Now on DVD from Palisades Tartan is the most exciting, impressive and comprehensive Vengeance Trilogy box-set the world has ever seen! Featuring 8-discs and more special features then any other set on the planet (including the Korean version), celebrity essays as well as a few surprises, Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy is out and worthy of your purchase. Read Ryan Daley’s review below. Click here for full specs.
Looking back, the Asian horror fad of the early ’00′s is probably best remembered for the American remakes of The Ring and The Grudge, two nail-biting crowd pleasers that made bank at the box office. But as far as cultural infamy is concerned, the continued popularity of Asian cinema over the past decade rests squarely on the backs of two particular filmmakers: Takashi Mi’ike and Park Chan-wook. They’re like the Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci of today, two renegade artists shooting at the top of their game, out to throttle their eager American audiences with heavy emotion, mind-blowing plot twists, and a good dose of revulsion.
The pick of Park’s cinematic litter is undoubtedly his “Vengeance” trilogy–Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2004), and Lady Vengeance (2005)–which has finally hit Blu-Ray in a 4-disc Vengeance Boxed Set. [It's worth noting that a similar DVD boxed set released a few months ago contained 8 discs instead of 4, and until recently it was assumed that the Blu-Ray set would also consist of 8 discs. Even the print on the back of my metal tin insists that I'm holding an 8-disc set, but rest assured, there are only 4 discs total.]
The trilogy is stylish and heavy, and the Blu-Ray transfer perfectly captures the varying degrees of visual darkness that Park likes to explore, a richness that can be hard to appreciate when the films are viewed on straight DVD. The sound design is downright explosive, with every scrape and screech rendered in agonizing, ear-rending detail. Oldboy, a gut-punch of a revenge flick with a particularly heinous twist ending, is understandably the most renowned of the trilogy, and is therefore graciously allowed to spread its legs across two discs, leaving the other two films with one disc each. Oldboy is also the only film in the set to feature an (admittedly decent) English dub.
The Blu-Ray box comes packed with the same special features as the previously released DVD set: commentaries with Park, deleted scenes, an assload of special little documentaries, trailers, etc. Included with Lady Vengeance is a “Fade to Black and White” version: the feature is gradually drained of all color as the running time progresses. It’s a highly potent boxed set, loaded with all of the insight and info one could possibly hope for. Considering that Oldboy is currently the only film available for individual purchase on Blu-Ray, it may be a set worth picking up.