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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 13 May 2006
Why is it today, that all films have to come in trilogy form? Whatever the reason, film trilogies are everywhere in this day and age, so praise the Lord for Park Chan-Wook's third instalment to his brilliant Vengeance Trilogy, Lady Vengeance. Coming after the 2003 releases of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy, Lady Vengeance is perhaps the most stylish and charming (sorry, but Lee Young-Ae is slightly more attractive than Choi Min-Suk) of the three films that all stand alone in their own right.

We begin with Gueum-ja's release from a thirteen-and-a-half-year stint in prison for a kidnap and murder she took the blame for. Bitterly determined, out heroine is now a far cry from the charming 'Gueum-ja the kind-hearted' that touched each of her cellmates like an angel. Not losing her appeal, however, Gueum-ja now seeks revenge on the man who took her heart and soul away from her.

Starting her journey by visiting her old cellmates, Gueum-ja begins to plot her revenge, pulling in favours from all her ex-con buddies. Park's direction here quite literally shines, as we see the stories of all she has touched played out. Powerful, her angelic metaphor is brought to life. But, how she has fallen? She is now Hell-bent on revenge, and the reunion with her now adopted daughter only adds to her pain and anger.

Gueum-ja is no angel; not entirely innocent; and must feel some guilt. This is the film's charm. Like in Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy before it, the hero, or in this case heroine, is by no means perfect and has made their fair share of mistakes. The ability to empathise with the characters and live their journeys is what makes Park's films so beautiful. it's not just the aesthetically-pleasing weaponry!

Like the beautiful Gueum-ja, this film is by no means perfect, but does its best, nonetheless. The choice of music fits Gueum-ja's story with ease and, despite a slightly flawed and at times ending, the irony has a similar impact to that of Oldboy. A charming ending to an excellent trilogy. 9-out-of-10 falsely convicted felons would agree revenge is bittersweet.
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on 28 February 2006
A superb conlusion to Chan-wook Park's excellent trilogy of blackly comic tragedies. Korean cinema is among the most exciting and progressive in the world and Lady Vengenence showcases exactly why. Min-sik Choi (unbelievably brilliant in Oldboy and Shiri) is once again fascinating and Yeong-ae Lee is equally as compelling as the complex heroine. Park's distinctive aesthetic vision and dedication to conceptualised, textured production design really makes his work distinctive, with brilliant performances from the cast transforming the stylish and violent images into profound meditations on life and loss. With more subtlety employed in the depiction of violence and a more accesible script, Lady Vengence could be described as a more mature outing for the often confontational director. Again employing subtle CGI to create a sureal world in which to hang an equally sureal and macabre story, Park indulges the audience in a visual, viscerial tale of humananity and it's darker side. An easier way to start with Chan-wook Park than either Oldboy or Sympathy for Mr. Vengence, if not quite as satisfying as either of those two pictures.
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on 29 July 2006
My personal favourite of the trilogy (although Oldboy is a very close second). This film displays images that conjure up raw instinctive emotions for the viewer, mixed with shots of pure beauty and art. Following this woman's journey for closure is an amazing trip which keeps your mind busy, your rage pumping and the tears flowing. Beautiful.
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This 2005 revenge horror thriller [aka: Lady Vendetta, aka: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance] revolves around the kidnap and murder of a 6 year old boy and the woman imprisoned for the crime. Thirteen years later and Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae) is released after serving her sentence, but her soul is not at rest and she seeks vengeance, but who against, why and what for?
This is really difficult to discus without giving away major plot-lines, but suffice to say there are plenty of interesting characters [each with their own past] picked up along the way and the first 45 minutes have you wondering what Geum-Ja is up to, so it plays as a jigsaw type detective thriller. The middle is a complete turn around, while the final third contains the truly harrowing scenes and concluding actions of the participants in the entire escapade. A nice touch is seeing a ‘Christian’ religious angle as seen from a Korean perspective. The story is good with some surreal imagery to add interest and the music is suitably atmospheric.
The single disc offers play, scene selection, set-up [2.0, 5.1, 5.1DTS, English subtitles on/off] and extra features [Director interview, theatrical trailer, Asia Extreme trailer reel]. There are 3 sex themed scenes but most is suggested, there is no nudity and only mild swearing. What makes this an 18 are the really intense and disturbing scenes late in the film and the agonizing choices characters have to make. This isn’t an easy film to watch at the end, being quite dark and distressing.
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on 23 January 2010
After much speculation, I can confirm this is the 'fade to white' version only (starts at approx 75mins).
It is region B according to cover.
Extra features; Style of LV, making of LV,LV in Venice, the characters.

The 1080p/24fps picture is absolutely stunning, along with the Korean 5.1DTS-MA soundtrack, (English subtitles only).

Loses 1 star for not having both versions, but I am pleased to just have this excellent follow-on from Oldboy [Blu-ray] [2003] in high definition.

