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Posts Tagged ‘Revenge’

Gemini (1999)

Gemini DVD

Yukio Daitokuji is a doctor who has taken over his father’s practice and on the surface leads an enviable life but things are a little bit strained between himself and his parents due to Yukio’s new wife Rin. They disapprove of her. Yukio found his wife on the banks of a river suffering from amnesia and with no idea where she came from. He also faces anger from the poor people living in a nearby slum who are suffering from the plague. Yukio chooses to ignore treating them in order to concentrate on his wealthy patients. Soon after an odd smell begins to emanate inside his house with a dark figure spotted sneaking around at night. Yukio’s world is turned upside down when his father is found dead with a piece of earth stuck inside his mouth followed soon after by his mother. Finally Yukio is confronted by somebody who looks like him. In a struggle between the two, he is thrown down a dried up well where the doppelganger tells him he is going to take over his life. So who is this individual? It’s none other than his twin brother who has come back to claim what is rightfully his. Will Yukio manage to escape from the well as his family’s dark secret is revealed?

Shinya Tsukamoto’s creative take on the ‘evil twin’ genre based on a novel by Edogawa Rampo is fantastic. He certainly knows how to grab your attention instantly with the opening shot of the movie featuring rats and maggots crawling on a rotting animal carcass! Don’t expect any of the hyperkinetic style that was associated with the Tetsuo movies, you might say Tsukamoto is more restrained in his approach here. The story is intriguing, unnerving and well told. It is chilling, creepy and the first third of the movie is so atmospheric. There’s a feeling of dread in the air and Tsukamoto’s use of sound to highlight that something is amiss is beautifully done. The cinematography with the use of colours employed by him to contrast between the rich world of Yukio and the slums of Sutekichi shows the viewer a director on top of his game. I loved how the story unfolded and through the use of flashbacks shows us how Yukio’s parents abandoned his twin because he had a snake-like deformity on his leg. They created the monster that eventually kills them. Sutekichi was dumped outside of the slums near a river. Growing up, the only way he could survive was to become a thief and this is how he meets Rin. Together they made a formidable thieving duo. Sutekichi looks terrifying in his clothes, much like a wild animal and covered in filth. You can well understand how Sutekichi would feel to see his family carrying on with their lives without a second thought for the son they threw out and seeing his lover Rin shack up with his brother. He has studied Yukio so meticulously that he is able to slide into his life effortlessly when he strikes without anybody thinking that anything is wrong. It is only Rin that begins to question whether Sutekichi is back due to the sexual attention that he is giving her – something that Yukio never did.

Gemini Screenshot

The story also shows the viewer the circumstances of how Rin managed to become Yukio’s wife and that her amnesia is all a lie. Yukio in return is made to understand what his brother has gone through when he thrown down the dry well. He begins to turn like his evil brother in appearance and is made to contemplate the wrong choices he has made in his life. During a violent storm a plague ridden woman and her baby came to his house begging for help but also at the same time the town mayor who was drunk and who had stumbled onto a spike also came for treatment. Instead of helping both people out he decides to only help the mayor showing his contempt for the lower classes. Now with the tables turned and his creature comforts taken away from him as he’s lying at the bottom of the well, he is given a taste of what it is like to be hungry and become like an animal whilst Sutekichi is teasing him from above about how he is going to ruin his doctor’s practice and have sex with his wife. The story comes full circle as both brothers gets to know what life is like in each other’s shoes. Eventually of course thanks to a mistake by Sutekichi, Yukio does escape from the well giving us a showdown between the two brothers. Without spoiling the ending of which brother emerges victorious, a change takes place in the surviving brother as he has taken on board the characteristics of the other much like a joining of souls. As for the acting in this movie, Masahiro Motoki who plays a complex dual role as Yukio and his evil twin Sutekichi is magnificent and so is Ryo as the mysterious and beautiful Rin with her fascinating large plate-like hairstyle who knows more than what she is cottoning on to Yukio and his wary parents.

I really liked this psychological tale by Tsukamoto. It’s an unsettling and refreshing alternative to the tired and cliched Japanese horror genre. Well worth checking out, more so if you like the director’s other works.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Tough no nonsense girl Kitty is on the police wanted list in HK after avenging the murderers of her father. Traumatised cop Tinam who has a problem with handling a gun (he spews his guts out every time) due to accidentally killing his brother is charged with his partner of trying to track Kitty down. Before she can get arrested by the cops, Kitty is recruited by mysterious assassin Sister Cindy who trains her up to becoming a professional killer and gives her a new identity.  They become a formidable duo in offing the bad guys. When Tinam’s investigation leads him into Sister Cindy’s house and he sees Kitty, they begin a relationship although Sister Cindy warns Kitty that falling in love with affect her as an assassin. Danger lurks though when Sister Cindy’s former student – the psychotic Princess sets her sights on taking Kitty as her lesbian lover. Princess has been leaving a trail of blood soaked male corpses in the city by mutilating their private parts. Sister Cindy is fatally poisoned by Princess and it’s up to Kitty and Tinam to settle the score with her in an explosive finale.

