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Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray

United States
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance / Oldboy / Lady Vengeance Palisades Tartan | 2002-2005 | 3 Movies | 361 min | Rated R | Jun 15, 2010

Vengeance Trilogy (Blu-ray)

Dark humor

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: see individual releases
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Korean: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Korean: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Korean: Dolby Digital 2.0
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Note: Sympathy and Lady in Kore...


50GB Blu-ray Disc
Four-disc set (3 BDs, 1 DVD)

Slipcover in original pressing

Region A (locked)

List price: $69.98, Price history

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Blu-ray rating
Video 4.4 of 54.4
Audio 4.2 of 54.2
Extras 5.0 of 55.0
Based on 3 user reviews


Vengeance Trilogy


Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray delivers great video and solid audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

'Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance' - The sister of a simple and deaf factory worker, Ryu, falls ill and needs a kidney transplant, however he is not a match so he looks to the black market which he can’t afford. After being fired from his job, his rebel girlfriend suggests that he kidnap the child of his former boss, Park. When the girl accidentally dies, her father seeks vengeance for her death.

'Oldboy' - Park Chan-Wook’s classic genre-defining revenge tale of a man who’s wrongly been imprisoned for 15 years and is then suddenly released. Given money and a cell phone, he’s challenged to discover who incarcerated him in the first place, but he only has five days to uncover the truth. Even with a mysterious young girl to help him, his tortures have just begun. Cannes-winner championed by Tarantino, OLDBOY regularly appeared in top ten best movie polls across the country and is listed as one of the all-time best films as rated by IMDB users.

'Lady Vengeance' - After being wrongfully convicted of kidnapping and murdering a young child, a beautiful young woman (Lee Young-ae) is imprisoned for 13 years. While in prison she gains the respect and loyalty of her fellow cellmates, all the while plotting her vendetta on the man responsible (OLDBOY’s Choi Min-Sik). Upon her release she sets in motion an elaborate plan of retribution, but what she discovers is a truth so horrifying, even revenge doesn’t seem punishment enough.

For more about Vengeance Trilogy and the Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray release, see Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Director: Park Chan-wook
Writers: Park Chan-wook, Hwang Jo-yun, Lim Jun-hyeong
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Yeong-ae Lee, Shin Ha-kyun, Hye-jeong Kang, Bae Doona, Yoo Ji-tae

This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:


Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance may be the oldest of director Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy films, but its striking 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer is quite impressive. More faithful and filmic than I expected, the image boasts bold colors and natural skintones, commanding contrast, satisfying black levels, and a pleasing, unobtrusive veneer of grain. Detail is sharp and refined as well, celebrating every spatter of blood, bead of sweat, and riverbank stone that frames Park's disquieting tale of revenge. Note the clutter in Ryu and Yeong-mi's apartment, the hair that falls across Dong-jin's weary face, the bags the poor man leaves laying by the water's edge as the credits roll. Through it all, textures remain crisp and consistent, delineation is revealing, and overall clarity is exceptional, leaving little by the wayside and even less to the imagination. Depth and dimensionality are convincing as well, lending the picture a sophistication that both honors Park's intentions and delivers a stunning high definition presentation. In fact, were it not for the presence of some rather noticeable edge enhancement and a few brief bursts of source noise, this might very well be a top tier transfer. I didn't detect any artifacting, crush, aliasing, or unsightly DNR, and the image is clean and attractive throughout. Suffice to say, those who've patiently waited for Park's Vengeance Trilogy to arrive will be ecstatic to see it hit the ground running.

There will be those who write off Oldboy's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer from the outset. It's grainier, grittier, murkier, and altogether uglier than anything Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance has to offer. But it's important to separate Park's intentions from Tartan's efforts to effectively evaluate the film's high definition presentation. Simply put, Oldboy is a grainier, grittier, murkier, uglier film by design. Chung Chung-hoon's raw, visceral photography not only sets an appropriate tone, it perfectly embodies and nearly literalizes Oh Dae-su's descent into madness. To that end, Tartan's Blu-ray transfer makes several substantial strides past its DVD counterparts. Its palette is more accurate, colors are more vibrant, blacks are deeper, contrast is more dependable, and detail is far more rewarding. Unfortunately, several technical issues make Park's stomach-churning visuals even more difficult to digest. Errant artifacting occasionally swarms the proceedings (the most obvious instances occur in the scenes surrounding the 1:19:00 mark), ringing affects key shots, crush is a persistent (albeit arguably inherent) problem, and spiking source noise becomes downright unruly at times (particularly during the film's sobering third act). But while it can be difficult to discern where Park and Chung's intentions end and Tartan's flawed transfer begins, educated eyes should be able to draw a reasonable line between the two. Ultimately, such shortcomings shouldn't dissuade anyone from buying Oldboy or the Vengeance Trilogy, but they nevertheless prevent the film from leaving the same lasting mark as its predecessor.

