I Saw the Devil (South Korea, 2010) - Color, Director(s): Kim Jee-Woon
MPAA Rating: NR
Approx. 141 min.
Z-rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5
WOW!!! I really can't believe I missed this gem during it's theatrical run. I'm a huge fan of revenge movies and I always thought Oldboy was the pinnacle of revenge cinema. After watching this one though, I really have to reconsider that (Funny that both movies star actor Min-sik Choi). This movie was one long cat-and-mouse game between a serial killer and National Intelligence Service agent, who I will now be referring to as Storm Shadow for the remainder of this review. So Oldboy is a serial killer and happens to murder Storm Shadow's wife one night. As you probably could've guessed, Storm Shadow loses his shit and methodically hunts down every suspect in his wife's murder until it leads him to Oldboy. Showing more self-control than expected of anybody in his position, Storm Shadow doesn't immediately rage kill Oldboy to death. Instead, he just beats the ever-loving crap out of him and plants a tracking device on him before letting him go. Once Oldboy moves onto a different victim, Storm Shadow sneaks up on him and delivers another fresh ass whooping. Oldboy eventually catches on and seeks refuge with an old friend. After figuring out who has been doing all this to him, Oldboy tries to even up the score and seems like he might even get the upper hand in this cat-and-mouse game of revenge.
Choi plays a cold-hearted serial killer, it's scary how remorseless and completely devoid of compassion his character was to the point that he seemed almost inhuman. I read that this was his first major role since exiling himself in protest of a reduction in Korea's screen quota system. Choi and Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow) are two of Korea's most recognizable stars and this was the first time they shared the screen together. Rather than a straight up horror movie, this is more like a crime drama and suspense thriller. The brutality and violence is rough and some of the characters are truly detestable.
|This fucker right here|
Nudity: Storm Shadow's wife awakens completely naked and covered in a plastic sheet after the attack by Oldboy. Other than that, he also attempts to rape a couple of his victims.
|Not exactly sexy...|
Gore: BRUTAL! This isn't the fun type of splatter-gore you find in your average slasher film, the violence here is serious and dark. In fact, the movie isn't even particularly gory, it's just the way it's depicted makes it difficult to watch. Absolutely brutal.
|Looks like Dr. Frankenstein's Lego set|
Awesome: to the MAX! Although some parts are a little ridiculous, this is a pretty suspenseful movie. Storm Shadow's plan of letting a menace like Oldboy free is far from perfect, but he's pretty much working solo as a vigilante so I guess he couldn't be always be there to kick the shit out of him. Storm Shadow comes out with a couple scrapes himself and just starts winging it whenever things don't go according to plan. With that said, this movie is an intense revenge flick with a gripping story that is sure to entertain all your guests for Halloween... as long as no one minds reading subtitles.