Blog Archives

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (2005)

Until you’ve seen a Park Chan-wook film, you’ve never been gruelled. Not even slightly. You may think that other films are raw or powerful or harsh, but other film-makers are novices compared to Master Park. And although Sympathy For Lady Vengeance is visually beautiful, you’ll still be in for a good gruelling.

That said, I’d have to say that this is the gentlest of the Vengeance trilogy (Sympathy For Mr Vengeance and Old Boy being parts one and two … (read more)

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Old Boy (2003)

Let’s get this out of the way first: to quote the MIFF catalogue, Park Chan-Wook’s Old Boy contains scenes which may offend some viewers. Which is to say, lead actor Choi Min-shik eats a live octopus. (Don’t blame me, I’m a vegetarian.) Now we’re not talking about a delicate gulp-and-swallow deal here; that sucker is about the size of a kitten, and he pretty much chomps it down.

I could explain that it’s actually vital to the plot, as … (read more)

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Shiri (1999)

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The reunification of the two Koreas is obviously something of great concern in South Korea, and Shiri drives this fact home. But don’t mistake me: this is not a dry political drama, or a slice of propaganda. This one is a compelling actioner that will have you clenching every muscle you possess, and maybe some of those on the person sitting next to you.

The plot is a simple one, dealing with double agents from North Korea and a dastardly … (read more)

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Crying Fist (2004)

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I must admit to approaching this film with some trepidation. After all, the only other film I’d seen by director Ryoo was Arahan, and while that was fun mindless entertaiment, I was hard-pressed to imagine him succeeding with something serious.

My fears were unfounded, because this is a genre-defying drama which succeeds wonderfully. Choi Min-shik will always be watchable, whatever the role and whatever the film, and he imbues his down-and-out boxer with real humanity. Moments that, in lesser … (read more)

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