This is one of the most famous and notorious Cat III productions to come out of HK and is a huge cult favourite in the West. It’s not hard when you watch it to understand why it’s such a memorable and special movie in the eyes of many HK movie fans. It’s an erotic action packed movie with plenty of OTT violence, stunning and deadly femme fatales, girl-on-girl sex scenes and some sick humour as well. Some have said this is like La Femme Nikita mixed with Basic Instinct. It rifles along at a fast pace leaving you breathless by the time the end credits show up on the screen although I did find the movie ends rather abruptly. It’s a very entertaining and enjoyable movie with a great plot. This was the movie that propelled actress Chingmy Yau to becoming a big star in HK and it’s probably the only movie that director Wong Jing will be remembered for which isn’t a bad thing.  Some people may be offended by what they’ll see in this movie such as Kitty’s training in the basement of Sister Cindy’s house which involves her being locked in a room with a salivating rapist and having to kill him first before he can rape her. There’s also a sick gag involving the police searching for a man’s penis in his house after Princess has killed him and hacked it off and one of the stupid detectives accidentally eating the penis thinking it’s a sausage!! You do get a little bit of gore when Princess kills a man by smashing two barbells on the side of his face resulting in blood being sprayed on the camera.  I suppose some shots of testicular stabbings will have some men wincing! No wonder this movie was cut in the UK for many years but thankfully the version I saw was uncut.

Brilliant acting from the cast with Chingmy Yau at her sexy best as Kitty with Carrie Ng so cool and vicious as her rival Princess. Even though she has a minor role I also liked Japanese actress Madoka Sugawara as Princess’ lesbian lover Baby who gets jealous when Princess turns her amorous attention on Kitty. Kelly Yao is fantastic as Kitty’s mentor Sister Cindy plus there’s the presence of the delightful Simon Yam. The four woman are drop dead gorgeous and that’s what I imagine is part of the appeal of why hot blooded men love the movie so much……..although the insane well-constructed kickass action sequences, dark comedy and hot steamy sex scenes certainly add to the charm of this movie too! It was interesting to note that Anita Mui and Michelle Yeoh turned down the part of Kitty due to the nudity.

Overall, Naked Killer is a fun filled and stylish wild action rollercoaster ride from start to finish with a bevy of beautiful strong women that light up the screen. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Music professor Park Young-Sun is driving back to Seoul from an audition with his pretty female student In-Jeong who wants to become an opera singer. Going through a red light, the car is pulled over by a traffic cop. After being served a ticket, they are allowed to carry on but the professor decides to piss off the policeman even more. During a chase the music professor decides to takes a small narrow road to evade the policeman and eventually winds up in a remote area by a river. He steps out of the car to take in the view of the scenery and then proceeds to give an impromptu music lesson to In-Jeong. It turns out Young-Sun’s music lesson is just a ruse and he quickly attempts to have sex with her. In-Jeong is able to run away into the woods. Young-Sun believes that In-Jeong has nowhere to go and will soon return to his car. Then one disturbed individual turns up armed with a bloody baseball bat and then another two arrive on motorbikes with a large sack with something moving inside. Meanwhile In-Jeong comes across a local man on a motorbike and asks if she can have a lift to the nearest bus station. He takes a detour to meet his friends who are the 3 individuals taking care of the professor and his car. Will In-Jeong manage to escape the nightmare that’s about to befall her?

This is a bleak revenge movie with it’s story about bullying and the ongoing cycle of violence that comes from it. The movie could have been just the usual standard fare of 2 city people that are captured and out of their element being tortured by 4 country hicks but the director makes this just a little bit different and far more interesting as there is no villain or hero as such. It’s true that some of the characters are more vicious than others but each one of them in this movie are victims in one way or the other. It’s like the director expects the viewer to think that this movie is going to be one thing seemingly lulling you in and then unexpectedly changing things which I thought was a rather good tactic on his behalf. He seems to be taking a swipe at the Korean military as well. This isn’t a conventional revenge movie at all even though it does feature psychotic behaviour, simmering tension and even some dark humour. Although some people might call this the Korean version of Deliverance, it’s more like the French movie Calvaire (The Ordeal) although that movie is in my opinion far more sinister than this one in it’s brutality. That’s not to say that A Bloody Aria isn’t sadistic because it does get rather nasty towards the end.

You probably expect the antagonists to fall into the normal category of screen psychos but not in this movie. The viewer get to know why they’re behaving the way they do especially the best character in the entire movie – Bong-yeon. The relationships between the characters aren’t straightforward with a series of revelations coming out about what happened to some of them in the military. What makes this movie so good is you don’t know how the characters are going to react next. It makes for gripping viewing.

