|Index||5 reviews in total|
My wife and I drove up from DC to catch the premiere. We'd never been
to an 'indie' film or been to a film festival, and so weren't quite
sure what to expect. We left wishing we could stick around another day
to watch it again.
The story itself is not unique, but the way it's applied and used to paint a larger picture most definitely is. The cost of assimilation, as well as the cost of failing to assimilate, are both presented in stark contrast. It's something that anyone who's ever lived in a culture outside of their own can relate to - not just Korean, or for that matter, Asian, immigrants.
The quality of production, acting and writing is all top notch, and not once during the film did I ever find it to be lesser than the hundreds of Hollywood flicks I've seen in my years. There's action, comedy, suspense, and all of it serves a purpose.
The only thing I'm finding myself regretting is that we didn't book a hotel and stick around for the second screening.
I was one of SIX people who got in to see this movie the second night of Tribeca (waited 2 hours!), after unsuccessfully trying to get in the first night. After the ending credits, I was in shock because it was amazing to see an entire cast of "my peeps" up there. And the more I thought about the movie, the more I liked it - all the references to Korean-American life that were so familiar to me; the authenticity; the acting; the plot; the message; and the small bits of humor that were sooo Korean - "cola hana mashile?" I loved how John Cho portrayed the whitewashed Korean-American - so different from the still very Korean character played by Jun Kim. But their similarities were also striking - both were still ruled by their ambitions. The way I just described this movie makes it seem like it's some kind of feel-good, cheesy Korean duh-ra-ma, but it's actually a pretty dark film with an intense feel. I really hope it comes out in wide release because I would really like to watch it again!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie is a good watch if you have the time and a better one if
you're interested in a particular aspect of the Korean "culture" in
areas like Korean Town in New York, LA and any other similar place.
There are good merits to the movie but overall I think the story
dragged on longer than it should and some of the plot elements left
Lets start with the goods. The acting by everyone in the movie is superb. Even the minor supporting roles are well done and very believable. John Cho is pretty good and you can see some of Harold Lee, from Harold and Kumar, coming out of him. I would have to favor Jun Sung Kim as the best actor in the movie though.
The references to some of the culture is pretty interesting. Let me remind all that this is for Korean and does not represent all Asian cultures. This club whatever thing is common for Koreans, Japanese and Chinese but not so much with others. Personally, I find it appalling beyond belief. It is one of humanities worst disgrace as a species.
There may be some confusion regarding the plot and the ending of the movie for some. I'll try to summarize without giving too much away. John is persuaded to go out and find a case that his company could use to help with their profile. He finds one in the murder case of Lila Lee's brother Kevin. John puts in a great effort and sincerity to help with the case despite having been told by his boss concerning the deal with the DA. He forges on, however, and quickly learns the darker side money laundry.
There aren't many twists in the movie aside from this one. Towards the end when he is finally told by Mike Juhn, he realizes he has been used by both parties in his sincere efforts to win the case for the company. Lila has been playing both him and Mike from the onset. Mike see's her as this goody, educated, home girl unlike those of the salon. During his killing spree of the said salon he finds out she isn't any different than the rest and is in fact much, much worst. She is behind the scene, lying and covering her acts. The other woman are in a sense "cleaner" than she is in that respect. This example is shown in the character of Suki Kim who lives a more normal life, is actually a nice person in real life but because she is new to America there isn't much choice other than working at the salon to live off of. Vastly different than Lila.
John learns that Lila has played him using her goody, mama girl side of her and that he was lucky to even be alive if not for his quick thinking. She had in fact initiated Mike's murder spree that ended up with John almost being killed. This was triggered when Suki decided to tell John that she saw the murder scene with Kevin. Without knowing, John brought Lila in to meet Suki to help translate. This is the event that triggered Mike's desperation and killing spree.
The ending was too quick and leaves much to be desire. John is now a partner in the law firm after the success of the case, which went much deeper than just the murder case with Kevin. You see this with the camera recordings of employees of the salon and John's talk on the phone about the case. This also leads to the change in John's attitude towards "these" people. "I love to see these f**kers sweat." Lila also drops by to deliver some tangerines to John, dressed up as a home girl. This despite that fact that she knows that John knows that she is the person that strung him along. She was the one that played Mike to kill Suki and himself. She was the the one that place quilt and charm on him in her brother's case, even to the point of having him fall for her. The pure disgust John has at the end after tossing the tangerines in the trash is perfect.
Lila's character is extremely common in many Asian cultures. It plagues my culture as well. The homely, goody, mama's girl is the one to watch , in real life. The most horrific part about them is that they don't see what they're doing is in any way "wrong". Lila's character at the end with John and John's disgusted expression. Perfect example.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I picked this up in Chinatown because the cover showed a NYC taxi which told me that this was set in the Korean section of New York, its about two blocks from Penn Station. I was interested in the film because I was curious at how a Korean filmmaker would do a story set in New York. The film actually is an American tale of a Korean Lawyer who gets involved with the Korean underground. Its title location is a club on the titled street. I wish I had more to say about the film other than that long intro but I really don't. This is a well made but not particularly memorable film about a clash of cultures and getting involved with the darker side of life. Watchable but nothing special. 6.5 out of 10
I was lucky enough to see this movie last night at the San Francisco
International Asian American Film Festival. Several cast members
including John Cho and Director, Michael Kang were in attendance for
The film was sold out and there was a line around the block to see this one. It was well worth the wait of standing in line for.
Without giving too much away it was an excellent character study of Korean-Americans (both American-born and foreign-born). Culture clashes, deceit, protecting loved ones, and "owing" your own culture are portrayed here in fine detail. Great action sequences too.
|External reviews||Official site||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|