Korea knows how to do revenge movies right, but before being edited to death, I Saw the Devil was banned from public theaters in Korea for scenes that “severely damage the dignity of human values.” Yeah whatever Korea. This is America and my red-blooded values weren’t severely damaged by this epic revenge thriller from Korean cult director Jee-woon Kim. Jee-woon has already proven himself to be a master craftsman with his previous films A Bittersweet Life, A Tale of Two Sisters and The Good, The Bad, The Weird (the latter two currently available on Netflix Watch Instantly, btw) and with I Saw the Devil he cements his greatness even further – alongside a bit of the old ultraviolence.
Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) plays Kyung-chul, a serial killer who is the most terrifying evil force since Anton in No Country. The film opens with him abducting a woman stranded while she waits for a tow truck. He beats her with a tire iron, throws her in his mini-school bus (even killers need a day job), and brings her back to his hovel where he rapes and dismembers her. Unbeknownst to Choi, the woman was the fiancé of government special agent Kim Soo-hyeon (Lee Byung-hyun from The Good, The Bad, The Weird) and the daughter of Seoul’s chief of police. After some light mourning, Kim leaves his government job to hunt down his girl’s killer inflict “10,0000″ times more pain on him than she experienced.