The Vengeance Trilogy

The Vengeance Trilogy

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Ben Sillis

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of The Vengeance Trilogy

A broad range of decent extras accompany Park Chan-Wook’s three fantastic films.

Several commentary tracks are included on each disc. Park has some useful insights; he talks on how he decided to shoot each scene and why, though he often breaks off to talk about rather odd asides, such as an actor with “strange eyes”. But, as usual, the problem is that the commentators (cast and crew included) feel compelled to talk without much pause – and as Park is featured on eight of them they become very tired. The tracks can also be hard to follow on occasion, as the films’ audio is no longer subtitled with commentary on. The one exception is the academic track over Lady Vengeance, which makes a break from much of the “it was quite wet when we shot this outdoor scene” chatter.

Copy picture

Making Of documentaries are also included for each film, and while most offer interesting titbits, you can’t help but feel those involved are usually stating the obvious; as one production designer tells us, the room was painted red to reflect the anger of the characters in Lady Vengeance.

The Process of Mr Vengeance is hit and miss - though the stars telling you what happens to their characters is hardly illuminating when you’ve just watched the film, the special effects segments (mainly involving body parts being sliced open) are fantastic, and only make you wonder at the ingenuity and skill of make up and special effects technicians.

The Lady Vengeance behind the scenes sections are more dull, however, the basic Making Of short offers bland assertions such as: “There was lots of laughter on set” and “Park is a very precise director.” Shots of actors corpsing their lines accompany this and that’s about it. The production featurettes meanwhile offer little of interest except for the sections on CG and special effects.

The Making Of feature on the Oldboy extras disc is very different in nature. The film’s only extra feature, the Autobiography of Old Boy is a mammoth one, running at well over three hours in length. A fly-on-the-wall documentary for the most part, it charts the entire production from start to finish.

It could certainly have done with heavy editing, as there are far too many shots of cats and crew standing around or eating, yet showing the preparation for scenes in such great detail is something not often recorded in DVD extras. The preparation and shooting of the infamous octopus scene, for instance, is fascinating. Choi Min Sik (Oh Dae Su) practices by building up from a small leg to a whole live creature, and one which seems to thrash around a lot more here in the outtakes. Bizarrely, it is the crew around Choi who are throwing up rather than Oldboy himself, who finds it hilarious more than anything.

Random selections of other short extras are strewn across the discs. A short documentary on Chan-Wook presented by Jonathan Ross starts off the Sympathy For Mr Vengeance extras, and though he’s an affable guide, it’s pretty insubstantial. However, it does shed light on Park’s first film, Joint Security Area, not so readily available in the West as well as his later work, but Ross’s tour is a simple narrative and summary of each of his films otherwise, fairly pointless considering that the films are included in the box set.

On the same disc, My Boksu Story is a bizarre promo, in which the main actors take it in turns to congratulate the viewer on purchasing the DVD and promise to become better actors. Aside from the bafflement comedy value this is completely devoid of interest.

Actor and crew interviews are included for the first and third films, but other than Park’s class interpretation of Sympathy here, offer nothing you can’t see for yourself in the films. The Lady Vengeance in Venice short meanwhile features a meagre couple of shots of press conferences and canals and nothing more.

A few more miscellaneous items (alternate scenes, storyboards and pointless trailers) round off the substantial DVD package. The transfers are fine, and Dolby 2.0 and 5.1 are included. However, my Oldboy review copy I was strewn with errors and runs with extreme difficulty on PC DVD drives, making it difficult for me to comment more fully on this.

This is a solid set of extras, even though their quality does vary.

Reviewed on: 10 Dec 2006
Share this with others on...
The Vengeance Trilogy packshot
Six-disc box set celebration of Chan-Wook's trilogy of tales about love, loss and revenge.
Amazon link

Product Code: TVD3691

Region: 2

Ratio: Anamorphic 2.35:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0

Extras: Sympathy For Mr Vengeance: Jonathan Ross on Park Chan-Wook, interview with Park Chan-Wook, commentary with Park Chan-Wook and Ryoo Seung-wan, My Boksu Story, cast and crew interviews, storyboards and trailers; Old Boy: Director and cast commentary, director and cinematographer commentary, director commentary, Autobiography Of Old Boy feature; Lady Vengeance: Director introduction, director and actress commentary, making of documentary, deleted scenes, director, DoP and art director commentary, critic Richard Penna commentary, character interviews, Lady Vengeance in Venice featurette, making of, alternate scenes with commentary, The Style of Lady Vengeance, trailers and TV spots.

Search database: