The first radio station of Korea, JODK is aired and the group of Korean activist want to use the radio as their weapon. Will they succeed?

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Lloyd (as Seung-beom Ryu)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sang-tae Ahn ...
Oh Song-won
Bo-ra Hwang ...
Myeong-wol
Su-ji Jeon ...
Madma Kakadyu
...
Noh Bong-al
...
Mari
...
Sun-Deok
Oh-min Kwon
Jong-hyuk Lee ...
K
Jeong-se Oh ...
Man-cheol
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The first radio station of Korea, JODK is aired and the group of Korean activist want to use the radio as their weapon. Will they succeed?

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Comedy

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31 January 2008 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Radio Dayz  »

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2.35 : 1
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A charming visual aesthetic and fine performances unfortunately tied to a super lightweight story
21 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was drawn to watch Radio Dayz because of the leading actor, Ryu Seungbeom, whose performances I'd enjoyed in previous films. Combined with a bit of a recent surge in popularity of Corean films using the rather captivating era of Japanese occupation, I thought I'd give it a shot.

Radio Dayz is essentially a comedy. It follows the story of a fictional "first Corean radio station" run during the occupation as it starts up. Not that radio stations weren't existent in Corea at the time, but more that this was the first Corean one. The film starts off with the Japanese owner and Corean staff working to try to make their station successful and eventually, they decide to put on a radio drama "The Flames of Love", a terribly melodramatic piece. Meanwhile, a group of misfit Corean independence fighters conspire to use the radio station for their own ends. Hilarity ensues.

Or I wish it did. Not to say that the film doesn't have any funny moments, but I feel like the comedy was a bit stiff or perhaps it wasn't all played the same because while some of the jokes were amusing (for example: the competition between the two glory-hogging divas), other jokes were just mildly amusing. Similarly, while there's an interesting story about how the popular play "The Flames of Love" was used as a anti-colonialist response to the occupiers, the film doesn't successfully place stakes that we're at all concerned. It's as though the film is pulling all of its punches, in both the comedy and drama departments and so the story becomes so slight as to become negligible.

Not to say that the film is entirely a failure. For one, the art direction, the costuming, the photography and all the cute references to the era are solid. I like the use of filters (or perhaps it's post- digital processing) to color the film in sepia. There's the occasional use of irises and other techniques that recall the early film era, which is well studied. I can appreciate that. In fact, the acting, including chemistry, is there. In addition to the talented Ryu as Lloyd, the two divas, jazz singer Marie (Kim Sarang) and traditional actor Myungwol (Hwang Bora) do a great job of playing up the comedy in their own roles. The music doesn't ever become overbearing and often lovingly pulls from jazz era inspiration really helping to set the scene as well as contributing a rather strong number for Marie.

Unfortunately, even with all that's right with the film, the film falls flat on story. There's just not enough present in terms of conflict or stakes, coupled with the fact that the film is directly so lightly (perhaps trying to ladle on a golden kind of nostalgia) that it just becomes hard to care. It never really becomes apparent why the characters care nor what they have to lose. In fact, a lot of the running time is spend getting the station up and going, we don't really see anything substantive happen until more than halfway through. And that's just too bad. As the end credits roll, there's also a completely detached and somewhat out-there song-and-dance number to some jazz- influenced rockabilly that almost brings to mind the crazy ending of The 40 Year Old Virgin. Perhaps with a better focus on characters and story, this film would be commendable, but as it stands, it's merely a pretty nostalgic shell tied together with a silly string of a story. If the aesthetic is all you're looking for, you might just enjoy this as it's not horrible, but for everyone else, I'd say pass. 5/10.


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