Park Chan-Wook is a South Korean director of uncompromising
power and vision. Often his films make uncomfortable viewing
though they are never less than intriguingly entertaining,
he has quite justifiably been called the South Korean Quentin
Tarrantino and its easy to run out of superlatives when trying
to convey just how good the direction, stories and acting
are. These are great films which should find a place in everybody's
three films in this box set contain his trilogy on the themes
of vengeance, love and the personal costs of revenge. Sympathy
For Mr Vengeance, Old
Boy and Lady
Vengeance have all been previously been reviewed
in their special edition releases, so another would be more
than a little redundant. Instead we'll look at the box set
as a whole as, to be honest, if you already own these films
(and if not, why not?) it's going to be the extras which will
whet your appetite.
three films have very good clean anamorphic prints with an
audio choice of stereo, 5.1 or DTS with English subtitles.
one contains Sympathy For Mr Vengeance with a directors
commentary. Park's commentaries are always worth listening
to. His explanations tend to be the sort that illuminate the
film and film making process rather than being of the "aren't
we all great?" variety.
two and we're into the reason for buying the box set. If you
are new to Park's films then I can highly recommend that you
start with Jonathan Ross's documentary, which runs about sixteen
minutes, covering the director's work. As you would expect
from Ross, the arbiter of all things cool, the film is both
entertaining and informative. With many clips from his movies,
Park explains many of the reasons behind his narrative choices.
of Mr Vengeance is a visit to a sign language school.
If you haven't seen the film, the reason behind this is that
the main protagonist and his girlfriend are both deaf, which,
in the film leads to an almost surreal love scene when they
both express themselves through sign language. In this thirty-two
minute film, we are also shown the process that the crew went
through in bringing the story to the screen, including some
very gory special effects. You also get to see the actors
rehearsing their scenes and a little insight into Park's directing
My Boksu Story, running at seventeen minutes, is an
interview with Kang-Ho Song (who played the role of Dong-Jin,
the one who would become Mr Vengeance in the film)
as well as the other major actors who all discuss why they
got involved in the film in the first place. It even includes
a piece about the little girl whose murder sparks off the
To round off the disc you get a twenty-one minute film with
the crew talking about their experience of the film; storyboards;
and the original trailer.
three holds the, mad as a March hare, film Old Boy,
this film comes with three commentaries, one from the director
Park, another with Park and the cinematographer and the last
with Park and the cast. If you haven't gone nuts watching
the film four times to get all that in then you can re-whet
you appetite with the original trailer.
Disc four is where you'll find the new extras for Old Boy,
which consists of a single feature length documentary
called The Autobiography of Old Boy, which is longer
than the film itself and covers everything, and I mean everything,
you could ever wish to know about making the film. It has
loads of rehearsal footage. Personally I felt as exhausted
after watching this as the actors appeared to be, making it.
Still, it remains a fascinating fly on the wall look at the
process of bringing a film to fruition.
Disc five and we are into the last film of the trilogy, Lady
Vengeance, which comes supplied with a commentary by Park
and the lead actress; a commentary by the Director of Photography
and the Art Director; a commentary by Richard Pena; and an
introduction by Park himself, which just about covers this
beautiful work in its totality. If you had bought the previous
version then you're in for a real treat as the version in
the box set is the one that gradually fades to black and white,
the personal choice of Park and unavailable outside this set.
last disc contains the extras. The Making Of is a ten
minute short which gives you more of a flavour of the film,
rather than any in depth look at the process. The Style
of Lady Vengeance contains featurettes covering aspects
of visualisation, production design, art, costume and makeup.
You get alternative scenes with commentary; a look at the
characters; and a short film about the film's premier in Venice;
and five TV and trailer shots to round it off.
original releases garnered a healthy eight to nine marks,
but with the inclusion of the new extras Tartan have pushed
this set into the "must have" category.