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When his pregnant fiancee becomes the latest victim of a serial killer, a secret agent blurs the line between good and evil in his mission of revenge. Given the simple synopsis, it doesn't sound much different than most revenge films made in America. There are definitely some twists put onto the concepts. The goal of the lead character isn't to just kill the antagonist, but to make him suffer through the same pain his fiancee was placed in. This leads to a constant cat and mouse game. I Saw the Devil isn't afraid to be raw and brutal. Nothing is watered down here. Some viewers may be turned off by that, but those who can handle the violence will be glad they gave it the chance.
Given that I Saw the Devil is a film from South Korea, I'm not familiar with the actors. However, the performances all around are fine. Byung-hun Lee and Min-sik Choi perform as the protagonist and antagonist respectively. I viewed the film with English subtitles and don't understand the language, so I can't comment on the delivery of the dialogue. However, both actors are believable in their roles. Byung-hun Lee handles his emotional scenes without going over the top. The acting here isn't groundbreaking, but it's decent.
As mentioned before, I Saw the Devil is brutal. This is expressed everywhere from fighting to torture to dismemberment. The fighting scenes are filmed well with plenty of cool stunts to keep action fans happy. The torture upon other characters is minimal, but it's worth mentioning. The dismemberment isn't shown in all of its gory details, but the aftermath is expressed artistically. The cinematography here is well done. Jee-woon Kim isn't new to story telling with being behind the camera. He once again succeeds in proving his abilities.
There are quite a few American audiences who refuse to watch foreign movies due to the subtitles. These viewers are missing out on some good cinema. If subtitles happen to irritate you, then watch the dubbed version. This is definitely aimed towards a certain audience. Not all viewers will be able to manage the brutality expressed here. I Saw the Devil is a very good revenge film that remains entertaining from start to finish. Those who enjoy brutal revenge films or are Jee-woon Kim fans are sure to be jumping for joy.