The best film trilogy of modern times isn’t The Lord of the Rings. It’s South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy. These three movies, while not connected by story, share a few actors and the theme of bloody, horrifying revenge. They are each their own kind of masterpiece, and, as always with foreign hits, American remakes of all of them have been in the works for a few years now. The most well-known of these remakes is the Spike Lee-directed, Josh Brolin-starring Oldboy, which recently wrapped filming. Oldboy is widely considered the best of the Trilogy, but Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, released in the US as Lady Vengeance, deserves attention. Especially since Charlize Theron is now tapped for its remake.
Lady Vengeance follows a woman who goes to prison for a crime she did not commit, and instigates an elaborate plot to kill the man who set her up after she’s released. The film is brilliantly shot, titanically acted, and has a story that takes dark, troubling turns. Can an Americanization even hope to measure up? Casting Theron is an interesting choice. Up until now, she was merely producing the film, which was stalled until Annapurna Pictures gave it the financial backing it needed. William Monahan, who won an Oscar for writing The Departed (another American remake of an Asian film), is on scripting duties. He claims that, “This will be very American and very unexpected,” whatever that means. I don’t think any of the reimaginings of the Vengeance Trilogy have a hope of touching anywhere near the greatness of the originals, but we’ll see how this plays out.