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Category 'Korea'

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (KOREA 2005)

Directed : Park Chan Wook
Written by : Park Chan-wook and Jeong Seo-Gyeong
Cast : Lee Young-Ae, Choi Min Mik

Synopsis :
“A high school student (Lee) goes to jail in order to save the teacher (Choi) she loves. When she leaves prison 13 years later, she finds she has been betrayed and prepares to take her revenge.”

by Edward Tang

Ah, from the moment you view the opening stylized credits you know that you’ll be in for a damn good ride brought to you by Mr. Park Chan-wook. Returning for the final time to his vengeance-themed flicks, you can bet your ass that he delivers the goods again. From the beginning to end, you are treated with a visual display that most directors couldn’t even handle if they tried. Everything in this film is up to par, whether it be the performances (I don’t think you’ll find a film that this man has directed where the actors weren’t pure goodness throughout), the plot, the awesome musical score, direction or anything in between. Perhaps the only thing people would bitch about would be the lack of “action” in between scenes like the infamous hallway fight in Oldboy or when that Green-haired douche in Mr. Vengeance smacks down the kidney-thieves. What we have here is a gift, the perfect conclusion to the GREATEST trilogy of films I’ve ever seen. Take the gift, unwrap it and enjoy.

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Joint Security Area (KOREA 2001)

Director : Park Chan Wook
Cast : Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee, Kang-ho Song, Tae-woo Kim and Ha-kyun Shin.

In the DMZ separating the Koreas, peace is as fragile as the wooden bridge linking North and South. When two North Korean soldiers are killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier, it threatens to ignite a full-scale conflict. An impartial Swiss intelligence team is sent to investigate and they quickly find flaws in the official version of events. Why were 16 bullets found at the crime scene when the assassin’s gun housed only 15 rounds? It’s a race to uncover the truth as tensions rise at the most heavily armed border on Earth.

by Edward Tang

Park Chan Wook has easily produced the best string of Vengeance-plotted films in existence, starting with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance to Oldboy and he might do the same in his 2005 release of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. I found both films to be completely out of the ordinary and quite the punch that cinema needed. They not only included a great story, but had excellent performances and direction. I didn’t know of anything else he made, until I rented JSA yesterday, and I can say that Mr. Vengeance himself, can now be labeled as Mr. Genius. This film is based on the DMZ that separates North and South Korea (craftily remade in a studio, nicely done might I add), and relationships between such. The film packs a heavy punch, and gives a more simplistic reveal than other films that you might expect from ParkChan-wook , but the results are always deadly.

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Into The Mirror (KOREA 2003)

Director : Kim Sung-Ho
Producer : Kim Eun-Yung
Screenplay : Kim Sung-Ho
Cast : Yoo Ji-Tae, Kim Myung-Min, Kim Hye-Na

Wu Young-Min is the head of security at a shopping mall which is about to reopen after a terrible fire. As an ex-cop, Young-Min is haunted by the tragic event which resulted in his decision to leave the police force. When a young woman is found dead inside the mall and the investigative team arrives to look into the murder, Young-Min finds that he knows the lead detective on the case – Ha Hyun-Su. Young-Min wants to leave the police to their job of finding out what happened to the girl but finds himself being pulled into the case – especially when another dead body is found in the mall.

by Martin Cleary

Into The Mirror is one of those films that fans of J-Horror should enjoy, it has some interesting ideas hidden within its average plotline. The style of film is familiar: an ex-cop who is haunted by his past is forced to confront his fears. Throw into the mix some creepy murders, an ex-college who dislikes him and a friend who just so happens to be a psychologist (what a coincidence!) and you sort of know what type of film this will be from the beginning.

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3 Iron (KOREA 2004)


Director : Kim Ki Duk
Cast : Seung-yeon Lee, Hyun-kyoon Lee, Hyuk-ho Kwon, Jin-mo Ju and Jeong-ho Cohi.

A young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents’ lives for a few days.

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A Bittersweet Life (KOREA 2006)


Director : Kim Ji Woon
Producers : Lee Yo-jin, Oh Jeong-wan
Exec Producer : Park Dong-ho
Scriptwriters : Kim Jee-woon
Editor : Choi Jae-geun
DoP : Kim Jee-woon
Production Designer : Ryu Seong-hie
Sound : Choii Tae-young
Score : Dalpalan, Jang Young-kyu
Cast : Lee Byung-hun, Shin Min-a, Kim Young-chul, Whang Jung-min, Kim Roi-ha, Moon Ching-hyuk, Lee Ki-young, Oh Dalsoo, Jin Gu, Kim Hae-gon

Assigned to guard the headstrong young girlfriend of his crime syndicate boss, normally cold-blooded enforcer Seon-woo lets his guard slip for an instant – and pays an horrific penalty. Made by acclaimed writer-director Kim Jee-woon (The Quiet Family, A Tale of Two Sisters), this raises the bar for onscreen violence and mayhem, its dream-like tone giving way to pure ballistic bedlam, as Seon-woo – bloodied, but by no means beaten – returns to seek revenge against his former master. With its hard-bitten visual style, all rain and shadowy angles, and immaculate production values, this brutal masterpiece will have genre fans nailed to their seats.

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