2/09/2010

The 10 Best Revenge Films of All Time

Yesterday, I saw Edge of Darkness with Mel Gibson. It featured a moving performance by him, a solid, well thought out plot, and some shocking bits of brutal violence. I think it is the best American made revenge film in recent years. But, what are the all time top ten? I love a good revenge film. It's a pretty simple idea. Our hero has something horrible happen to him/ her or to a loved one and then sets out to avenge that. The sub-genre can fall under action, exploitation, horror, or even sci-fi (Mad Max), but the best of the lot hit us with hard, vicious violence, as well as awakening an almost primal feeling in one. And, it should come to no one's shock that the Death Wish series and Chan Wook Park's films dominate this list. In the end, you owe it to yourself to see all these movies.

10. - Mixing horror, action, and gothic imagery this classic adaptation of the comic book is one of the most visually stunning and kick ass movies of the 90s, as our hero comes back from the grave to avenge the rape and death of his wife.

9. - The first of Park's fantastic revenge trilogy tackles the fact that when one wants revenge their is always another who will want to avenge that. And, hence it is a pointless, violent, and horrifying circle. Great acting, a wonderful plot, and an unforgettable climax make this a classic.

8. - After Paul Kersey's friend is killed by a gang of punks in Brooklyn, NY he (now back in NY) exacts his brand of vengeance and helps the scared community. One of the most wonderfully over the top and violent American action films of all time, Death Wish 3 has become a huge fan favorite and a classic over the years. The wild climax where senior citizen Charles Bronson mows down a seemingly endless group of punk scumbags using a Browning M1919 A4 machine gun, a .475 Widley Magnum, and (in the movie's wildest moment) a rocket launcher! All fucking hail Death Wish 3!

7.
- Awesome, badass, and exploitative mix of the revenge film and the women in prison sub-genres. An amazing personal fav, this one has it all you could ask for: stylish movie directing, sexy, naked Japanese girls, red, hot lesbian action, graphic violence, and a great revenge story as our beautiful heroine seeks to get those who unjustly imprisoned her. The greatest women in prison film, ever!

6. - The sleaziest of the Death Wish series is, I think, the best sequel in the series. After his daughter is raped, (as is the housekeeper in a particularly mean spirited scene) again (!) and killed, Kersey goes off to kill the scumbags. Classic dialogue and graphic violence abound.

5. - The rape-revenge film is one of horror and exploitation cinema's nastiest sub-genres. This classic by Abel Ferrara is the best, in my humble opinion. A beautiful mute girl is raped twice in one day by two different pieces of shit. She flips out and eradicates scumbags and sexist men in what might be called a sort of feminist fantasy. Regardless of what you call it, this movie has excellent acting and some nice bits of bloody violence.

4. - When the shogun's decapitator's wife is killed by said shogun, our badass hero swears vengeance and wanders Japan with his cute little kid and armed carriage. My full review of this ultra-violent classic: http://gorezone.net/dvdcrypt/reviewstxt/stu/shogunassassin.html

3. - The single finest American made revenge film, this highly influential classic is not the bloodiest nor the wildest in the sub-genre, but it is smart and excellently directed. Liberal guy changes his ways after his wife is killed and raped, and his daughter raped, too. Lots of movies ripped this one off, many increasing the gore quota, but this remains a masterpiece.

2. - The most moving film in this list Lady Vengeance is the last film in Park's trilogy. This one feels different than the other ones in the series, probably cause our heroine has a truly understandable and just cause and the villain is so deplorable. An unjustly imprisoned woman looks to get her revenge and reunite with her little daughter. The climax of the film is amazing and moving. A beautifully made movie that never feels cheap or sleazy despite the graphic violence. The ending really pulls at your heartstrings. This one made me cray and only gets better with each viewing.

1. - The middle part of Park's trilogy, this story of a man who unjustly spends many years in jail is violent, shocking, and enthralling. The fight scene with the claw hammer kicks some major ass, while the ending is one of the finest and most shocking in movie history.

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