Sure, we all attempt to be the best person we can be, thinking about others when we make significant decisions and trying to forgive and move on. But sometimes, doesn’t retribution simply seem a bit too delicious to resist? Luckily, movies can be the perfect outlet for such sentiments, and there are many fantastic films themed on the protagonist’s search for retribution.
Revenge as a topic in movies has been around since the birth of filmmaking, and considering how popular the subgenre still is now, I’d argue that it’s quite the timeless narrative. We all know how unjust the world can be, so sometimes individuals just need to take justice into their own hands. But just to be clear, I am not saying that anyone should do anything that the protagonists of these films do in their real lives since that would be, well, insane. Keep it in the land of make-believe, okay?
While you’d be amazed at how revenge stories spread across many genres, most movies about individuals gaining retribution get violent, and they are not for those with a weak stomach.
When hunting for the finest revenge movies ever created, I discovered a lot of blood, death, and quite a bit of Tarantino, all culminating in this list. Check the top revenge movies out there to enjoy on your next movie night.
But honestly, don’t attempt this at home.
While there are certainly other films that tell stories of vengeance, the one that first comes to mind is Taken. The plot is straightforward: after his daughter is kidnapped during a French vacation, Liam Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills, a former CIA agent, goes after the traffickers responsible.
The memorable phone conversation in which Bryan tells his kidnappers, “If you are searching for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money,” cemented Taken’s status as a cult classic. But what I do have is a unique combination of talents honed over a long professional history, qualities that make me an absolute nightmare for individuals like you.
As much as Bryan wants to discover and save his daughter, the audience of Taken wants him to find and murder the guys responsible for her abduction as much as he does. Despite the fact that there were comparable action vengeance films before (and after) 2008’s Taken, and that there will be more in the future, the movie revived the specific genre by centering on elder characters.
2. The Equalizer
The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington, was released a few years after Taken, and the movie depicts Washington’s character, Bob McCall, in a much more vigilante position as he exacts retribution on the Russian mafia for a teenage sex worker named Alina (Chlo Grace Moretz). With such a simple, direct basis, there is no need to complicate everything.
There aren’t many action movies starring people of color, and this one from 2014 is one of the few that have a protagonist of color at the center of the story. The Equalizer is a well-made action film with a stellar ensemble that includes Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo, and David Harbour, and it lives up to its name by showing Washington meting out his own kind of deadly justice.
3. John Wick
You knew the name John Wick would come up at some point in this story, right? There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a jaded Keanu Reeves dispatch his enemies with cold efficiency and flair.
For those who haven’t watched the first film, a spoiler alert: John Wick’s exceptional relatability stems from the fact that the viewer can easily see themselves in his shoes after witnessing the murder of the puppy he had with his recently deceased wife. John Wick is the first film in the Reeves action franchise to be allowed the maximum latitude of an R-rating, allowing for a level of violence and intensity not seen in any of the other films.
The John Wick franchise, which now spans three films, boasts an incredible ensemble cast, including Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, and Laurence Fishburne in a reunion from The Matrix. But no matter how many films they create, the first will always be the one that began it all, and we are glad for its existence.
4. Kill Bill
While Quentin Tarantino has created dozens of movies about retribution and murder, Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Kill Bill: Volume 2 combined remain one of his most memorable creations.
In the action martial arts film, Uma Thurman plays the Bride, whose true identity is later revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo, a woman who spends the entire film (which had to be cut in two because of the four-hour or so runtime) searching for the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad who attempted to kill her and her child. Like John Wick, the idea of Kill Bill is basic, and with revenge flicks, it’s often the simpler the better, to spend more time focused on the action.
Beatrix is looking for Bill, the team’s commander and the father of her kid (played by David Carradine), as the title suggests. Kill Bill, like all of Tarantino’s films, features a dark tone, vivid characters, and original fight scenes. Beatrix is one of the great female action characters and, with her sword and yellow clothing, she’s an iconic antihero for the ages.
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5. The Handmaiden
The Handmaiden is an LGBTQ love story with epic retribution overtones. Kim Tae-ri plays Nam Sook-hee, a young lady recruited to take care of the wealthy and gorgeous Japanese heiress Izumi Hideko (Kim Min-hee) in the 2016 South Korean film.
Her new work is part of a conspiracy to have a selfish man named Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) marry Hideko for her money and then send her off to an institution. But during their time together, Sook-hee and Hideko grow close, much to the surprise of Count Fujiwara and Hideko’s awful uncle Kouzuki (Cho Jin-Woong).
In the years leading up to the release of Burning and Parasite, two subsequent blockbuster films from South Korea, Park Chan-The work’s Handmaiden was the talk of the town, and with good reason. The film’s central romantic plot is compelling, but it’s also great because of the intricate, well-thought-out story of four people engaged in a game of constant manipulation, with Sook-hee and Hideko enacting a plot for revenge against the two men trying to control their lives without them realizing it.
6. Promising Young Woman
Carey Mulligan stars as Cassie Thomas, a medical school dropout who seeks revenge on everyone involved in the rape of her best friend Nina Fisher by Al Monroe (Chris Lowell) and the subsequent coverup, which led to Nina’s death by suicide, in Emerald Fennell’s Academy Award-winning film Promising Young Woman.
After spending her free time at first pretending to be drunk at bars so that guys will take her home and then confronting them when they try to take advantage of her, Cassie goes on a full-on revenge quest after learning that Al is getting married. Brilliant in its knowledge of rape culture and the complicity of bystanders, Promising Young Woman is thought-provoking, exhilarating, and continuously unexpected.
Fennell and the casting team spent time selecting actors who played the stereotypical “nice man” to drive home the point that sexual predators may come in any form. Promising Young Woman is one of the finest vengeance films in recent memory, and it’s easy to see why even if you just watch it for the thrills and laughs.
7. The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo, released in 2002 and based on Alexandre Dumas’s 1844 book of the same name, is the pinnacle of vengeance films. Set in 1815, Jim Caviezel plays second mate Edmond Dantès in the film. He has a wonderful friendship with Guy Pierce’s character, Fernand Mondego, and a blossoming romance with Dagmara Domiczyk’s Mercédès.
When Dantès begins to receive advancements and attention from powerful persons while Mondego and his companions are sailing on a commerce vessel, Mondego joins forces with a manipulative guy named J.F. Villefort (James Frain) to have Dantès transferred to an island jail in Château d’If. Something extra for Mondego to enjoy?
He manipulates Mercédès into believing that Dantès has been killed, making her rely on him for support. Dantès, however, is not finished, and after more than 13 years of planning, he executes the ultimate vengeance scheme, returning home as “The Count of Monte Cristo,” a lovely, wealthy, and generous man.
The Count of Monte Cristo is an old-fashioned swashbuckler film, complete with swordplay, buried riches, regional dialects and garb, pirates, and even Napoleon, in place of weapons and suits. What else could one possibly ask for?
8. Lady Snowblood
Lady Snowblood, a 1973 film adapted from the Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura manga of the same name, has been cited as an influence on Tarantino’s 1994 film Kill Bill. The Japanese film, directed by Toshiya Fojita, features Meiko Kaji as Yuki, a lady conceived for the express purpose of exacting vengeance on the three men who brutally raped her mother and murdered her husband and kid.
At the age of eighteen, Yuki embarks on her ultimate mission as an assassin, tracking down and brutally killing the individuals responsible for her mother’s downfall. Some scenes in Kill Bill are near carbon copies of those in Lady Snowblood, and there are many more clear visual and thematic parallels between the two films.
Beatrix’s encounter with Lucy Liu’s O-Ren Ishii (also known as “Snowblood”) in the snow is very similar to a similarly gory moment in that film. One of the finest elements of Lady Snowblood is how it depicts the emotional component of Yuki’s unfortunate condition, cursed from birth to live a life of torment. The movie’s retribution quest is an action-packed, stressful aspect of the plot.
Through Yuki’s tragic story, Lady Snowblood explores a number of themes, including the politics of feudal Japan and the fact that, like many women of her time (and now), Yuki is forced into a certain role from birth, leaving her feeling empty and unfulfilled. The film also has a distinct style and beauty not usually found in such a violent film.
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Oldboy, from 2003, is another great film by Park Chan-wook, and it’s a criminal thriller masterpiece. In theory, all three films in Park’s unofficial “Vengeance Trilogy” (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2005), and Lady Vengeance (2005)) should be included here, but Oldboy is easily the greatest of the group.
Choi Min-sik plays as Oh Dae-su, a man who is kidnapped and held for 15 years in a cell designed to seem like a hotel room. He has no idea who is responsible for his captivity. Dae-su is mysteriously freed just as he is preparing to flee, so he goes in search of his captor. Along the way, he meets Mi-do (Kang Hye-jung), a young lady with whom he forms an instantaneous bond.
One thing is certain: Oldboy’s revenge plot is both convoluted and disturbing on every level. While other movies with comparable plots might play up the violence and conflict for the sake of shock effect, Oldboy takes a no-holds-barred approach in order to delve deeply into the psyches of its protagonists.
The movie is remarkably close to one famous Greek tragedy, but naming it would reveal too much of the plot. Oldboy, like many of the other films on this list, is difficult to watch due to its concentration on a particularly brutal kind of retribution; yet, the picture is well worth your time if you enjoy well-crafted action sequences, complex characters, and a special brand of lunacy.
10. Mean Girls
Despite first impressions, the concept of vengeance is surprisingly common in teen films, with Mean Girls being the gold standard. The comedy picture, written and directed by Tina Fey, stars Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron, a 16-year-old girl who, after spending her childhood homeschooling and traveling, decides to try out public school.
Cady discovers a gang of attractive and cruel adolescent girls called the “Plastics,” lead by queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams). She bands up with two misfits, Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian Leigh (Daniel Franzese), to exact revenge on Regina and the Plastics.
Cady acts as a spy for her pals, Janis and Damian, by infiltrating Regina’s inner circle and then using the information she gathers there to their benefit. Unfortunately, Cady becomes enmeshed in the Plastics’ world of popularity and begins to become one of the individuals she once despised.
Fey’s unusually deep insight into the adolescent high school experience allows her to put herself in the shoes of adolescent females, demonstrating how everything feels crucial at this stage of life and how the deepest betrayals come from words rather than weapons. Both Mean Girls and Clueless contend for the title of the most influential teen film, but I would put my money on Mean Girls.
11. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sweeney Todd and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is one of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter’s numerous works, and it’s like The Count of Monte Cristo but with more murder and pie.
It may come as a surprise, but horror and musical theatre can work quite well together, as this film and other classic musicals like The Little Shop of Horrors and Rocky Horror Picture Show demonstrate. Based on Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical, Sweeney Todd sees Depp as the titular character, who has returned from exile to London’s Fleet Street in order to avenge the loss of his wife and children at the hands of Judge Turpin (the late Alan Rickman).
To everyone else in London’s misfortune, Todd embarks on a murdering rampage, picking out customers at his barbershop until he gets to Turpin and then killing him. Mrs. Lovett (Bonham Carter) aids him in his complex plan to dispose of the dead and turn them into meat pies at her shop. Sweeney Todd is a horrible plot, but the music and black comedy make it so entertaining that you don’t mind that Todd is a complete serial killer; think of him as Edward Scissorhands gone wild.
The protagonist in Revenge has one, straightforward purpose, as the name of the film suggests: to exact vengeance. This time around, though, things are a little more difficult than in the typical 1970s and later revenge flick, in which a victim of sexual assault seeks vengeance by tracking down and killing the perpetrator or perpetrators of the crime.
There are several films on this list that have the same theme or premise, but if you look closely at each one, you’ll see how it’s been twisted in order to add something new to the discussion. Moreover, this picture, like many others on the list, was directed by a woman. The 2017 French thriller, written and directed by Coralie Fargeat, centers on Matilda Lutz’s character, Jen, a young lady who travels to the desert with her married boyfriend.
Two of his cronies intervene, and one of them rapes Jen. Jen’s lover pushes her down a cliff and abandons her for dead after she refuses to be bought off. I’ll give you a hint: she’s not. The film then explodes into an astonishing, high-tension spectacle that essentially covers the masculine gaze in blood in its demolition of the old-fashioned cinematic cliche.
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13. Django Unchained
Django Unchained, 2012 revisionist Western starring Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington, is another film by Quentin Tarantino (because revenge is obviously the director’s forte) on this list. After being set free from slavery, Django must return to help free his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from a slaver named Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) (Christoph Waltz).
Django Unchained, like all of Tarantino’s other films, has a unique, colorful, and in-your-face aesthetic that takes a fresh approach to the subject of American slavery. It’s an excellent addition to Tarantino’s canon, and Foxx shines in the lead role of the angry Django, who not only rescues Broomhilda but also frees other slaves and kills quite a few slavers on his route to revenge.
Candie’s slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) is a prime example of the psychological conditioning that slaves who earn a “privileged” position near their slaver have, a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, and the film also explores the complicated relationship that Django has with other slaves after he is freed and on his journey back to Broomhilda.
14. I Saw the Devil
As in Oldboy, Choi Min-sik starred in I Saw the Devil, but this time he plays the straightforwardly nasty serial murderer Jang Kyung-chul. This is not a spoiler, but rather a crucial piece of information for understanding the opening act of the film.
Choi plays the role of Kim Soo-hyun, an agent with the National Intelligence Service (Korea’s equivalent of the CIA), who goes down a dark path for retribution following the murder of his fiancée at the hands of, you guessed it, Kyung-chul, opposite Lee Byung-hun.
Even though Soo-hyun, in his capacity as a NIS agent, is in a position to apprehend the killer, he chooses to exact revenge on Kyung-chul instead by drawing from the bottomless pit of the latter’s depravity. The two men then engage in a perverse game of cat and mouse, with Soo-hyun on the verge of becoming as wicked as the guy he is seeking revenge against.
I Saw the Devil, like the previously mentioned picture Oldboy, is an extremely dark and violent film, but it also provides an effective and visceral representation of Soo-desperate hyun’s wrath and anguish.
15. The First Wives Club
The First Wives Club is another film on the list, and it’s a comedy about three abused wives who form an alliance to get even with their abusive ex-husbands. Diane Keaton plays Annie, Goldie Hawn plays Elise, and Bette Midler plays Brenda; they are three old friends reunited by a fourth’s death.
After getting back together, the ladies realize they’re all going through a funk because of the same thing: having to cope with ex-husbands who ditched them for younger women. They decide to band together as “The First Wives Club” and exact revenge, or “justice,” on their cheating husbands.
With Keaton, Hawn, and Midler at its center, The First Wives Club is a cerebral comedy with an exceptional mix of main actresses; additional stars, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Dan Hedaya, and Maggie Smith, play supporting roles. Following its first release, The First Wives Club gained cult status and is now widely regarded as one of the finest comedies of the 1990s.
16. The Nightingale
In addition to The Babadook, Jennifer Kent also wrote and directed The Nightingale. The Nightingale follows the life of Clare Carroll (Aisling Franciosi), an Irish lady forced to work for a harsh British man called Hawkins in the territory that is now Tasmania in the year 1825. (Sam Claflin). One terrible night, Clare’s husband and newborn child are taken from her.
A word of caution: the scenario that triggers Clare’s desire for vengeance is not pleasant to witness, but you’ll recognize it when you get there. Kent portrays the terrible atrocities that British soldiers inflicted on Tasmania and the Aboriginal people in particular throughout the territory’s time as a colony, and much of the film is difficult to watch because of this.
As a genuine survivor, Clare employs Billy, an Aboriginal tracker who will lead her through the vast Tasmanian wilderness in search of the guys who stole everything she loves. Billy is portrayed by Aboriginal Australian actor Baykali Ganambarr. The Nightingale is a stunning sequel to the acclaimed horror film The Babadook and an equally affecting thriller with a unique historical twist.
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The first film adaptation of a Stephen King novel, Carrie stars Sissy Spacek as the titular character, a troubled youngster whose life rapidly deteriorates as she develops extraordinary telekinetic talents and her family’s support falters.
The 1976 film has its flaws, but after Carrie’s ordeal at the hands of the school bullies, you can’t help but sympathize with her desire for retribution, even if she goes a bit too far. Audiences are left wondering what happened to Carrie after the prom and if she would return to finish off the rest of her classmates, just as they were in her genesis narrative.
When compared to the usual vindictive antagonists of horror films, Carrie is incredibly relatable since she is just a 16-year-old girl who wants to be loved and doesn’t understand the world or her extraordinary talents.
Image of Clint Eastwood from the film Unforgiven; courtesy of Warner Bros.
Unforgiven, directed by Clint Eastwood, is included since it is a Western and this list is about the greatest revenge movies ever created. William Munny, played by Eastwood, is a retired outlaw who agrees to take on one final assignment for a young man known only as “the Kid.”
The Kid needs help finding the guys guilty of wounding a sex worker in town in order to collect the $1,000 prize offered by the town’s mayor. Munny, a single father raising two children, needs the money, so he turns to his old buddy Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman), and the three of them team up to take on the corrupt and self-centered Sheriff “Little Bill” (Gene Hackman).
Unforgiven, written, directed, and starring Eastwood, is a study on the restricted morals of classic Westerns, showcasing a cast of people with various opinions on when it is permissible to kill someone, or whether it is ever okay at all, while living in the hazardous, kill-or-be-killed environment of the Wild West.
19. Cape Fear
Cape Fear is one of Martin Scorsese’s lesser-known works; it’s a remake of the 1962 film of the same name, which was itself adapted from a book. It includes Robert De Niro in one of his best performances as a convicted rapist named Max Cady who gets released from prison and embarks on a killing spree to exact revenge on the guy who placed him there.
Nick Nolte’s character, lawyer Sam Bowden, who represented Cady in the rape case, is the man he has his sights set on. I know Cady is upset that Bowden withheld evidence that may have reduced his sentence, but after seeing what Cady accomplishes once he is released from prison, I think Sam did the right thing.
Cady continues to stalk Sam and his loved ones, and eventually almost turns the tables on him by trying to have him disbarred using the very rules Sam helped create. Keep in mind that I said “nearly,” since Cady’s psychopathy is unstoppable, and the rapist goes fully wild while on his vengeance quest, giving Sam the perfect chance to deliver Cady the punishment he believed Cady deserved 14 years ago. Can someone please get De Niro to portray another simple villain after Cape Fear?
20. Blue Ruin
The second feature film from Green Room and Hold the Dark director Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin is a nasty, gritty vengeance narrative about a guy called Dwight Evans (Macon Blair) who has already struck rock bottom after the death of his parents twenty years previously. The release of his parents’ murderer only makes matters worse for him.
After losing all hope, Dwight goes in search of Wade Cleland’s (Sandy Barnett) murderer and ends up killing him. But now the entire Cleland family is turning on him and planning to enforce the law themselves because of this. Dwight, despite everything he’s been through, is unyielding, and the narrative of his struggle against his dysfunctional family is dramatic and complex.
If you’ve watched any of Saulnier’s prior films (I’m thinking especially of a horrific sequence with an arm in Green Room), you’ll know what to expect from this violent, action-packed vengeance narrative, and I know I’ve said that about other films on this list as well.
A fantastic, underappreciated actor, Blair is the driving force of this drama, which is complemented by Saulnier’s (who also acts as cinematographer) outstanding visual work to create a riveting, very personal experience.
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21. Hard Candy
What is “catfishing”? Everyone has heard of it. David Slade, the director of the 2005 film Hard Candy, takes the idea of online pedophiles grooming young people and turns it on its head. In this installment, Slade flips the roles of the hunter and the prey, casting 14-year-old Hayley Stark (Elliot Page) as the former pedophile photographer Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson).
Hard Candy follows Hayley as she communicates with Jeff online before they ultimately meet and Jeff invites Hayley over to his place. Hayley, who has been monitoring and studying Jeff for some time, is certain that he is a rapist, pedophile, and killer; she has organized this entire event.
The page has an outstanding early performance in the independent picture, showcasing his versatility in a part that calls for him to go from naiveté to quick wit and insight. Page is perfectly cast as the conflicted Hayley, who walks a fine line between vigilante and predator on very shaky ethical footing. Wilson is also excellent as usual; he would do well to seek out more complex villain roles, for which he seems tailor-made.
22. The Lady Eve
Barbara Stanwyck starred as Jean Harrington in the 1941 picture The Lady Eve, in which she and her father, “Colonel” Harrington (Charles Coburn), swindle wealthy men out of their money. Jean, played by Meryl Streep, con artists a wealthy aristocrat called Charles Pike, played by Henry Fonda, but she eventually falls for him.
When Charles finds out about Jean’s history as a con artist, he immediately breaks up with her. To exact her vengeance, Jean reenters Charles’s life under the guise of Lady Eve Sandwich, but he quickly falls in love with her all over again, oblivious to the fact that she is the same person he once loved. Charles is so ignorant that he sees the similarities between Jean and Eve but refuses to believe that Jean may actually be Eve.
It’s also hinted at in the film’s title and central themes that Jean stands in for the biblical Eve to Charles’s Adam, and that Charles’s fall from grace is brought on by Jean’s seductive allure. Lady Eve is charming and funny, and Jean is a refreshingly modern heroine: she understands what she wants out of life, devises a strategy to acquire it, and follows through with it. Aside from when Jean develops romantic feelings for Charles, she holds all the cards in their relationship.
23. Ocean’s Eleven
In the first installment of the successful heist comedy series, Ocean’s Eleven, the central motivation is retribution. A job is a job, at least at first, for George Clooney’s Danny Ocean, played by the film’s breakout star, and Andy Garcia’s Terry Benedict, owner of a prominent Las Vegas casino.
But for Elliot Gould’s Reuben Tishkoff, a former casino mogul who views team member Benedict as his adversary and for whom the theft is the ultimate vengeance, it’s a different scenario. Danny’s ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts) turns out to be Benedict’s girlfriend later in the robbery, making things a lot more personal.
