By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“The Vengeance Trilogy Boxed Set” — Revenge movies are a long-established staple of Asian cinema, but South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook has taken the genre to a whole new level. His “Vengeance Trilogy” is a masterpiece of psychological drama, pathos and ultra-violence that will have you riveted to your chair, sweating bullets.
The first film, 2002’s “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” tells the story of a deaf mute who turns to the black market in order to sell his organs so he can raise money to get his dying sister proper medical care. He is brutally attacked and robbed by the mobsters, so he devises a scheme to kidnap the daughter of the wealthy industrialist whose company laid him off. A series of mishaps turns the kidnapping into a tragic event, and the industrialist then seeks revenge on the mute.
“Old Boy” (2004) is the best of the three and has become a major cult classic because of its iconic “hammer battle” — a four-minute-long tracking shot that mimics a retro side-scrolling video game — wherein the hero of the story vanquishes several dozen attackers by using a small sledge hammer. The story concerns a fellow who is kidnapped and held in a concrete room for 15 years. One day he is released, given a cell phone and has five days to discover the identity of his captor. Little does he know that his release is merely another torture being inflicted upon him.
The final film, “Lady Vengeance” (2005), is the most disturbing — and artistic — of the three films. It is artistic in the sense that the film begins in color (vibrant primary colors) and then is one long fade to black and white, each scene being drained of just a little more color. The plot centers around a woman who is wrongfully imprisoned for 13 years for killing a little boy. Throughout her imprisonment, she has devised a plan to exact revenge on the guilty party. However, what she doesn’t realize is that her target holds a deadly and dark secret.
“Hogan’s Heroes: The Komplete Series, Kommandant’s Kollection” — The entire series: 28 discs, a plethora of special features and enough laughs to send you to chortling to The Cooler with Sgt. Schultz.
“The Golden Age of Television (The Criterion Collection)” — This is an awesome collection of early TV’s best dramas: “Marty,” “Patterns,” “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “Bang the Drum Slowly,” “Days of Wine and Roses” and more, and features the talents of Rod Serling, John Frankeheimer, Piper Laurie, Rod Steiger, Mickey Rooney and Paul Newman, to name a few.
“Life on Mars” Series 2 (UK)
“Superman: The Complete Animated Series”
“The Jerry Lewis Show Collection”
“Alfred Hitchcock Presents” Season Four
“Beverly Hills 90210” Season Eight
“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” Season Four
“Melrose Place” Season Five, Vol. 2
“Daniel Boone: Fess’ Favorites”
© 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.