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

Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 41
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 41
  3. Negative: 3 out of 41

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  1. 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 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.
  2. Jun 19, 2013
    The film is very interesting especially in the way that it handles the flashback sequences. The major problem with this film is the fact that the ending doesn't really seem to fit with the rest of the film. Also the ending makes it seem like less of a revenge film and makes all the prison flashbacks seemingly less important.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.