This could have been a definitive release, another missed opportunity for blu ray.
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on 27 February 2006
After watching Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Oldboy my hopes were high for the finale of Park's 'revenge trilogy'.
The film has a different feel to the others,portraying revenge in a different light.In a way very innocent,almost less passsionate. Unlike Oldboy the film has little mystery,little intrigue. The story is simple,Geum-ja Lee (excellently played by Yeong-ae Lee) seeks vengeance on the man who put her in prison.
As the story unfolds we slowly are revealed more and more as to why and how she has been incarcerated.
The film (as with Park's previous titles) excels with great acting and strong narration.It's artistic tallent is affluent and adds a great deal to the film. The finale and prison scenes excel ,standing out as favourites.
The problem with the film is that it doesn't quite live up to the other 2 film's standards. It feels that a little more was needed story wise. It's demise was the fact it was the finish to two brilliant films. The fact that Min-sik Choi (Oldboy,Oh-Dae-Su) makes a 'cameo' apperance along with Ji-tae Yu (Oldboy,Woo-jin Lee) gives it the feeling of a 'tribute film'. Regardless they both play their parts well, but it's a constant reminder of how much Oldboy felt.
As a 'standalone film' this excels far above the rest,especially over half the popcorn flicks Hollywood churn out yearly.A jem not to be missed,just didn't deliver as gloriously as it's predecessors did.
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A well composed film, unwrapping itself within a series of distinct layers as familiar themes from the previous films arise - the selling of kidneys, children being murdered, kidnapping, ransom, black plastic bags on the head but with another flourish - female revenge.

A tale of a woman who was forced into confession for a crime of child killing and the film unravels in segments from this point. Prison life is portrayed in a series of graphic vignettes, in particular the bullying within the regime and its impact upon the occupants. Then there is the main character, ice bound bent on her particular desire for recompense for the years she has lost. Rather than take someone who is low in life, the film travels into the middle class sense of aspiration, looking at the social and human cost. Then it asks some questions about what lies beneath the veneer.

Beautifully composed film shots, laced with a melancholia that runs like a gushing vein throughout towards the final shots as it releases its internal pain. A sad laconic film based upon memories, greed, gain and loss.

For me it lacked the punch and twist of Mr. Venegeance and loses a star in comparison, but compared to everything else this sails far far above and is worth being transfixed by a deep Korean introspection upon the world people inhabit.
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on 11 November 2014
Lady Vengeance Tartan Asia Extreme 5023965367129. Cert 18 Region 0. South Korean film 2006. Cj Entertainment presents a Park Chan-Wook film. From the makers of Oldboy. Bonus: interview, trailers, film notes, audio setup. I'm selling this. Follow the link in the title. Opening credits music is nice. The soundtrack from the previous film was awesome. First scene is during winter. A group of musicians in Santa Claus outfits play as Lee Guem-Ja leaves prison. I will be downloading the soundtrack. She was 20 when she'd been charged with the kidnap and murder of a child. In prison for 13 and a half years. I like the flashback scene explaining her background. Beautifully told story. Nicely edited. A good cast of actors. Powerful soundtrack. There is the boyfriend now ex that had stuck by her. He was fascinated by her as were the rest of the nation. He had bought her tofu. With world cinema it's good to hear the foreign languages.

A new inmate has been introduced as Kim Yang-Hee. She was a prostitute. Now works as a hairdresser. Guem-Ja is out for revenge. The main actor from Old boy is in this. There is an American film by this director called Stokes. Woo So-Young is another inmate, in for armed robbery. A few characters narrate the story. Some humour in the film. Ko Sun-Sook is an elder woman. She was a spy from North Korea. Oh Sue-He is in for adultery. First thing is she goes down on a fellow prisoner. There is some good Asian lesbian porn that you might like. The Infamous Witch is the one demanding oral. She killed her husband and his mistress. You see the characters as they are now and as prisoners. See the TV shows Wentworth and Orange Is The New Black. Won-Mo was the victim. She went to visit the boy's parents. The detective happens on a chance meeting with her. Some might see these films as controversial. Mainly positive reviews. I recommend this film.
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on 19 May 2006
This movie is simply unbelievably good. The story is about a woman framed for killing a young child. Whilst in prison, she takes on a saintly persona and becomes a model prisoner, making many friends (and a few enemies). Le Guem-ja helps prisoners and on her release calls in the many favours to track down and get revenge on the real child killer!

This film is a must see especially for any foolish person who thinks being in prison makes them appear 'hard'. Trust me, if I ever had the terrible misfortune of ending up in a Korean prison and was subjected to one of the most cringe-making scenes I have ever witnessed - I would surely die!

The film was excellent at portraying how far a person is prepared to go, to ensure that vengeance has been achieved.

To sum up, you know the scene in Pulp Fiction, when Samuel L Jackson's character recites that piece of scripture, this film is all about that!!!!
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on 29 June 2007
This film is really good. Park Chanwook made the perfect conclusion to a trilogy with Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The three films work off each other beautifully, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is far from a disappointment.The acting is top-notch, with cameos from Park Chanwook's first two films intermingling with new talent. The directing is superb, not quite eclipsing Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance or Oldboy but coming quite close. Park's directing style is solid and distinctive; he builds off earlier films and ideas to give an air of intensity surrounding the most innocent of scenes.

SFLV cuts back on the violence and focuses on personal turmoil, a welcome change from the beginning of his revenge trilogy. My favorite elements of this movie are the use of flashbacks to tell the witty, yet complicated story, and that the film sticks to its theme of vengeance with a die-hard, unwavering dedication. The only thing holding back from a perfect score is a slow ending, one which is necessary to bring the trilogy to a close but still slightly treading.

All in all, this film represents a master finishing his masterpiece, should be viewed by everyone, and works perfectly as a separate film and not a piece of a trilogy. Violence is minimal compared to Park's first two films, but is graphic. "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is one of the few films that will make people cry not out of sadness but out of love.
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