Thankfully, both the theatrical cut and the "Fade to White" version of Lady Vengeance look fantastic. Like the Blu-ray edition of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady's separate 1080p/AVC-encoded transfers will leave Park purists grinning, even if Geum-ja's pursuit of redemption sets her on an unsettling path. First and foremost, the film's finest details are intact, granting closeups lifelike textures, backgrounds remarkable clarity, and edges razor-sharp definition. Geum-ja's soft eyes are more arresting than ever, her tender expressions are more haunting, and her every pore seems primed to endure the most ardent videophile's scrutiny. Better still, supple reds, breathtaking blues, and savory amber hues bolster Chung's snow-swept cinematography at every turn; blacks are well-resolved and shadows are nicely delineated; and the image remains bright and beautiful throughout, regardless of whether light or darkness dominates the proceedings. Yes, contrast is a tad hot and crush takes its toll here and there, but both issues trace back to Park's intentions, not Tartan's technical transfer. That's not to say everything is perfect. Edge enhancement (minor as it may be) once again rears its head, a few small swarms of artifacts appear, and some slight but unwieldy source noise makes its presence known (skip to the 42-minute mark for the most damning example). None of it spoils the presentation, mind you, but it does knock Lady Vengeance down a notch. Still, Park's Trilogy capper is, far more often than not, a marvelous one, and should please anyone who braves its waters.

Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.5 of 5

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a quieter film than many might expect -- particularly those whose familiarity with Park's work doesn't extend beyond Oldboy -- but Tartan's rousing Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track features an able-bodied mix with plenty of muscle to back up its threats. Both LFE output and rear speaker activity are artfully presented and innately resourceful, infusing each scene with a palpable, ever-mounting sense of sonic dread. Directionality is subtle yet precise, pans blow through the soundfield like a gust of wind, and dynamics, when let loose, provide unnerving access to the characters' psyches. Better still, the soundfield is believable and immersive, relying on snap-shot acoustics and world-weary ambience to draw listeners through Sympathy's dualistic doors. Granted, dialogue prioritization isn't always as neat and tidy as it should be (or rather as neat and tidy as audiophiles may wish), but the vast majority of the film's hushed utterances, casual conversations, and disheartening cries are crisp, clean, and intelligible, regardless of how tense Dong-jin and Ryu's plights become. Still, considering the film is subtitled, it's hardly an issue and shouldn't bother anyone but the most diehard members of its fold. If I have any complaint it's that the film's original sign language subtitles are burned in, meaning they sometimes tussle with the optional English subtitles on-screen. While it doesn't amount to a serious problem, it will annoy some. Even so, the first entry in Park's Vengeance Trilogy sounds great, handily outclasses its DVD counterparts, and complements Tartan's video transfer nicely.

Brace yourselves. Despite the fact that the previously released standalone version of Oldboy includes a fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, no such option appears on the newly-minted discs that come bundled in the Vengeance Trilogy box sets. Sadly, there isn't a lossless mix at all. Instead, we're privy to four fairly feeble lossy choices: a decent Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track (640kbps), a dubbed English Dolby Digital 5.1 dud, a flat Korean Dolby Digital stereo bore, and a mediocre English Dolby Digital stereo offering. And as anyone who's heard Oldboy's DTS-HD MA monster mix will tell you, that's a real shame. Dialogue is clear and serviceable, but lacks visceral presence. LFE output is heavy but cumbersome, failing to pack the rib-cracking punch of its lossless big brother. The rear speakers chime in, aggressively even at times, but fail to envelop the listener in the living, breathing psychological hellscape Park has manufactured. Oh Dae Su's lossy prison dampens any effect captured within its walls, exteriors sound positively artificial, and the meaty thumps and nauseating schunks that frequent Oldboy's more violent endeavors are pudgier and less effective. Is it a passable sonic presentation? Sure. Does it hold its own next to Tartan's original 7.1 lossless track? Not at all. Palisades Tartan representatives have confirmed that a replacement program is on its way -- explaining that the missing track is the result of a production mishap, nothing more -- but the company has yet to outline any subsequent details or time frames. Rest assured though, when a replacement program is announced, we'll upload a front-page news story and update this review accordingly.

The stirring DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track that accompanies Lady Vengeance may be front-heavy by design, but it's reminiscent of the mix featured on Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance: disciplined but proficient, involving but reserved, bold and sweeping at the same time. Composer Seung-hyun Choi's masterful score is the unequivocal high point of the presentation, reveling in his soaring strings and lofty orchestral melodies. Even when Park's protagonists grow silent, the music saturates the soundfield, wrapping viewers in the velvety warmth of his enthralling compositions. When Geum-ja provides a reenactment of her crime for the press, its intensity is nearly overwhelming; when she scales a building, it lightly dances across the speakers; when trinkets are gripped by grieving parents, it somberly waltzes in, seemingly lifting up a sweet but solemn prayer. However, Lady Vengeance is an exceedingly muted film. Its lengthy climax isn't loud or bombastic, but maddeningly modest. Its most heated encounters are beset by silence and readily subvert expectation. Thankfully, dialogue is impeccable, acoustics are authentic, ambience is fittingly meek, and LFE support emerges as the calm center of Park's haunting thematic storm. It may not grab anyone by the throat, but it impresses again and again, enhances every aspect of the film, and does it all with faithful, unwavering resolve.

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Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray, News and Updates

Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray Details Expanded (Update) - March 17, 2010

Final details have been revealed regarding Palisades Tartan's Blu-ray release of Park Chan-Wook's Vengeance Trilogy, comprised of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance, which as previously reported, released on March 16 as a Best Buy exclusive until ...

Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

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