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This Villain was Headlined on September 2009.

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Villain Overview

Me? I'm a sort of scholar. And my major is you. A scholar studying Dae-su Oh; an expert on Dae-su Oh.
~ Lee Woo-jin to Oh Dae-su.
My sister and I loved each other, despite everything. Can you two do the same?
~ Lee Woo-jin's last words to Oh Dae-su.

Lee Woo-jin is the main antagonist in the 2003 South Korean live action film Oldboy. He seeks out revenge on Oh Dae-su, a man who briefly attended the same high school as him.

He was portrayed by Yoo Ji-tae in his adult self. Young Woo-jin was portrayed by Yoo Yeon-suk, who played also played Ji-tae in the 2012 fantasy-romance film A Werewolf Boy.

Biography

High School

On the day before Dae-su was to transfer to a different high school in Seoul, he saw Woo-jin sleep with his own sister, Soo-ah. They both saw him watching and Soo-ah recognized him. Dae-su, who didn't realize that they were brother and sister, told his friend, Joo-hwan, about it, starting a rumor that Soo-ah was a slut. Dae-su then moved away and forgot what he saw, as it wasn't very important to him. However, the rumor grew to say that Soo-ah was pregnant, and she began to believe it. She displayed psychsomatic symptoms that made her appear pregnant. Believing that everyone would find out about her and Woo-jin if the child was born, she resolved to kill herself. On July 5, her and Woo-jin visited a local dam, and she tried to jump off. Woo-jin caught hold of her hand as she was hanging, and tried to stop her. She convinced him to let her fall. When the autopsy determined that she was not pregnant, Woo-jin was consumed with guilt and sought revenge on Dae-su.

Imprisonment

Years later, Dae-su became a drunken reprobate, who got drunk and missed his daughter's birthday. Woo-jin had him kidnapped off the streets, and imprisoned in a hotel style room for fifteen years. He killed Dae-su's wife and took his daughter Yeon-hee, raising her as Mi-do. Just before he had had Dae-su released, Woo-jin hired a hypnotist to make him meet and fall in love with a female sushi chef named Mi-do, who had been similarly hypnotized. He released Dae-su, who now could only think of revenge. Dae-su and Mi-do met and fell in love, according to plan. Woo-jin left enough clues for Dae-su to find him, and when he did, he told Dae-su to find out who he was by July 5, or he would kill Mi-do. Dae-su began to investigate with the help of Joo-hwan, who now owned a cyber cafe. Dae-su went to visit his old school, and when he did so, he remembered what he saw, except now he understood. In the meantime, he and Mi-do made love, after which Woo-jin gassed the room and visited them to make sure his plans were working out.

While he searched, he realized Woo-jin's sister committed suicide, and asked Joo over the phone how she was like. He replied by saying that she was a slut who hailed from a rich family, not knowing that Woo-jin was secretly listening in on their conversation. Angered by his words, Woojin brutally murdered Joo-hwan, while mocking and threatening Dae-su.

Confrontation

Dae-su followed the clues, and visited Woo-jin's penthouse. There he explained that he knew what he had done and understood why he had been imprisoned. Woo-jin then said that Dae-su had been asking the wrong question: "Why was I imprisoned?" He should have been asking, "Why was I released?" As an answer to that question, Woo-jin showed him a photo album. The first photo was that of Dae-su with his wife (now deceased) and daughter. Each photo showed girl get a little bit older, the final showing Mi-do. Woo-jin had made Dae-su sleep with his own daughter. Dae-su then went hysterical, begging Woo-jin not to tell Mi-do. He even sliced out his own tongue as symbol of his silence. Seeing the state he had driven Dae-su into, Woo-jin agreed not to tell Mi-do. He went to the elevator, leaving Dae-su in the penthouse with these parting words: "My sister and I loved each other, despite everything. Can you two do the same?" Woo-jin, thinking back on his sister's death, shot himself in the head before the elevator reached its destination.

Personality

Lee Woo-jin is a complex character. He is shown to be a vengeful and bitter man seeking justice in his own way because of his sister's tragic death because of the rumor of incestuous relation spread by Dae-su. Because of this, he put Dae-su in a life of hell during 15 years. Lee is also intelligent, able to handle complex schemes like hypnotizing Dae-Su and his daughter, putting them in a incestuous relationship without them being aware and incriminates Dae-su for the murder of his wife.

While the rumor is ultimately proven to be true, Woo-jin is however genuinely in love with his sister and the love is shown to be reciprocal. And after his vengeance has been successfull, Woo-jin realizes that his life has now no purpose and kills himself, showing how tragic and broken the man was from the start.

Remake

Adrian Pryce is the main antagonist of the 2013 film reboot of the same name and he was portrayed by Sharlto Copley.

Trivia

  • Yoo Ji-tae was 26 years old when he played Lee Woo-jin who in the movie is a man in his mid-40s.
  • Lee Byung-hun (who was known to international audiences as Storm Shadow in the movie GI Joe: Rise of Cobra) was rumored to play Lee.

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