Park Chan-wook’s brilliant trio of revenge-themed films consists of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The latter two were snapped up for US remakes quite some time ago but thankfully have been stuck in varying degrees of pre-production hell. Both of them are stylish, intricate, and accessible tales of revenge, and while I’m glad neither remake has come to fruition yet I can easily see the attraction for an American filmmaker.
But Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a completely different beast.
It’s a grim, unrelenting, depressing, and bleak tale about a misguided young deaf man with a critically ill sister. She needs an organ transplant so he decides to kidnap the young daughter of an executive for ransom in order to pay for the operation. It should come as no surprise that his plan goes horribly awry, and he soon finds himself targeted for revenge by a grieving father. That’s only part of his troubles as he also has some angry organ harvesters on his case as well. There are no truly sympathetic protagonists as every character is a dark shade of grey at best, there are no stylish fight scenes or camerawork, there’s no crazily detailed plan for vengeance… it’s just sad people doing bad things before they die.
And per Variety, Warner Bros. has just acquired the US remake rights for the movie. No director is attached yet, but they have tasked Brian Tucker with script-writing duties. Tucker currently has one script to his name (Broken City) which he sold to Mandate Pictures last year. This remake is a lost cause right out of the gate, but to make matters even worse WB has attached Lorenzo di Bonaventura as producer. His last four movies? GI Joe, Transformers 2, Imagine That, and Stardust. Ugh.
On a side note, Variety’s report on the news includes the following synopsis of the movie: “the women two different men love most are murdered, and the men set out on violent quests to punish those responsible. Trouble is, they themselves are the ones responsible and only one of them will have vengeance.” At least they’re not afraid to admit they’ve never seen the movie…
What do you think of a Mr Vengeance remake? Any more appealing than an Oldboy one?