No doubt, Park Chan-wook considers women to be the gentler sex, but all that really means is that Geum-ja dithers for a bit before taking predictable action. Alternately wonky -- a late plot twist will leave you thinking a couple of the film's reels went missing -- and offensive as only an elegant depiction of brutal violence can be, "Lady Vengeance" is meretricious nonsense. Starring Lee Yeong-ae, Choi Min-sik and Kim Si-hu. Directed by Park Chan-wook. Written by Park Chan-wook and Chung Seo-kyung. Produced by Lee Tae-hun and Cho Young-wuk. A Tartan release. Drama. Korean-language; subtitled. Rated R for strong violent content (some involving children), and some sexuality. Running time: 112 min
"Lady Vengeance" is not as gratuitously violent as "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," the first film in South Korean director Park Chan-wook's "Vengeance" trilogy ("Oldboy" is bracketed by the two movies), but it's not an improvement on its predecessor, either. This time around, a woman, Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae), is at the center of the action, contemplating revenge on Mr. Paek, the man who led her criminally astray and forced her take the rap for the murder of a kidnapped child. After a stint in prison, where she was sexually abused and beaten, Geum-ja is now free to get back at her former mentor.