12 Aug 2010 ● English ● 2 hrs 21 mins
Release Dates: 12 Aug 2010 (India), 15 Sep 2011 (Singapore), 04 Mar 2011 (United States)
Tagline: To catch a monster he must become one
Movie: I SAW THE DEVIL
I don't prefer watching foreign movies at all. By chance I got to know about I SAW THE DEVIL, a South Korean action thriller that had garnered praises all over. This made me excited to watch it, and I couldn't resist myself from watching it. I later came to know that there are two versions of this film: Korean and International. I watched both of them, but missed a few scenes of the Korean cut. Despite of this, having watched it in English (dubbed) and Korean (English Subtitled) both, I found it to be pretty interesting and gripping while also found it to be too explicit on many grounds.
I SAW THE DEVIL is a kind of revenge story that one would hardly have seen before at all. It's really very gripping from the moment it begins. But soon after the title card is revealed, you start getting the worst shocks ever. The scenes after the beginning are so explicit that it's better recommended to watch this film alone, and in case of both the versions. But what takes over these flaws is the performance by the lead actors, Byung-hun Lee and Choi Min-sik. These two men drive the story to an extreme and keep you interested all the time.
I SAW THE DEVIL is well adapted and executed by its director Kim Jee-Woon. But one can't disagree that he gone a little too over the top with several scenes of violence and unwanted vulgarity. I don't have enough problem with violence, I have been habitual of seeing such kind of violence in many action movies and being an action film lover, I couldn't resist myself from watching the fight scenes again and again. But I do have problem with excessive vulgarity, which is the most explicit in the Korean cut. The international cut is high on violence, instead. These scenes stand between I SAW THE DEVIL and a big victory.
But there are more positives to list here. The film is well shot with good production values. The film is never hindered by any songs and the BGM is terrific, especially in the action and dramatic scenes. It has brilliant action, but it also has a riveting drama. Byung-hun Lee is very handsome and a brilliant actor who fits the role. Choi Min-sik as the villain is a total firecracker. He gives a brilliant performance close to perfection. Other actors do their part well.
Overall, I SAW THE DEVIL is a good action thriller that nevertheless keep you riveted despite of an overdose of violence, vulgarity and profanity as the basic storyline is emotionally very gripping. It's recommended for those who like dark revenge based action thrillers and without minding the language barrier. I would be looking out for more South Korean action thrillers like Oldboy, A Bittersweet Life soon. And I must not forget to mention that watching I SAW THE DEVIL is like watching an uncensored censor copy of a film. Also, I didn't find it to be a pure horror film as well.