Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Hanja 는 나의 것
Revised Romanization Boksuneun Naui Geot
McCune–Reischauer Poksunŭn Naŭi Kŏt
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Produced by Lee Jae-sun
Lim Jin-gyu
Written by Park Chan-wook
Lee Jae-sun
Lee Mu-yeong
Lee Yong-jong
Starring Song Kang-ho
Shin Ha-kyun
Bae Doona
Studio Studio Box
Distributed by CJ Entertainment
Tartan Films
Release dates
  • March 29, 2002 (2002-03-29)
Running time 129 minutes
Language Korean
Box office $1,954,937 (world)[1]

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Korean:복수는 나의 것) is a 2002 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook which follows the character Ryu trying to earn enough money for his sister's kidney transplant and the path of vengeance that follows. It is the first part of The Vengeance Trilogy and is followed by Oldboy (2003) and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). The original Korean title means "Vengeance Is Mine" or "Revenge Is Mine".


Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun), is a deaf-mute man working in a factory to support his ailing sister (Lim Ji-eun), who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. As Ryu is not a match, and he is laid off from his job, Ryu contacts a black market organ dealer, and agrees to exchange his savings and one of his own kidneys in exchange for a matching one. The dealers perform the operation, but disappear after taking Ryu's kidney and money. Three weeks later, Ryu learns from his doctor that a donor has been found, but Ryu is unable to afford the operation now.

In need of money for the operation, Yeong-mi (Bae Doona), Ryu's radical communist girlfriend, suggests Ryu kidnap the daughter of an executive that fired him: they then kidnap Yu-sun (Bo-bae Han), the daughter of executive Dong-jin (Song Kang-ho). The girl stays with Ryu's sister, who believes Ryu is merely babysitting her, and Ryu and Yeong-mi concurrently collect the ransom from Dong-jin. After collecting the money, Ryu finds his sister discovered his plan, and that she committed suicide. Finding her suicide note, Ryu learns she felt she was the cause of the kidnapping, and killed herself as she didn't want to be a burden or involved any further. Ryu takes Yu-sun and his sister's body to a suburban riverbed they used to frequent as children, and begins to bury her. Distracted by the burial and unable to hear, Ryu is unaware when Yu-sun slips into the river, and only finds her when she has drowned.

As Dong-jin mourns his daughter, he hires an investigator to help find Yu-sun's kidnappers, and realizes those he laid off may seek revenge. Meanwhile, Ryu locates, ambushes, and murders the organ dealers. Dong-jin, receiving help from several sources, finds Yeong-mi and interrogates her by electric shock. Yeong-mi apologizes for Yu-sun's death, but warns of a terrorist group she frequents that will find and kill Dong-jin if he doesn't spare her; unfazed by Yeong-mi's threats, he then electrocutes her. Ryu returns to Yeong-mi's apartment building and discovers the police removing her corpse. Dong-jin's investigator is informed that Yeong-mi's "terrorist group" consisted solely of her.

Ryu and Dong-jin wait at each other's residence in an attempt to kill the other. Ryu, being the first to return home, is knocked unconscious by an electric booby trap on his doorknob set up by Dong-jin. He binds Ryu and returns to the riverbed and brings Ryu chest-high into the water. Dong-jin, upset due to his actions, acknowledges that although Ryu is a good man, he has no choice but to kill him, and slashes Ryu's Achilles tendons before weighing him down until he drowns.

Dong-jin drags Ryu back to shore, dismembers his corpse, and begins to dig a hole, but a group of men arrives. Surrounding and stabbing Dong-jin repeatedly, the group fatally wounds Dong-jin by pinning a note to his chest with a blade. The note revealing them to be Yeong-mi's terrorist group, the group then leaves Dong-jin dying beside his car with the bloody tools and bags containing Ryu's body.


  • Song Kang-ho as Park Dong-jin, one of Ryu's employers and the father of Yu-sun.
  • Shin Ha-kyun as Ryu, a deaf-mute factory worker trying to pay his sister's hospital bills.
  • Bae Doona as Cha Yeong-mi, Ryu's girlfriend of several years, and a member of an underground anarchist organization.
  • Han Bo-bae as Yu-sun, Dong-jin's young daughter who is kidnapped.
  • Im Ji-eun as Ryu's sister, who is in need of a kidney transplant, but afraid of becoming a burden.


Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance opened in South Korea on March 29, 2002 and had a worldwide box office gross of $1,954,937.[2] Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance received a low-profile North American theatrical release from Tartan Films beginning August 19, 2005, over three years after it debuted in South Korea. In its opening weekend, it collected $9,827 ($3,276 per screen) from three New York city theaters. It played on six screens at its most widespread, and its total North American box office take was $45,243.[2]

The film was named the best movie of 2002 by Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News, who praised the acting and the story.[3] Bobo Deng from compliments the director on his visuals and the gruesome effects. The reviewer states that although the film has extreme violence, it is used to help develop the story.[4] Elaine Perrone from commented on the cinematography of Kim Byung-il, saying that the film is "far more visually striking" than its successor Oldboy.[5]


2002 Korean Film Awards[6]

  • Best Editing
  • Best Cinematography

2002 Pusan Film Critics Awards


In January 2010, Warner Bros. acquired the right for a US remake of the film.[7][8] Brian Tucker is to write the screenplay.[9] Lorenzo di Bonaventura will be teaming with Cj Entertainment to produce an American English version of the film.[10]


  1. ^ "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2005)". Box Office Mojo. 2006-02-16. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  2. ^ a b "SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  3. ^ Knowles, Harry. "Harry's Top Ten Films Of 2002". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  4. ^ Deng, Bobo. "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance – Park Chan-Wook". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  5. ^ Perrone, Elaine. "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Sympathy for Mr Vengeance". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  7. ^ "Warner Has Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance". DreadCentral. January 7, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Warner Bros. to Remake the Incredible 'Sympathy For Mr Vengeance'". BloodyDisgusting. January 6, 2010. 
  9. ^ Fleming, Michael (Jan 6, 2010). "WB wants 'Vengeance'". Variety. 
  10. ^ Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance Is Also Getting An Unnecessary Remake

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