Though it’s technically been available for a few months due to an exclusivity deal with Best Buy, Park Chan-wook’s “Vengeance Trilogy” is available everywhere else starting today, so it seemed like a good time to finally take a look at this fantastic four-disc set from Palisades Tartan’s Asia Extreme division. Since I’ve already reviewed all three films in some capacity over the years, I’m not going to again, other than to say that “Oldboy” remains the highlight of the trio and “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” the most overrated. “Lady Vengeance,” on the other hand, is even better when watching the “Fade to White” version – a previously unreleased cut of the movie that is slowly drained of color until it eventually dissolves into black and white.
The “Fade to White” edition of “Lady Vengeance” is just one of many new extras that appear on the four-disc set. It’s also the only way to purchase two of the three films on Blu-ray in the U.S. (“Oldboy” has been available for a few years now), and although that may seem like a pretty voracious decision on the part of the studio, they’ve clearly done their research, because I haven’t come across too many people who want to own one of the films and not the others. With that said, Palisades Tartan has done everything in their power to make these new Ultimate Revenge Editions truly ultimate in every way. Both “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” and “Lady Vengeance” boast audio commentaries with Chan-wook and his lead actors, as well as hours of production featurettes, interviews and more. They also look and sound great thanks to brilliant 1080p video transfers that really play to the film’s strengths, and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio tracks.
Of course, I’ve saved the best for last. While “Oldboy” isn’t quite as technically impressive as the other two films – namely due to an error on the packaging that promises a DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track that doesn’t exist – the studio does make up for it with some killer extras. There are so many, in fact, that it’s a bit surprising that they didn’t decide to split up the content between two discs like they did with “Lady Vengeance.” Along with three commentary tracks – one with Chan-wook, another with him and cinematographer Chung Chung-Hoon, and the last one with the director and his cast – the Ultimate Revenge Edition also includes all the deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes documentaries, and interviews that have appeared on previous releases. The piece de resistance of the Blu-ray, however, is “The Autobiography of Oldboy,” a three-hour video diary that goes about as in-depth into the making of a film as you could possibly get.
Some studios are all too quick to splash around words like “special” and “ultimate,” but Palisades Tartan’s four-disc release of Park Chan-wook’s “Vengeance Trilogy” more than lives up to its billing thanks to an incredible collection of special features and a supplemental booklet filled with essays about each movie. Chan-wook’s ultra-violent revenge tales aren’t for everyone, but for fans of his twisted trilogy, this is quite the love letter.