Pure Asian Entertainment: Film, TV, Anime & Manga
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

A 2002 South Korean revenge drama directed by Park Chan-wook.

< read all 4 reviews

This might test your patience but Parks film is worthy of your time

  • Jan 5, 2007
  • by
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 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.

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
December 02, 2010
a-hah! I see this review here too! marvelous!
More Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance reviews
Quick Tip by . June 27, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
I had no idea what to expect (other than vengeance) from Sympathy for Mr. Vengeace, the first film of Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy. I've liked Park's dark take on the thematic material he works with as best exemplified in the second film of the trilogy Oldboy, but at the same time I wasn't as impressed with his vampire film Thirst. However, being open to new filmmakers and being a lover of foreign cinema, I decided to give this a try and was rather pleasantly surprised.   …
review by . August 29, 2009
posted in ASIANatomy
dvd by Tartan
   SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE is the first chapter of Park Chan-Wook's vengeance trilogy. Oldboy was released first in U.S. shores, this film was released after on dvd. (When it fact this is the first chapter). After Park's breakout hit "J.S.A.", the director was finally able to make the films she always wanted to, I've read that Park originally wrote the script for "Mr. Vengeance" almost 10 years before he managed to shoot the film. This film was highly anticipated …
review by . December 27, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Park Chan-wook's Vengeance trilogy sure does give you a break from the normal film and it makes you appreciate Korean cinema. I saw Oldboy first and I was impressed and it is now one of my favorite films so initially I had to see the rest of the trilogy. First, if you are wondering what the violence is around I think it exceeds Oldboy a little and though most of the film can be comical or even sad at times the violent scenes has its moments. The film is about a deaf-mute man named Ryu who comes …
About the reviewer
Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
Ranked #16
Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this movie


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
view wiki


Director: Park Chan-wook
Genre: Crime, Drama, Foreign, Thriller
Release Date: March 29, 2002
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005
Runtime: 129 minutes
Studio: Tartan Video
Polls with this movie
J.S.A. - Joint Security Area

Favorite Park Chan-Wook Movies


© 2015, LLC All Rights Reserved - Relevant reviews by real people.
ASIANatomy is part of the Network - Get this on your site
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since