Jon Mears’s review published on Letterboxd:
"He can't become a monster to fight the monster."
I've seen enough Korean films to know that I adore Korean cinema.
It's very hard to balance violence, gore, humour, thrills and dramatic cinematography in a well balanced film but the Korean greats (Certainly include Chan-wook Park and Joon-ho Bong) seem to be able to do it with ease.
Unlike the western blockbuster equivalent, which seem much simpler, they twist and turn and constantly keep you on your toes with a punch to the face.
Take The Host (Joon-ho Bong) for example. The second highest grossing film in South Korea of all time, until it was surpassed this year It was in the No. 1 spot. This film is far better than anything in the Top 10 uk top sellers from last year..... the UK's top box office hits off all include 7 sequels and Mamma Mia..... 16 of the top twenty are sequels and reboots.....
But, thats just ticket sales. None of them won any oscars and are considered "Classics" so what is my point?
I don't know.
But what I do know is that I Saw The Devil is excellent, its another tale of vengeance (a familiar Korean theme) that delivers several punches to the face and seat of the pants excitement and still manages to get some laughs in. This balance I've no doubt will make some viewers uneasy, but It ticks all my boxes.
One question I'm left with is why we've ended up with Snowpiercer, Stoker and The Last Stand? None of these are the directors best work, in fact they're all poor showings versus their Korean made films. I like Snowpiercer and Stoker, but both are toned down, they don't have that Korean mix that starts with humour and ends with horror or violence or thrills or ideally a mix of all of them.
They also don't have Min-sik Choi, who is just an unbelievable actor.