Danny assembles a dream squad of thieves, including Bernie Mac, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, and others, and they all play important roles in the film’s complex heist, directed by Steven Soderbergh. Although the crooks return for two more heists in Oceans Twelve and Oceans Thirteen, the first film in the series will always be the best.
24. Gone Girl
Gone Girl, based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, is a mystery thriller featuring one of the most complicated antiheroes I’ve seen in a while, and it was directed by auteur filmmaker David Fincher. Amy Dunne, played by Rosamund Pike, is a tremendously clever but somewhat insane woman whose picture-perfect relationship with Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) begins to fall apart over the years.
Amy and Nick lose their jobs, relocate from New York to Missouri to take care of Nick’s ailing mother, and then Amy learns that Nick is having an affair. As a result of her extreme wrath, she devises and carries out a plot to have Nick falsely accused of her murder and ultimately convicted.
Nick is first completely oblivious, but he comes to understand Amy’s machinations, and they begin to cautiously approach one another. Despite Nick’s best efforts, Amy proves to be the show’s true antagonist; her cunning, calculated schemes to achieve her goals never fail to shock the audience, but they can’t help but be on her side. Though Affleck does a great job, Pike steals the show in Gone Girl. I can’t wait till she (hopefully) collaborates with Fincher again.
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25. The Crow
The Crow is well-known because of Brandon Lee’s untimely death on set, yet the picture and Lee’s performance in it are worthy of praise even without this context. Lee plays Eric Draven, a guy whose fiancee and he are murdered on October 30 (Devil’s Night) in the film The Crow.
A year later, a crow brings Eric back to life, making him invincible and allowing him to exact revenge on the men who killed him. The Crow is gritty, dark, and exciting, with a very compelling vigilante antihero anchoring the film. Unbeknownst to some, Paramount dropped distribution of The Crow after Lee’s death, and the film would not have been completed and released if not for Miramax’s late involvement.
Even though certain changes were made to the final product after Lee’s death, the actor had already filmed most of his sequences, and with the help of a body double and post-production work, they were able to do justice to Lee and create a picture that lives up to its promise. More people should watch The Crow now that they know it’s a fulfilling vengeance narrative even after all these years.
Blumhouse has been well-known in recent years for its clever, aesthetically gorgeous horror films, and 2018’s Upgrade is a part of that success. The upgrade is a cyberpunk-style film written and directed by Leigh Whannell (who also wrote and directed 2020’s The Invisible Man). The film’s future is marked by far more sophisticated technology than our own.
In the film, Logan Marshall-Green plays Grey Trace, a mechanic who first opposes the dominance of technology in his society until coming around following the violent death of his wife and his own paralysis. In this case, Grey is able to walk again because of an experimental device called STEM, a semi-sentient implant that was developed by one of his former clients, Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson).
However, once STEM begins communicating with him, Grey’s need for vengeance is stoked, and he goes on a maniacal killing spree around the city. The upgrade is like a Black Mirror episode with a lot of blood and gore, examining the dark side of technology and the destructive power of vengeance. It’s an unappreciated vengeance film that’s destined to become a classic, and it has an incredible sense of flair, with wonderfully choreographed action sequences that recall John Wick.
27. The Man from Nowhere
Cha Tae-Sik, portrayed by Won Bin in Lee Jeong-The becomes Guy from Nowhere, is a quiet man who runs a pawnshop and finds happiness in his relationship with a little girl called So-mi from the neighborhood (Kim Sae-Ron).
As a result of her mother’s addiction, So-mi falls into serious problems after stealing a large quantity of heroin from the bar where she works and drawing the notice of criminal boss Oh Myung-gyu (Song Young-chang). Tae-sik gets himself in a tight spot when So-mom mi’s pawns the bag with the narcotics to him without telling him what’s in it.
Tae-sik and the narcotics are targeted by Myung-gyu, but Tae-sik manages to evade capture by using his exceptional combat abilities, which hint at a mysterious backstory. Myung-gyu and his men soon discover that Tae-one sik’s vulnerability is his love for So-mi, so they abduct the girl to force Tae-sik to do what they wish.
To make matters worse, they have no idea who they have angered, and Tae-sik vows to murder them all as he fights to bring So-mi to safety. The Man from Nowhere, Oldboy, and I Saw the Devil are just a few instances of South Korea’s ability to make gripping, character-driven action thrillers. The Man from Nowhere keeps its focus on the tender romance between Tae-sik and So-mi even though he spends most of the film murdering and battling.
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