(aka "Bad Guy" or "Nabbeun namja")


directed by Kim Ki-Duk
Korea 2001


This may well be one of the most perverted love stories ever. Han-ki is the local tough guy in a red light district and as he one day sees Son-hwa, a collage student, look at him and smile, he has to have her. Kissing her, she returns his kiss with slapping him. To make her pay, he lures her into a situation where she has to sign a letter of debt, by which she then is forced into prostitution.

The character of Han-ki is a simple as they come. He does two things, he either sits and watches or he hits someone. He never speaks. At the end, Kim reveals to us why Han-ki never speaks. Having a high pitch (almost mouse like) squeaking voice would doubtless make him the target for ridicule and that is the one thing you cannot afford in this part of town. So in order to survive, Han-ki never speaks and just hits anyone in sight. The repression of shame is one of the many aspects of Kim’s auteurism, all noting towards guilt.

While the story raised some logical questions, for instance has the parents contacted the police about the disappearance of their daughter?, the sheer force of the story makes us ignore such lapses. The story is so perverted and so strong, that we have to keep looking. Equally critical is the notion, that Son-hwa becomes accustomed to being a prostitute, which made feminists attack the film as misogynistic. And one has to acknowledge these critics, as they have become part of Kim’s auteurism. When you openly create political incorrect images, when you openly seek to provoke and attack conventions, the critic against you becomes part of the oeuvre.

Compared to the rest of Kim’s films, “Bad Guy” stands out as one of his best, and approaching him by auteurism by the motif of guilt and shame, it may well be the key work, as the characters emotions are so singular and the setting almost is mythical. By normal approach, “Bad Guy” is a perverted uncompromising love story, with an inner of intense beauty and love. Films like this are rare and must be treasured.

Henrik Sylow


Theatrical Release: November 11, 2001 (Pusan International Film Festival)

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Recommended Books on Korean Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)


DVD Comparison:

Tartan - Region 2 - PAL vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow and Ole Kofoed for the Screen Caps!

(Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers


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Region 2 - PAL

CJ Entertainment
Region 3 - NTSC
Runtime 1:42:40 1:42:33

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.90 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.72 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s



NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



CJ Entertainment


Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Korean, 5.1 Dolby Digital Korean, DTS Korean

2.0 Dolby Digital Korean, 5.1 Dolby Digital Korean

Subtitles English, None English, Korean or none. Extras is not subtitled!
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Kim Ki Duk (English subtitle available)
• Making of 'Bad Guy' featurette (6:23)
• Cho Jaehyun interview (7:34)
• Soe Won interview (6:46)
• Choi Duk Moon interview (6:06)
• Kim Jeong Young interview (5:44)
• Kim Yoon Tae interview (5:23)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:04)
• Asia Extreme Trailer Reel: The Eye, Internal Affairs, Battle Royale, Audition, Dark Waters, A Snake

DVD Release Date: July 26, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: CJ Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Kim Ki Duk
• Making of 'Bad Guy' featurette (6:15)
• 9 interviews with cast & staff (total 62:24)
• Production notes (Text)
• Film/biographies of cast and staff.
• Trailer (2:14)
• 3 X still gallery with soundtracks running.


DVD Release Date: May 17, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 19

Comments The Tartan has a sharper picture and DTS soundtrack. Tartan is missing a few of the extras, but all have English subtitles including the commentary track.

Henrik didn't notice NTSC->PAL ghosting on his TV, which the running times else could indicate as a problem. We are not sure about the difference in the running times, but we guess it's the "company trailers" that is included.

 - Ole Kofoed

I am sorry to say that the Tartan release (I own both versions) does indeed suffer from an inferior NTSC->PAL conversion. There are motion artifacts in between frames (maybe not as severe as the worst offenders, but still quite noticeable). Tartan is even more to blame as they did the same atrocity to "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance".

The CJ Entertainment on the other hand has a problem of a different kind. Its not soft as your review leads one to believe, but in fact is wrongly flagged. Most software PC DVD-Decoders (in their auto-setting for deinterlace) then fall back to a simple BOB Mode which makes the picture indeed look soft. While being better then the severe combing artifacts in weave mode it is not really satisfactory.

It is to be noted that on stand-alone DVD Players with a decent deinterlacer for progressive output (which usually does not rely on the correct settings of flags, but reverses the 3:2 pulldown independently) this is not a problem.

There is some glimmer of hope, as some companies are about to integratetheir own post-processing into their DVD-filters which replicates the de-interlacing of stand-alone players.

But until then there is no real solution for PC users. This wrong-flag problem is clearly a fault in the mastering process of NTSC DVDs. Its a shame that about 80% of Hong-Kong and Korean DVDs suffer from that problem -> and you guessed it sympathy for mr vengeance (the Korean DVD) suffers from it, too. Only recently the latest bunch of Korean DVDs seem to be free from this problem (Old boy etc.). DVDs from the US (RC1) are mostly correctly flagged.

Robin Wuenderlich


DVD Menus

Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)



Subtitle Samples

(Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)



Screen Captures

(Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)




(Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)




(Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)




(Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)




(Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. CJ Entertainment - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)





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Not compared, but Tartan has a DTS soundtrack

Extras: Tartan (for the included English subs.)
Menu: CJ Entertainment















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