Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Kang-ho Song
Ha-Kyun Shin
Du-na Bae
Ji-eun Lim.
Directors
Chan-Wook Park.
Screenwriters
Jae-sun Lee
Mu-yeong Lee
Yong-Jong Lee
Chan-Wook Park.
Running Time
121 minutes

LATEST DVD REVIEWS
100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Gremlins
5 Star Empire Rating
Exorcist, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Romance
3 Star Empire Rating
Green Mile, The
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Gremlins
5 Star Empire Rating
Intolerance
5 Star Empire Rating
Spirited Away
5 Star Empire Rating
Thief Of Bagdad, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Killing Fields, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Sympathy For Mr Vengeance
A bizarrely convoluted story from the director of Korea's first bona-fide blockbuster.


submit to reddit


Plot
A deaf mute gets mixed up in organised crime when he tries to procure a kidney for his dying sister.


Review
Park's last film, JSA, was the first true Korean blockbuster and a powerfully simple tale of national division and attempted (symbolic) reunification. His much anticipated follow-up film, which reunites several of his favourite actors, utilises many of the same aesthetic ticks and tricks; but while JSA employed symmetrical compositions as political symbolism, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance feels more like 'art for art's sake'.

The story of a deaf mute who becomes involved in illegal organ transplants, kidnapping, murder and worse is as bizarrely convoluted as it sounds and, whilst open to wide interpretation, it is often hard to summon up the will to care. Bloody and brutal, but wholly lacking compassion, it can only be assumed that the title is intended as deeply ironic. This is but an average film from a potentially great director.


Extras

Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance
Released: 01 December 2003
Calling an assembly of B-roll and raw interviews a ‘making of’ is a bit misleading; plus the usual trailers, filmographies and notes.


Verdict
This is but an average film from a potentially great director.


Reviewed by Justin Bowyer

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Sympathy For Mr Vengeance
Empire Star Rating

Fair. Having daughters myself, this was heart wrenching in moments. However, it amounted to nothing more than a drag to watch with very little redeeming qualities. Simply "ok", nothing more. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Turd Ferguson at 16:48, 29 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Sympathy For Mr Vengeance

I think 3 stars, while arguably harsh, is more or less accurate. The whole film has a very apparent exploitationist edge with some oddballish type characters, around which is created this huge tragedy.  It's solid, but I don't think it's necessarily exceptional, either in terms of script or execution.  There was some interesting cinematography in certain places, and a few moments of genuine character sympathy, but not enough to be a truly outstanding film. ... More

Posted by max314 at 19:55, 29 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Sympathy For Mr Vengeance

Thought this was an excellent film, can't believe the 3 star review; typical of Empire really. ... More

Posted by mackey at 22:58, 28 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Sympathy For Mr Vengeance

Yup, should have been 4 stars. ... More

Posted by fuzbucket mutant at 13:45, 24 December 2007 | Report This Post


?

3 stars is crazy. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 10:15, 26 October 2007 | Report This Post


?

3 stars is crazy. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 10:15, 26 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: What, no user reviews yet?

I saw this in the cinema a few years back, and to be honest I thought it was a load of guff.  I'm a big fan of oldboy, but this was nonsensical bollocks.  It picked up a bit at the end with the ankle slicing but it was just confusing and boring for the sake of it. ... More

Posted by sngroover at 12:03, 31 August 2007 | Report This Post


RE: What, no user reviews yet?

I agree that its a fans film. Its still very strong and you can see how elements were borrowed for Oldboy. The films a tad long and could do with 30mins being shorn off to make the film tighter, much like the other 'vengeance' films. ... More

Posted by BigKovacs at 11:01, 24 August 2007 | Report This Post


What, no user reviews yet?

In short, this film packs more originality and memorable sceneage in it than a summer full of boringwood blockbusters. It's not a jaw-dropper like Park's oldboy but is still heartily recommended for film fans rather than movie-watchers. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dhollseed at 00:47, 18 August 2007 | Report This Post


SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Review Of 2014: Empire's Interviews Of The Year
Crews! Chan! Chickens?! The chats we loved in 2014...

Gallery: Peter Jackson Prop Art: The Bigiatures
An exclusive look inside the director's secret warehouse

Review Of 2014: The Best TV Moments Of The Year
We celebrate the small screen's biggest scenes

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)