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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted..
The story is this. Dae-hoon (played superbly by Byung-hun Lee) is a secret agent whose fiance is brutally murdered and he sets out to find the killer himself. He does so fairly easily. Only instead of killing him, he beats him half to death before making the semi concious killer swallow a tracking device. He then stalks him and exacts his revenge slowly and increasingly...
Published on 8 May 2011 by Will

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Adolescent Dribble
Modern schlock horror built on Saw/Hostel theme of vengeance and murder. Unbelievable plot built with one aim; to deliver lots of blood, gore and female offal, based on the serial killer theme to a male fantasy a type of heavy metal pheromone film making. Now unfortunately this has become a "genre."

A film so vacuous it makes the collected wisdom of the...
Published on 17 May 2012 by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles


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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted.., 8 May 2011
By 
Will (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Saw The Devil [DVD] (DVD)
The story is this. Dae-hoon (played superbly by Byung-hun Lee) is a secret agent whose fiance is brutally murdered and he sets out to find the killer himself. He does so fairly easily. Only instead of killing him, he beats him half to death before making the semi concious killer swallow a tracking device. He then stalks him and exacts his revenge slowly and increasingly more violently. This is about as far from a hollywood slasherfest as you can get. There are no bikini clad girls running about doing stupid things waiting to be killed. This has the type of brutal realism that will make you feel uncomfortable, the type you would expect from a Korean revenge thriller.

What starts out as two totally opposite characters soon blurs the line somewhat as Dae-hoon's actions often lead others into harm as a result of his quest for revenge. His mind has clearly gone a bit due to the pain he is going through and in some scenes you can see how emotionally broke down he has become..However theres no mistaking who the devil is. Min-sik Choi (the lead and star of OldBoy) was brilliant in OldBoy but here he's even better. I dont know if there has ever been a more convincing portrayal of a truly evil, twisted, disgusting, psychopathic rapist killer. Often his facial expressions say more than words ever could. You will probably enjoy every moment of his suffering at the hands of Dae-hoon... The Vengeance Trilogy is tame in comparison.

The acting in particular of the two leads is astounding. The story is great with a few excellent plot twists just when you think one of the characters has the upper hand. There are some amazing scenes, one of the best is a double death that I wont spoil but you will know it when you see it. It's brilliantly done. There are plenty of other stand out moments. Everything is brutal and very realistic, you wont find any over the top kung fu stuff in this and you wont find any of the complexities of the likes of OldBoy either. This is no mystery, it's a very simple straightforward revenge thriller but masterfully done. The ending isn't that original but it is memorable like most of the film, especially the conversation right before the end.

Although banned in Korea on release for "severely damaging the dignity of human values" (and you can see why it would), it's not the most gory or violent film from that region or from the West, far from it, but it is pretty graphic so be warned! There is alot of blood, head bashing with blunt objects, stabbing, and scenes of rape/attempted rape among other things (including a very hard to watch scene with a foot and a knife).

This isnt as intelligent or suspenceful as other korean revenge thrillers and the characters are pretty shallow and one dimensional. I would have liked to have seen a bit of background story on why the killer became who he was. The plot is very far fetched as well but hey it's a film. Just capturing the guy and torturing him wouldn't make much of a film..this does. It also would have been good to see more of Dae-hoons fiances sister just because shes so pretty! Nontheless this is a great film and if you are a fan of korean revenge thrillers or good films in general it's a must. 4/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars KOREAN RAPE SLASHER, 14 Sep 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: I Saw The Devil [DVD] (DVD)
The soundtrack starts out like this is a cheap Italian movie. It gets better.

The movie starts out with a woman stranded on a highway in the snow. She has a wrecker coming and is talking on her cell to her husband, a secret agent who watches Liam Neeson films. He is also conducting business. At one point he excuses himself to go to the restroom so he can sing to her on the phone. The next thing you know she is bludgeoned and dragged to a location where she is stripped and chained. The man doesn't torture her, just simply kills her. We find out that not only is he a psycho, but generally socially dysfunctional.

Her husband takes a leave from work and goes and plays "Dirty Harry" on every Korean pervert until he finds the killer in the act of raping a girl. Apparently the killer disrobes, rapes and then murders his victims, although he kills men too. He stops the rape and beats up the killer, but lets him go. The killer now has a bug and tracking device on him. Our Korean Dirty Harry is able to follow him around. When the killer/rapist is in the middle of an act, our Korean Dirty Harry shows up, beats the guys up and cuts on him. He is now wearing a soccer jersey so he can claim he got his wounds playing soccer in order to get medical attention, perhaps intended as a joke.

Nudity and rape, although the rape scenes are far less graphic than our 70's films. The translation was rather smooth and kudos for some originality.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly Surprised, 1 Oct 2011
This review is from: I Saw The Devil [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this film on a bit of a whim. Usually I'd try to learn more about a film before I buy it, but seeing the names associated with it I thought I'd give it a go.

