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This is a movie about a wannabe gangster who is a survivor. He repeatedly wriggles out of tight spots without knowing how he got there, or how he got out. He is a civil servant at the docks of Busan, So. Korea, who stumbles upon a robbery, chases off the robbers, and discovers they were after several pounds of heroin. His co-worker is 'connected' and knows a big-time dealer. One thing leads to another (see the above review), and he becomes a kingpin - a neophyte in the drug trade.
The film was interesting, but a few things worked against further appreciation of the film. I couldn't grasp the significance of the importance of family relationships and how this could save him from death numerous times. This was very crucial to one's understanding of the story, because in an American gangster movie, he would have been toast quickly, and this would have been a film short.
Over and above that, he is beaten up several times and emerges with nary a scratch. In addition, he (Choi) is a rumpled and unattractive man who lacks a moral compass; as a result, I was unable to generate any sympathy or rooting interest, and the supporting cast fell into the same category. I also think there was an occasional continuity lapse. For instance, in one scene, one of the major drug dealers is stabbed in the abdomen and bleeds profusely. In the next scene, he is his old, menacing self, as if nothing happened to him. Many meetings and dinners take place seemingly without relevance or time frame; who are these people, and why are they there? And where are they?
I did the best I could to keep up and there were several violent scenes with fights and beatings and apparently no one in Korea uses guns, which would have ended some of those fight scenes pretty quickly. Sound was amplified for the fights and beatings - having seen many gangster pictures, the slaps and blows are never that loud.
I rated it a six - perhaps I would have appreciated it more if I had a better understanding of Korean customs and culture. Or maybe if I were given a reason to root for the protagonist.
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