Overall, a very refreshing take on 2 people stuck out in the wilds. The story is very well written with great cinematography and excellent acting by the cast. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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AV actress Rio plays Azusa, the older sister of a girl named Megumi who has committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. After some investigating, she discovers Megumi was driven to suicide by a man named Kuni and his “enboku” plan to humiliate teenage girls and drive them away from prostitution by any means necessary. She had dismissed what she had heard about Kuni as urban legend, but the horrific stories about girls being forced to don signs and be branded with phrases like “female pig” were apparently all true. In fact, Megumi’s corpse has been branded with that very phrase; she thinks Kuni is the one responsible. Azusa swears revenge, and with the help of 3 of Megumi’s fellow classmates she starts tracking him down.

This is the 3rd in the Stop The Bitch Campaign movies following the other two released in 2001 and 2005. Wasted nearly an hour and a half watching this boring movie. I expected some kind of action as our heroine Megumi and her 4 schoolgirl associates go around kicking the crap out of men who are preying on young girls for sex and branding them with a hot iron but apart from some gore near the climax it’s just plain dull. There’s not really that much else you can say about this movie except keep clear of it. Garbage.

Sadako’s Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5

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Psychopath Kyung-chul is a cold blooded murderer who has a habit of nabbing helpless young women when nobody’s around and hacking them to pieces. However, his latest score comes with a price: Having murdered the pregnant wife of hardened government agent Soo-hyun, Kyung-chul faces a vengeful fury when the bereaved man goes rogue. Soo-hyun’s decision to track down his wife’s killer is only the beginning of his twisted coping mechanism. He discovers and traps Kyung-chul, but decides to let him go—but with a tracking device. The game, and the dark psychology driving it, grows increasingly complicated as Soo-hyun begins hunting his target in an exceedingly brutal path to retribution.

Excellent revenge thriller which is disturbing and shockingly gruesome. As someone who is pretty immune to movie violence and desensitised, this made me squirm, and that’s a good thing. It means I am not completely desensitised and more importantly it means that the violence I saw is horrible. Whether it’s a serial killer doing it or a man on a seemingly righteous rampage. This movie is extremely violent and it will take you to the darkest depths of your mind. If you are faint of heart this is definitely not your type of movie. The two lead actors deliver superb performances especially Min-Sik Choi as the unhinged killer. The plot, although somewhat predictable, is nonetheless entertaining and once set in motion, incredibly gripping.

The movie is essentially driven by both lead characters trying to inflict as much pain and terror in one another as possible. Unlike most serial killer/crime thrillers, both the two characters collide (in violent, brutal fashion) with one another many, many times, leaving each other eager for the next encounter. During these scenes, the movie takes on an unexpected action tone, with plenty of engaging fights that include knives, scythes, screwdrivers and in one scene, a fire extinguisher. In between these scenes the audience is shown the full depravity of the serial killer’s psychopathic nature, who pretty much succeeds on setting the bar for on screen insanity. There’s a certain pleasure to be derived from watching the hunter become the hunted… and in such an exquisite, effective and merciless manner.

This has to be the best serial killer/revenge thriller I’ve seen in many years and comes highly recommended but steer clear if can’t handly extreme brutality.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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Oldboy (2004)

OK, I’m back with more movie updates after a gap of nearly 3 months. Sorry about that but I’ve been busy with my other site. First off with this batch of updates is this classic movie I saw way back in 2005 – Oldboy

A man is kidnapped and finds himself waking up in a small room from which there is no escape. During his several attempts on trying to get free he finds out that his wife has been killed. After 15 years being held captive, he is suddenly released by his unseen kidnapper. He plans to get his revenge on whoever did this to him.

Oldboy is one of the most intense movies you will ever see. Breathtaking, brutal and easily one of the best revenge movies ever made. The acting is amazing, especially Choi as the main character Dae-su Oh. All the actors did great but his performance was powerful and emotional. Chan-wook Park gives this movie a very unique style with his direction. The plot starts off like a fairly standard revenge drama but he slowly makes the movie darker through a series of beautifully shot flashbacks and a huge scene involving nothing but a family photo album.

If you can’t handle extremely strong violence, torture, sex and language and can’t stand subtitles it’s best you stay far away from Oldboy….if you can, though, then watch it… you’re not going to believe the octopus eating scene! It’s an incredible movie with some of the best performances, a moving score and a disturbing but unique plot with twist after twist.

Sadako’s Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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A really great revenge story as a deranged female whose 6 year old girl was killed goes on a murderous rampage against those that had some sort of link to the child. Her calling card is a sticker of a cartoon character. The police are hot on her tail….

For once you sympathise with the killer. The loss of her child has badly affected her. A nice ending in which justice is finally served. If you can stomach the horrific first murder in the department store restroom I think you’ll enjoy this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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