Starring: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Gook-hwan Jeon
Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi) is a dangerous psychopath who gets his kicks raping, murdering and beheading women. But when he murders Joo-yeon, daughter of a retired police officer, it seems he might have bitten off more than he can chew. Her fiancee, see, is like a Korean version of James Bond. Secret agent Soo-hyun (Byung-hun Lee) dedicates himself to hunting down Kyung-chul and repeatedly torturing the bastard wherever he may be. You'd almost feel sorry for the downcast, battered serial killer - but, well, he is a serial killer.
I Saw The Devil is a fantastic serial killer movie. Oldboy's Min-sik Choi is mesmerising in the role of the killer, ably supported by Byung-hun Lee (from GI Joe fame, but don't hold that against him). There's bone-crunching, squeam-inducing violence and tremendously well coordinated fight scenes. The pace and subject matter puts me in mind of The Chaser, but with everything taken up a notch. Where The Chaser was a redemptive tale of Pimp vs Serial Killer, I Saw The Devil is a classic revenge story with plenty of heart and a revolting villain you'll enjoy watching being kicked about repeatedly.
And if this film's anything to go by, South Korea is full of serial killers. At one point, Soo-hyun is fighting three at once. He becomes like a vigilante who only fights multiple murderers, the Batman to Kyung-chul's Joker. There's an exciting fight scene every twenty minutes, followed by torture and kill scenes at regular intervals inbetween. Some of it is cathartic, most of it terribly yucky. Even I looked away at one point, and I have a very strong constitution.
I Saw The Devil is a great movie with super action, a clever story and a fantastic set of performances from its leading men. I saw I Saw The Devil and loved it.