I ended up really enjoying it! What starts as a pretty generic horror/torture porn cliché, quickly develops into something deeper and multi-layered. I'm not claiming that this is the first of its kind, but it certainly stood out for me as something a little more interesting than most horrors these days. Some have said that the "Revenge" theme has been overdone, and that we're now too familiar with the "to kill the monster you must become a monster yourself" ideology. Possibly true, but I'm still more than happy to go along with it for the time being.

It's pretty rough throughout and some might find the relentless horror/violence too much. There are definitely a couple of moments that had me wincing and curling up into a little ball (look out for the scene in the doctor's surgery) but on the whole I feel like the violence and sexual aggression was in keeping with the films dark themes.

I wouldn't say it's for everyone, but I liked it!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Adolescent Dribble, 17 May 2012
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: I Saw The Devil [DVD] (DVD)
Modern schlock horror built on Saw/Hostel theme of vengeance and murder. Unbelievable plot built with one aim; to deliver lots of blood, gore and female offal, based on the serial killer theme to a male fantasy a type of heavy metal pheromone film making. Now unfortunately this has become a "genre."

A film so vacuous it makes the collected wisdom of the X Factor finalists seem riveting in a beauty parade comparison.

The Devil lacks any detail and there is no insight into a killers dynamic, misses a motive, no reference to any drives, apart from a sub-religious notion he is evil and that is how he was born...yep just like Omen, Exorcist etc, this is a morality play squirming in its offal for the pre-pubescent mind to gorge upon.

Plot; A police officer has his pregnant girlfriend killed in a gruesome scenario, where she is prayed upon and then dismembered, the corpse is found by chance and then our hero goes on "holiday" to extract bespoke revenge. The plot is so well worn, it holds up as transparent gossamer tissue paper, especially built to capture and then mop up those pre pubescent white stains on the jeans. Michael Winner and his Deathwish franchise planted his large pole first. Quite why Korea has taken up this genre is more interesting, than this moral palm bashing fantasy, highlighting its own internal psychological malaise amongst young adolescent men.

Portrays graphic violence, rapes etc, butchering all administered to women, offering no insight whatsoever, other than a Marquis De Sade delivery of the final coup de grace, minus any of the big Marqu's philosophising psychology. An interplay between the two main characters, who indulge in cat and mouse; but after witnessing the first graphic beating, then the second, then the third, my mind switched off, reflecting on the time being exploited by this film.

Anyone who has taken and administered a beating will know, recuperation is more than two days of sedation and a few bandages. Why the cop keeps letting the killer go to kill others, is just suspending belief, plot and interest. The mainstream cops meanwhile are just bog standard wooden-tops, jaw dropping, saliva dribbling, mouths agape, bugged out and pop eyed;wrenching their hands as each bloodied and battered dismembered corpse enters the morgue. Each is met with a shaggy shake of the head, whilst remaining suspended in inaction.

Unlike "Memories of Murder" which opened a vista, this plays to prog "Heavy Metal" adolescent fantasies; extracting the worst aspects of the American revenge gripe and then giving it a few more knife flourishes.

By the end I was so bored, I was past caring what happened to either character. I turned away and then turned it off. I presume good triumphed over evil, and a fitting dispatch was accorded to the baddy. I could be wrong and there is another franchise on the loose.

Either way I could not care less.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, Raw and Engrossing: What a film!, 24 May 2011
By 
This review is from: I Saw The Devil [DVD] (DVD)
Having been firmly in the Chan Wook Park camp (Oldboy, Thirst, Sympathy for Mr.Vengance) I was amazed by the brilliance of 'A Tale of Two Sisiters' during a recent, belated viewing A Tale Of Two Sisters [DVD] [2004]. Hence, since then I've been a huge fan of Jee Woon Kim and his back catalogue.

I have been really looking forward to 'I Saw The Devil' and boy, did it deliver the goods. I've found in the past that some of his work has been a little patient, in that everything takes a while to get going. Whilst 'A Tale of Two Sisters' is simply brillant, it is an example case to some extent.

On the contrary, you won't have a minute to catch your breath with 'I Saw The Devil' as it explodes into life in no uncertain terms, with a very violent and gut-wrenching murder. The pace never slackens and the running time slips by as your thrown from one gripping situation to another.

Revenge is the main theme, but there are a lot of clever 'is he doing the right thing' questions posed to the audience throughout. The acting, especially from 'Oldboy' himself and Lee Byung-Hun (A Bittersweet Life) is faultless. The tearful breakdown of the main character (Byung-Hun) in the final scene is as much a release for the character as it is for the ultra tense viewer. Again, a very provocative ending, one that is becoming a trademark of this superb director.

