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Frank M. Ahearn,
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The story of a cab driver in Yanji City, a region between North Korea, China and Russia. His wife goes to Korea to earn money, but he doesn't hear from her since in 6 months. He plays mah-jong to make some extra cash, but this only makes his life worse; but then he meets a hitman who proposes to turn his life around by repaying his debt and reuniting with his wife, just for one hit. Written by
Some historical background about this movie and more
During World War II, lots of Koreans are forced to leave their home land to avoid the brutal oppression of Japanese military empire. Some are drifted to Soviet Union, and some are moved to far eastern border between China and Korea. Named after their former nations name, Cho-Sun, the people who settled in China is called Cho-Sun-Jok (Cho-Sun tribes). As you know, after liberation from Japanese military empire at the end of World War II, north and south Korea begins terrible war and still sporadic battle is going on at their border. North Koreans build their own frantic communist-religious nation and south Koreans build a nation based on capitalism. By the geological and political environment, these Cho-Sun-Jok have close relation with north Korea but the booming economy of south Korea lures them. Also south Korean economy needs these cheap labor, today many Cho-Sun-Jok are re-immigrated to south Korea. But the huge social and economical difference between south Korea and Cho- Sun-Jok bring out many problems like organized crime, drug and prostitution.
The movie tells the story about three major characters. Gu-Nam, a desperate Cho-Sun-Jok taxi driver whose wife is moved to Korea for work and now missing, Myun-Ga (Mr. Myun), a Cho-Sun-Jok organized crime tycoon who sent Gu-Nam to Seoul to hit a wealthy south Korean with one-way ticket. And Mr. Kim who ordered hit to Myun-Ga. Abandoned and betrayed, Gu-Nam runs for life to find a way to go back to China and to his daughter, all of these is melted, surmised and finally run to a catastrophic ending.
Director Na successfully build a reputation as a director with his first mega-hit move "Chaser". In this film his cinematic power is more escalated to a new level. Actors who played lead roles in "Chaser" also did the role again. Especially the character Myun-Ga, played by Yun-Seok, Kim is the most brutal villain in the movie I've ever seen.
I think what current Korean movies differ from other nations, cultures is the depiction of blur between good and evil. In Korean movies, the really really bad guy have his own reason for his action, and good and innocent victim shows more insanity that can ruin himself and others.
Really worthy for your two hours of golden weekend. Two thumbs up.
P.S. The title "Hwanghea" means yellow(Hwang), sea(Hae). It is a strait between eastern China and western Korea peninsula.
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