard hitting indeed!
63 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goes Beyond Old Boy May 12 2006
By A Street's Disciple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Old Boy is like eating cooked salmon.

This is like cutting into raw tuna.

I have never seen anything like this. This is more disturbing than any American/Japanese cinema combined.

Horrifyingly disjointed, disturbingly real--because it could happen to any one of us.

These Koreans. They can make movies. Jesus Christ.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance Dec 9 2010
By Jason C. Wilkerson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Park Chan-wook is known as the bad boy of Korean cinema. Chan-wook is a former film critic who gained world wide acclaim for producing, writing, and directing what has now become known as The Vengeance Trilogy. This trilogy is tied together by common overall themes rather than through its characters. The most well known of the three films, Oldboy, garnered the director a devoted cult following in the United States. While Oldboy stands as the most recognized of the trilogy, the opening installment Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, has been grossly overlooked.

The story of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance follows Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun), a deaf and mute man who has a sister that needs a kidney transplant. At first Ryu tries to donate his own kidney to her. However, when he finds out that he has the wrong blood type, he attempts to go through the black market where they promise him a kidney transplant for his sister and 10,000,000 won in return for one of his own kidneys. The deal goes awry, so Ryu and his revolutionary girlfriend, Cha Yeong-mi (Bae Doona), plot to kidnap the daughter of his boss Park Dong-jin (Song Kang-ho).

There have been many movies about vengeance, and with only a few notable exceptions (such as Tarantino's Kill Bill) most vengeance films that come out these days feel repetitive as it's all been done before. The brilliance of each part of Chan-wook's trilogy is that they're highly unconventional for movies dealing with this subject matter. Borrowing from whodunit flicks and Hitchcock, in the end you question the identity of the protagonist and antagonist of the story. The vengeance genre always thrives on the idea of gray areas, but you always have a strong sense of who's at fault. That's not the case with a Park Chan-wook film because the bad guy could very well be the one in need of revenge.

The acting in this film is equally as brilliant as Park's direction and script. Many people may assume that playing deaf and mute might be easier than working with a speaking part, that couldn't be further from the truth. Having to convey a character's emotions, thoughts, and convictions without uttering a single word or sound is extremely difficult, but you never once question Ryu's beliefs or his devotion and inner struggle for his sister. Song Kang-ho, an acclaimed South Korean actor who worked with Chan-wook on his first film, Joint Security Area and in the acclaimed monster comedy-horror flick, The Host, also performs brilliantly as the tortured father whose daughter is kidnapped by our protagonist.

If you still have yet to check out Oldboy, I highly suggest you see this one first. Although if you have seen Oldboy, then make sure you check this out to see where it all started. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a wild ride. If these movies had been made in America, they would have revolutionized the idea of the vengeance flick forever.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grips you like a vice. Hits you like a ton of bricks. Sept. 22 2006
By Inspector Gadget - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Before you watch this film, just be aware that you're not going to walk away from it with a big smile on your face. More like you'll want to slit your wrists. To say that Mr. Vengeance is a powerful, gut-wrenching nightmare is like saying that DaVinci merely dabbled in art.

The plot is so simple yet so complex. The direction is so elegant yet so hard-hitting. The simplistic nature of the story makes the descent into hell so shocking and captivating. You don't realize there is no going back until it's far, FAR too late.

Ryu is a deaf/mute who works in the loudest factory in the world, doing a really depressing job. His sister needs a kidney transplant, but they don't have the money to pay for it. He cannot give her one of his own because their blood types do not match. Ryu decides to go to black market organ traders to trade one of his own for one that matches his sister. Waking up naked and kidney-less in an abandoned building he now needs to raise money for his own kidney.

Ryu is now fired from his job by President Park, who is downsizing the company. His anarchist girlfriend Yeong-mi convinces him to kidnap Park's daughter and hold her to ransom. From then on, things get very, very, VERY heavy and the idea of who exactly Mr. Vengeance is is blurred and sympathy is felt for almost everyone. Revenge comes at a high price and seemingly never ends. Not that I am saying forgiving and forgetting is the way. But this movie will make you think twice about getting your own back.

The violence is spontaneous and extremely graphic without ever feeling exploitational. Sometimes it has a darkly comic feel to it, the rest of the time it's goddamn hardcore. You'll wince a great deal during this movie, that's for damn sure.

Park Chan-wook directs with such beautifully composed images that are far from the the garish MTV-style action/thriller movies produced in Hollywood these days. I don't want to sound like some sort of snob who proclaims all foreign films to be great and all Hollywood to be crap but it's not very often that Hollywood makes a film like this unless it's a remake. Written in a mere 20 hours in a single massive, creative outburst, this movie seems to have genius laced through every minute of it's running time.

Not a date movie, not a whogivesadamn pig-out movie. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a film you will be sucked right into and you'll be far from happy when you emerge at the end. But what a horrific ride!

The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby/DTS 6.1 sound.
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