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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
"Boksuneun naui geot" (original title)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  29 March 2002 (South Korea)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 42,689 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 126 user | 134 critic | 21 from

A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant.


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Credited cast:
Ji-Eun Lim ...
Ryu's Sister
Bo-bae Han ...
Se-dong Kim ...
Chief of Staff
Dae-yeon Lee ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ju-bong Gi
Gyu-su Jeong
Husband of Dong-jin's ex-wife's
Kan-hie Lee ...
Dong-jin Park's ex-wife
Kwang-rok Oh ...
Jae-woong Park
Seung-wan Ryoo ...
Delivery Boy


In Seoul, Ryu, a deaf worker has a sister who needs a kidney transplant. He tries to donate his own kidney to his sister, but his blood type is not compatible with hers. When Ryu is fired from Ilshin Electronics, he meets illegal dealers of organs, and the criminals propose that he give them his kidney plus ten millions Won to obtain a kidney suitable for his sister. Ryu accepts the trade, but he does not have money to pay for the surgery. His anarchist revolutionary girlfriend Cha Young-mi convinces him to kidnap Yossun, the daughter of his former employer Park, who owns Ilshin Electronics. However, a tragedy happens, generating revenge and a series of acts of violence. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Revenge Was Never This Sweet


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong gruesome violence, strong sexuality, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

29 March 2002 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,827 (USA) (19 August 2005)


$45,243 (USA) (10 February 2006)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Bo-bae Han (Yu-Sun, the kidnapped girl) couldn't relax while acting for the scene where she sits in front of the TV watching cartoons with Ryu. Director Chan-Wook Park gave her food to chew on to calm her down - The second half of the scene is then mostly improvised by her and Ha-kyun Shin. See more »


When Ryu rides the elevator with the police with Cha Yeong-mi's dead body, the sheet used to cover the body gets "pulled" down instead of coming down on it's own. See more »


Park Dong-jin: I know you're a good guy... but you know why I have to kill you...
See more »


Referenced in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Revenge is a dish best served by Chan-wook Park
9 May 2005 | by (Oriental State of Mind) – See all my reviews

What an erratic and interesting ride it has been for violence infested movies throughout the long decades of cinematic experiments so far. Whether it was combinations of drama, horror, even comedy or the fusion of all three simultaneously, their results rarely attained much impact aside from delivering pure shock value and strong cult followings. Nevertheless, such unfortunate stereotypes didn't prevent me from seeking out films that most people proclaimed to be "hard to stomach". Better luck next time; Funny Games, Fingered and countless cannibal themed films from Italy, respectively of course.

I often come upon films that try very hard to make me look away from the screen and try even harder to make me empathize with the characters who are delivering and or receiving the poorly climaxed torment. Such cinematic pretentiousness finds no place in my mind and gets discarded as soon as processed.

And then came Mr. Vengeance. Possibly to aid the ever growing genre of dramatically pragmatic films, bravely dealing with real life stories in a bold and sometimes unseen fashion.

What made Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance all that much visceral was the fact that there was no pleasant music to tranquilize the painful story and beautify the scenery, nor was there any stylish before-and-after fight facial expressions and catchy lines to make the whole experience seem out of this world and cool. Not that there is anything wrong with using those elements in film. And it needs to be noted how interesting Kang-ho Song is always to watch, whether he's playing an aspiring wrestler, a small town inspector or a father on an avenging rampage. Credible acting is essential in films that have to deal with heavy biases for being mentally hard to digest and visually difficult to appreciate, gladly SFMV had those holes covered with an ease.

The entire flow of the story seemed very effortless and drag free. Both the action and reaction of each character seemed to be traveling at such fast speed that rarely gave you time to over-analyze their motives and directions, which ultimately helped the story to signify the depth and restlessness of each person on a mission to get their revenge.

Audiences are always mercilessly expressing their distraught over revenge flicks for one reason or another, so if you still have any room and temptation left to see a serious and sophisticated side of revenge then I can't recommend a better film, by a better director, to take you on the hybrid journey of pain, retribution and more pain.

55 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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