Being a Korean cinema fan, one of my bad habit was to put a superbly high expectation to every new Korean films that emerge in the local chinese Cinema, now theres 3 main categories for films, a good film , a bad one , and those who doesnt leave any particular impression and you forget as soon as you have your forty winks.
Hi dharma belongs to the last category, that is not to say this is a flat out dull film , which it isn't, it has this box-office aura thing going on, and it still gives you the usual cackle if you can ignore the fact that this kind of fish-out-of-water symmetri has been done to death,or should i say , a shark-went-to-aquarium, ok, try Sister act(1992) or We're no angels (1989), the usual law dodgers finding sanctuary in religious zone plot, i almost have no doubt that Dir.Park Chul Kwan view these flicks prior to shooting ..just for reference sake ya know......
Firstly i personally just couldnt help it but to feel fed-forced by the filmmakers to tolerate the unjustified resolutions that surrounds some of the characters, kinda the same feeling i get at the ending of Jopog Manura/my wife is a gangster (2000). Ok in no way i mean that i expect to see bad ass gangsters to be monks,so maybe its okay too, for the monks to receive soccerballs, toilet tanks, etc as a form of donation from the supposedly spiritualized gangsters , who purchased those items with their profit money from prostitution, black mailing , drug dealing, underground gambling activities, oops, i think i leave out assassination jobs.But hey! as long as the monks are happy and one of the 5 gangsters decided to be a monk who would argue?
the jokes are oftenly culturally specific, which means, if youre a person who have dwelled in Korean, Buddhism culture you could probably laugh your bottom to death, but if you're not, then sometimes you have to be satisfied with a mild smirk or the urge to push the forward button scene since youre so p***ed of not sharing the laugh that happens on screen.
Like so many Korean Jopog(thats gangster to you folks)male bonding type of films,the role of female is almost Non existant, as if the film makers are so drowned in their homoerotic crafts of showing a gangster slapping the bottom of a monk as a show of a blossoming brotherhood, ok so we get to see this disturbingly beautiful female monk in two scenes, i was having the impression that she was going to be a love interest of one young gangster character, yep , i was wrong, she dissapears in the mist of the thick as thieves malebonding fog.
watch this especially if you're into monk bowing jokes, irrelevant nauseating manic character who wears jogging pants & acts like a smeghead,or if you're into that dude who plays the husband in Jopog Manura, he seems to appear in every Korean Gangster comedy.
2 outta 5 stars .
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