Starring Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh
Oh holy hell. I can’t say too much about this movie, but here’s the basics: There’s this guy. He is a drunk and a bit of a loser who gets arrested on his way to his daughters birthday party. Then, he’s kidnapped for 15 years, framed for his wife’s death, gets out and goes on a rampage of revenge to find out why his life was taken away. That’s the first 15 minutes.
If this is as far as you are willing to go in this review before watching, I get it. Before you go, though, let me let you in on a little secret. This movie is fucked. It’s awesome, but I’ll probably never see it again outside of a few scenes. If you are faint of heart, do not watch this movie. If you are not, go watch it right now then come back and tell me what you thought. Here’s what I thought.
What I liked
This movie is gorgeous. Every shot is dynamic and interesting. The camera moves when it needs to and sits right damn put when it needs to. This is a long movie, but it moves like a freight train based on visuals alone.
I was conflicted about how to say this. The story is not the best or most original story out there. At its core, this is a revenge movie with a few interesting twists. However, the way this story is being told is awesome and needs to be seen. The reveals are pitch perfect. This is the equivalent of when a great singer covers a rather bad song.
This movie is brutal. One shot in particular that has probably been brought up over a million times is the hallway fight, a long, static scene shot from the side between our protagonist with a hammer and about fifteen other guys. This scene alone is brilliant, but the rest of the action is right on par with it.
What I didn’t like
The main problem I had with this movie is the translation. For most movies made in a language not my own, I tend to go for dubbing because I am lazy. I regret that in this case. I wish I had seen a subtitled version with the original actor’s voices as the English dubbing is horrible. The voices do not really match the actors at all and it got grating at times.
This may just be a common gripe, but I think a lot of this movie could have been cut. There’s nothing wrong with anything in here and it moves fast enough, but at two and a half hours it starts to get tiring.
Who would like it
Were you the guy that watched Sin City and thought “This is wussy. Needs more horrible, horrible things in it.” This might be the movie for you then. Really anybody that enjoys 70s era brutality and revenge movies will like this. Just a caveat, this movie does have some strong sexual issues, and no, not like that even though that occurs. You have been warned.