It's worth stating the obvious by saying that this is not 'easy' viewing; there are some pretty brutal and graphic scenes, but importantly, all are justified and all are used to heighten the sympathy/hatred for each of the respective lead characters.

'I Saw The Devil' is in some ways more sophisticated than many similar films in it's tight genre. Gratuitous it isn't, but brutal, intense and utterly brilliant it most certainly is.

A stone-wall 5 Stars.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edge of your seat slasher!, 1 May 2011
By 
Andries J. Hough "Sunray" (Cape Town, South Africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Saw The Devil [DVD] (DVD)
This movie could teach those Hollywood Directors a thing or two. Brutal and disturbing in equal measure, I Saw the Devil is a thrill ride with a twist. Korean Film is fresh and bursting with new ideas. Great cinematography, fast-paced and relentless on the senses. If there are truly people like this (as depicted in the film) out there, this world is a very, very scary place. See it if you dare!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST THRILLERS OF ALL TIME - UNFORTUNATELY PRE-CUT, 24 April 2012
By 
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This review is from: I Saw The Devil [DVD] (DVD)
THE MOVIE

I SAW THE DEVIL is one of the best and grittiest thrillers ever made, and simply the best South Korean film ever and therefore worth 5 stars in its UNCUT state. While released in the US/Canada in this uncut version the UK only gets the pre-cut Korean version.
Why didn't the UK distributor bother to secure the rights for the uncut version a.k.a. the international version?
The UK print still has plenty of gore, don't get me wrong, but censored is censored. -1 star for the lack of effort Optimum showed to obtain the uncensored version.
Roughly 80 seconds are missing here, only a few seconds of actual gore though. All scenes related to cannibalism (although never explicit) have been completely edited out, along with some dialogue. The most violent stabbings and beating remain intact however, someone understand Korean censorship?
The Korean cut still is highly watchable and shocking, the package reads "THE BEST SERIAL KILLER FILM SINCE SEVEN" and I must say I totally agree! Totally suspenseful, shocking, bloody and violent, and certainly not for all tastes. One of my favorite thrillers of all time.
5.0 OUT OF 5.0 STARS.

THE DVD

Reviewed version: 2011 Optimum UK DVD
Feature running time: 138 mins. (pre-cut Korean version)
Rating: Unrated (MPAA) / 18 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Audio: Korean 5.1, Korean 2.0
Subtitles: English
Chapters: 12
Extras: Interviews, Making Of, Trailer, TV spot
Region: 2

Picture and audio quality are good on DVD, nothing special. I recommend the Blu-ray. The extras are OK but nothing to go crazy about.

U.S. region 1/A DVD/Blu-ray release contains the uncensored International version.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Relentless And Shocking, 26 Jun 2014
Korean horror/thrillers don't come much better than I Saw The Devil. It has some shocking moments in it and is probably one of the best thrillers i have seen since Seven. It never lets up scene after scene it just keeps you gripped as to what the killer is actually going to do next and what the hero is going to do to him. Overall i would rate this a 9/10 easily.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly well made, but disappointing ending, 9 May 2014
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This would of been one of my favourite films of all time if we wouldn't have had the usual "moral battle" that plagues most revenge movies....I mean, the guy killed your wife and taunts you about it...rip out his insides and feed them to him and ENJOY DOING IT. THERE IS NO MORAL BATTLE.

Best part of film was second time he catches the scum and severs his achilles tendon, that was absolutely exquisite and wonderful...but went downhill after that with all the "inner turmoil" and pleading from his in-laws to stop...pathetic and annoying. Especially since the story is so damn good and it promises you so much when he tells him that "it's just beginning" after the second beat-down.

Amazingly well made and acted, but not enough punishment for my liking and when he does finally catch up with him at the end, he kills him in such a quick and pathetic way that there is no pay-off or feeling of satisfaction that he has suffered or been mentally broken down, which the story promised.

Massive let-down for me, impeccably well made, no doubt, but doesn't come close to the remake of "I Spit On Your Grave" in terms of satisfactory deaths of scum-bags.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good grief it's intense, 26 Mar 2014
By 
Richard Morton (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Saw the Devil (Amazon Instant Video)
Fans of Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and their ilk should check this out. It's a brutal, uncompromising revenge thriller in a similar vein to those films rather than the Chuck Norris style actioner we might have expected in days gone by.

Our "hero" is hunting down a serial killer following the death of his pregnant fiance at the hands of the aforementioned monster. Once he finds him though things get really nasty, he decides to take out his revenge in a more novel fashion. "Catching and releasing, catching and releasing" as one character puts it. However this choice leads to SERIOUS consequences for others and shows that perhaps there are no heroes in this film after all.

Brilliantly acted and stylishly directed this comes recommended, although not for the faint of heart.
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