No matter what our well-crafted plans be or how meticulously executed they are, life sometimes takes strange turns in ways completely unanticipated even by the smartest of men.
We call this the law of unintended consequences of our actions.
If Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance (2002), the precursor to Korean director Park Chan-wook’s well-known oldboy and the first film in his Vengeance trilogy, embodies anything it’s the law of unintended consequences.
Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance features South Korean actors Shin Ha-kyun, Song Kang-ho and Bae Doona in key roles.
When a deaf-mute young man Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) desperate to save his ailing sister in urgent need of a kidney transplant decides to donate his own kidney and pay 10-million Wons to a group that promises a compatible kidney for his sister, little does he or we know the strange, horrible consequences that will soon follow with deadly consequences.
Ryu’s money and kidney are soon gone and he’s abandoned naked in a deserted building by the criminal group that’s been preying on people like Ryu.
Compounding Ryu’s misery, the hospital tells him that a compatible kidney is available for his sister and asks him to get there soon with 10-million Won.
What’s the desperate man to do?
His quick-witted girlfriend Cha Yeong-mi, played by the effervescent Bae Doona convinces an initially reluctant Ryu that under the circumstances kidnapping is the right course to take.
Before long, a young girl, daughter of Ryu’s ex-boss’ friend Song Kang-ho (Park Dong-jin) has been lifted and brought to the hovel Ryu and his sister live in.
But kidnapping the young girl and getting the ransom seems the easiest part in retrospect for everything goes awry after that.
Vengeance lifts its cloak off the human soul and death becomes a constant visitor, dropping its calling card ever so often in this entertaining Korean film.
Horrific vengeance plotted and carried by three extremely angry parties – Ryu, the kidnapped girl’s father Song Kang-ho and a shadowy terrorist group.
Korean filmmakers have mastered the use of violence and brutality to telling effect and Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance is one more example.
Violent and tragic as Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance is, it’s not without humor, albeit of a dark variety.
When Ryu’s ailing sister lies writhing and moaning in agony on the floor, four young men living next door imagine that she’s in the throes of a ferocious orgasm and start jerking off furiously to the sound of her painful moans.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is another engrossing Korean film and director Park Chan-wook deserves kudos for putting out a solid entertainer.
Park Chan-wook deftly uses the silence of Ryu’s deafness to strong, jolting effect on multiple occasions.
Accustomed as we are to shoddy acting from our Bollywood and Kollywood stars who won’t recognize acting even if it bit them on the nose, to watch the talented trio of Shin Ha-kyun, Song Kang-ho and Bae Doona is a revelation and sheer delight.
If you believe the anonymous writers on Wiki, Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to remake this film in English and hired Brian Tucker to write the screenplay.
We’re sufficiently impressed with Park Chan-wook’s work that you may rest assured it won’t be long before we watch the other two movies in the Vengeance trilogy soon.
SearchIndia.com strongly recommends you add Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance to your Netflix queue.