Posts Tagged ‘Korean Movie 2010’

THE OUTLAW [MUBEOBJA | 무법자]

2010/07/01

http://www.outlaw2010.co.kr/

KOREA 2010  Directed by: Kim Cheol-Han  Written by: Kim Cheol-Han Cast: Kam Woo-Seong, Jang Shin-Yeong, Lee Seung-Min, Choi Won-Young, Yun Ji-Min, Tak Teu-In, Ha Seong-Cheol, Kim Min-Jwa, Cheon Seong-Hun, Jang Suk-Hyun, Kim Min-Ki, Park Ah-In

THE OUTLAW is a movie that urges me to write my resume up-front – because THE OUTLAW is plain disgusting. Its on-screen violence is, its exploitation of the subject matter is and its rotten attitude is.

For the first half THE OUTLAW is painting a more than unrealistic picture of a nihilistic world of rape, torture, mutilation and 24/7 violent crime that happens just for the fun of deranged criminals. All that comes in a highly concentrated dosage, the dark part of our existence in a nutshell, but the way it is presented here surpasses every Telenovela or Lakorn by far. What’s supposed to be dramaturgy ends up being relentless razzmatazz. Everyone except the police and their spouse seem to be knife- and gun-wielding, cold-blooded killers. Everyone. Even friends, siblings, you name it.

It’s even worse when it comes to the movie’s intentions: it takes us down that ugly road only to justify the hero’s vengeful acts later. Even more, it manipulates the audience into enjoying the violence detective Oh inflicts on the delinquents. There is only black and white in THE OUTLAW, there are no doubts, second thoughts, there is no reason to not find revenge an appropriate method to create and measure justice.

Because injustice happens on so many levels, in so many forms, so overwhelmingly everywhere, and THE OUTLAW makes it so painful to watch that finally we crave for salvation. The icing on the cake is that THE OUTLAW is even stirring anti-American sentiment for its cause, as some of the criminals are of Korean-American descent and as US citizens are part of and protected by the US armed forces.

We are supposed to buy into an eye-for-an-eye religion – stopping short of killing in the name of god (what a coincidence that even detective Oh’s brother, a priest, is falling from grace and kills a woman related to him). On the surface THE OUTLAW makes us believe that Oh has lost his faith, but in a weird and hard to rationalize way it also suggests that Oh is the right hand of god, restoring justice on earth on god’s behalf. Accompanied by a funky soundtrack, dressed in a cool outfit, he does the work of an avenging angel. There is even time for funny jokes.

Some of the “creative” ways Oh stages his revenge later are so conventional that it turns this oh-so-hardboiled revenge flick into little less than a DIE HARD or SPEED rip-off, losing its edge quickly and turning into a mainstream action movie. The second half of the film then is also lousily directed, acted and choreographed. In fact, it is boring and as realistic as TOM & JERRY – the movie finishes in caper-style.

Altogether THE OUTLAW adds up to huge pile of depression and agony and decay, but nothing else. Sure, Oh becomes what the criminals are he’s hunting. And Oh repeatedly says that he will go to hell (just as his brother will for what he did). But at the end he’s getting away with it, celebrating victory, roaming in a chic summer suit, once more suggesting that he is actually on a mission from god. So what’s the point? As there are no consequences, there’s no learning. It all just made him (and supposedly us) feel real good.

The movie ends with the words “this movie does not represent real people or situations”. No shit.

J.


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KIMCHI FLAVOR: A BAREFOOT DREAM a.k.a. BAREFOOT DREAMS [MAENBALUI GGEUM | 맨발의 꿈]

2010/06/03

http://www.dream2010.co.kr/

That must be a total coincidence – a football movie coming out in June 2010. Well well well, A BAREFOOT DREAM is said to be based on the true story of a Korean soccer player leaving Korea to train the International Youth team of East Timor. The Showbox production is helmed by Kim Tae-Gyun, so there’s hope this might turn out better than average

We’ll know very soon if A BAREFOOT DREAM is good enough to spend time in the cinema instead of watching the world cup matches 2010. Starring Park Hie-Sun, Ko Chang-Seok, Lim Won-Hie, Kim Seo-Hyeon and Jo Jin-Ung.

J.

ATTACK THE GAS STATION! 2 [JUYUSO SEUBGYUKSAGEUN 2 | 주유소 습격사건 2]

2010/05/18

http://www.oilattack.co.kr/

KOREA 2010  Directed by: Kim Sang-Jin  Written by: Baek Sang-Yeol  Cast: Joo Hyun-Woo, Jo Han-Seon, Baek Jong-Hak, Moon Won-Ju, Park Young-Kyu, Cho Han-Sun

Everyone can attack a gas station. It’s so easy! That’s why also ten years after ATTACK THE GAS STATION! attacks on gas stations remain highly popular among teenage motorcycle gangs in Seoul. But one guy has prepared himself: Mr. Park who was attacked a decade ago in the original movie has hired local thugs and losers looking for a job to protect his gas station and if possible find the attackers who raided his place before. One night a couple of overconfident gang members attack his gas station and things escalate: Mr. Park’s bodyguards get their hands dirty, a bus hijacked by convicts comes by and finally the gang who started it all revisits the original crime scene. Once again it’s high noon at Seoul’s most embattled gas station.

ATTACK THE GAS STATION! 2 is another fine example of love-it-or-hate-it movie making: with a script as anarchic as the movie itself, off-beat or optionally infantile humor and no story whatsoever ATTACK THE GAS STATION! 2 feels like a lengthy joke or sitcom made in Korea. You either get it or you don’t.

With its only logic being to excel the earlier scenes with the next ones ATTACK THE GAS STATION! 2 is like a big show with its ensemble cast being all over the place. It’s entertaining, it’s fun and without any doubt it’s pure madness – if you liked the first film you’re the right audience for part 2. Everyone else beware.

However, there’s a very big difference between the first and the second movie: ATTACK THE GAS STATION! was born out of the post-97 Asian crisis, reflecting the economic downturn and the feeling of a whole generation that ended up without perspectives or a concrete future. The anarchy was a result of a society in crisis, with its younger generation looking for a way out – or at least temporary relief. Much of the humor then was spot-on and often directly related to the harsh reality. It was around that time when the “buy local” attitude became fashionable and people in Korea and throughout Asia changed their purchasing behavior temporarily as imported products were “out” and branded as bad whereas everything made in Korea was good in the eyes of society. ATTACK THE GAS STATION! hence featured a joke with a can of coke becoming the reason for the gang members’ outrage.

ATTACK THE GAS STATION! 2 now has little of that authenticity and realism left which renders the movie largely irrelevant. It’s stripped of its fundamental credibility that made the original work and turn into an interesting work of art reflecting on reality. Some may argue that ATTACK THE GAS STATION! 2 is the logical result of the global economic crisis and is another comment on reality at the right time.

But I don’t think so. It doesn’t feel the same and it doesn’t give me the impression that it’s more than a sequel that coincidentally benefits from the situation out there. That doesn’t mean that ATTACK THE GAS STATION! 2 isn’t entertaining, but it’s not as sharp as the original and lacks the depth and clarity. If you want to see the fine line separating good from great – this is how it looks like.

J.