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I SAW THE DEVIL
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: Jee-woon Kim

Starring:
Byung-hun Lee
Min-sik Choi
Gook-hwan Jeon

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
When his pregnant fiancee is viciously murdered by a psychotic serial killer, a special agent goes all rogue to seek out the killer. Upon finding the sick bastard, the line between justice and revenge becomes severely blurred.

Is it good movie?
Well, get ready to see OLD BOY star, Min-sik Choi, in a whole new light. If you thought his character was dark then, wait till you witness what he brings to the blood-stained table in I SAW THE DEVIL. Right from the start, this movie is a swift kick to the nuts and basically doesn't relent until the credits roll. Asia truly knows its shit when it comes to dark, crime-laced drama.

Even though some bits of DEVIL are very tough to watch, I was unable to look away form the screen, captivated by the operatic verses of violence and stark imagery being thrown at me. Director, Jee-woon Kim's use of colors and long, steady-cam shots were just breathtaking. I was particularly stimulated by a tight set of action that occurred inside a moving taxi. I won't give anything away, but the acting, coupled with the practical effects and unflinching camerawork is something to behold.

What also astounds is the interesting new twist on the grindhouse-esque revenge thriller that DEVIL exudes. I honestly had no idea where one scene would lead to the next, but was quite satisfied each time. There was one scene early on that could totally have been the finale of any other regular revenge thriller. Yet, here we are, getting it at the most unexpected of spots in the flick.Even though the entire plot didn't seem to connect 100% in terms of people ending up at certain locations, it didn't hurt things too much. And the fact that the story pulls absolutely no punches in terms of all-out brutality and realism only adds to the awesomeness.

And speaking of awesome, that would have to be the only way to describe the performances by the two leads, Byung-hun Lee and Min-sik Choi. These guys become mesmerizingly lost in their roles and play off each other with a sick charm that's hard to look away from. It is frightening how well Choi pulls off a deranged predator. He rocked in OLD BOY and he rocks even harder here so damn believable! The same goes for Lee who balances a tight line between hero and villain as the grieving special agent. His solemn facial expressions that then contrastingly clash with his dynamic feats of action work together beautifully. He easily holds his own up against the more seasoned Choi. Without their ridiculous chemistry, there's no way a flick as wild as this could work.

Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 1.66:1

Audio Korean dolby digital with English and Spanish subtitles.

The Extras
A few Deleted Scenes that would have been too much for the already large 142-minute running time.

A nicely interesting Behind the Scenes featurette.

Last Call
If you actually read my entire review, you may have noticed that I mentioned more than once that it was tough to look away from I SAW THE DEVIL. Considering the amount of harshly violent imagery that the flick depicts, clearly it was very well done to keep me from looking away. Add to that the slam bang performances by the two leads and you've got one hell of a revenge thriller that boasts a brand new twist that is not to be missed!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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