• Studio: Tartan
  • Release Date: Apr 28, 2006

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
Watch On
  1. 89
    Park is one sick puppy, and I mean that in the very best sense of the phrase.
  2. 75
    For most of Lady Vengeance, Park is playing with us. But the jokey atmosphere dissipates and the fun turns inside out in the movie's last act.
  3. 80
    Chan-wook Park completes his "revenge trilogy" with this ravishing black comedy about a notorious child killer.
  4. A comedy of evil and strange redemption, Lady Vengeance makes sure that we feel the pain, that we know what it's like to unreasonably suffer, because those are the rules of its mad, wounding, vengeful world.
  5. "Old Boy's" vivid star Choi Min-sik plays a terrible schoolteacher -- yet another damned soul in Park's inflammatory, inimitable movie inventory of hell on earth.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Ferraro
    A brutal mystery that's more beautifully poetic than the previous entries but still just as captivating. From opening to closing credits, every image is photographed as if it were a painting; even those involving ferocious violence are wonderful to look at.
  7. 50
    If this is what qualifies, as some critics have suggested, as an artistic advance for Mr. Park, let us pray for a hasty retreat.
  8. Less bloody than its predecessors, Lady Vengeance wraps up with a killer (literally) finale that calls into question the killer instinct. It's one of the reasons Park's brutal films are so emotionally rewarding.
  9. 63
    If you've seen either of the first two flicks in this outrageous series - "Oldboy" and "Sympathy for Mister Vengeance" - you know what's coming. Novices should prepare for mind-bending bloodshed and violence.
  10. Lady Vengeance is not for everyone. The violence, while less over-the-top and orgiastic than Park's two previous installments, is still hard and crackling. The sex is grim and graphic. And deadpan nihilism permeates the air.
  11. 83
    Park is a visual virtuoso, with imaginative transitions and clever use of special effects wrapped around a sly, effective performance from Lee at the center of it all.
  12. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    Those last thirty minutes are worth the price of admission.
  13. 75
    Lady Vengeance contains violence (some extreme), but it is not an action film. It is deliberately paced, allowing the audience to have time to reflect upon what's happening. And the comedy is of the gallows variety.
  14. 80
    Dense with pathos, poetry and humor, this is Park's finest work to date. His stomach-churning climax -- which depicts gruesome bloodshed without directly showing it -- simultaneously gratifies and indicts our most primitive instincts.
  15. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    Unlike the previous two installments, Lady Vengeance generates on odd feeling: hope.
  16. 75
    It takes patience and industry to make sense of the first half, intestinal fortitude to deal with the second, and a little flexibility to make the transition from one to the other. But the whole process adds up to a fairly impressive two-stage thrill ride, like rafting through choppy waters, then plummeting over a waterfall into a dark and deadly pit.
  17. Lady Vengeance is more than half over before we discover the object of Geum-Ja's hatred: a kindergarten teacher named Mr. Baek. He's played by Choi Min-sik, the prisoner in "Old Boy," and here he's as tepid as he was heated in that film.
  18. Mixes comedy and melodrama to a typically baroque degree. Like his "Oldboy" and "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," the film displays an audacious visual and narrative style, often sacrificing credibility and coherence along the way. But there is no denying its originality.
  19. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    A convoluted hodge-podge of time frames, subplots and bit player back stories.
  20. 100
    It concludes Park's trilogy on a dual note of circular tragedy and fragile hope, while working equally well as an introduction to his universe of retribution and repentance or as a stand-alone thriller with a darkly feminist twist.
  21. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    A wildly inventive, highly cinematic director's showcase that looks likely, at least in the West, to enthuse fans of Asian -- especially Korean -- genre movies more than general auds.
  22. As much as Lady Vengeance spins around its implacable protagonist like a rabid dog on a rope, the film becomes in its last, galling act an unlikely but stunning ensemble piece.
  23. What you get for your entertainment dollar in Lady Vengeance is Korean director Chan-wook Park's brilliantly orchestrated story of how Lee Geum-ja (Lee Young-ae ) got her groove back.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. ChrisJ.
    Oct 11, 2006
    An extremely confusing and disjointed film. Twenty minutes into it I was looking at the time. Park should have steered clear of doing a An extremely confusing and disjointed film. Twenty minutes into it I was looking at the time. Park should have steered clear of doing a flashback style movie. He flounders. Full Review »
  2. AaronM.
    Aug 16, 2006
    Incredibly powerful and intensley emotional storytelling. Pefect in a very dark, disturbing way that all drama should strive to be.
  3. Jul 13, 2013
    "Lady Vengeance" is an unsettling mix of stylish visuals, surreal fantasy, and shocking violence. Chan-wook Park's "Lady Vengeance" is the"Lady Vengeance" is an unsettling mix of stylish visuals, surreal fantasy, and shocking violence. Chan-wook Park's "Lady Vengeance" is the third and final installment of his "Vengeance Trilogy," which are linked by theme only--not literal sequels. Park positively revels in the artistic possibilities of good old-fashioned badness. Beyond the unsettling storyline, violence, and bloodshed-- there lies a splendor of exceptional film making by Park, and a marvelous performance by Yeong-ae Lee to appreciate. Anyone who has enjoyed the filmmaker's previous works will appreciate what this film has to offer.

    After thirteen and half years in prison for kidnapping and murdering a young boy, Geum-ja Lee (Lee) is released from prison and tries to fix her life. She finds a job in a bakery; orders the manufacturing of a special weapon; reunites with her daughter, who was adopted by an Australian family; and plots her revenge against the real killer of the young boy, a English teacher named Mr. Baek (Choi Min-sik.) Geum-ja Lee enlists the aid of her prior inmates and friends, who had come to recognize her for her kindness and caring while incarcerated, and are all too willing to assist in her revenge. Geum-ja is after gruesome justice of a distinctly personal nature. It's her overwhelming grief and anger, and her unwavering conviction in an act she knows will taint her beyond redemption, which in turn gives her obsessive odyssey its intensity.

    Reflecting on the "Vengeance trilogy," it becomes apparent that each film focuses on a different aspect of revenge. In "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," (2002) Park highlights the irony of vengeance, and how the violent and impulsive acts of the main characters all stem from love. "Oldboy" (2003) focuses on the madness inherent in the quest for vengeance. Finally, "Lady Vengeance" is about salvation and the morality behind the need for vengeance. As the final film of the theme based trilogy--"Lady Vengeance" comes across as a combination of its predecessors, with slick cinematography, gorgeous production design, and a wonderful musical score.

    The self-imposed sentence served is utterly brutal and gruesome, and yet unconventionally satisfying. Revenge is a dish best served cold, but only enjoyed when shared by a group of like-minded diners, accompanied by a classical Vivaldi score for a final banquet of closure.
    Full Review »