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Unbelievable. Watch It NOW.
OldBoy is a film you shouldn't read about. It's a film you should somehow grab and watch. No research required.
The camera technique is fantastic and unique, with disturbingly eerie and suitable music to boot. The emotion of the storyline is perfectly acted out especially by the lead Choi Min-Sik, who personifies human vengeance with all negative human emotions and a touch of desperate dignified honour to the max. Although the characterisation is quite lacking, this film dosen't need it. Choi hasn't many words to build up sympathy and emotion for his character, yet he uses all the emotional energy he can muster and it shows. From his toes to this eyeballs, Choi plays a man with one thing in mind: Revenge. Yet unlike other revenge flicks, such an emotion is realistically portrayed with a depth I have never seen before from a single actor. Sadness, depression, loss, loneliness, pride, hopelessness, determination, irony, wrath. All with one word. One look. Only Choi could have pulled this off.
Director Park Chan-Wook has made a gem which should be remembered for the ages. The film moves along at full speed like a Tarantino flick, yet comparatively still seems slow and old-fashioned and dosen't feel like your watching a movie. The dialogue is cliched and metaphorical, yet it dosen't feel forced and over-philosophical like the Matrix films. There are many images in the film which will stay in your head for years.
Don't Say a Word (2001)
Simple yet very effective thriller
I was pleasantly surprised by this film. In an otherwise ordinary suspense flick, the most important element in the film is the acting. The acting is so good that it makes you care about the characters. Michael Douglas and Brittany Murphy provide the movie an edge over most race-against-time nailbiters
2009: Lost Memories (2002)
One of the most imaginative and refreshing movies I have seen for a while. It has all the ingredients of a blockbuster movie + has brains.
Jang Dong-Gun plays a special forces agent who lives in the former Korea, in an alternate timeline where an assassination attempt on a Japanese general went wrong (which it didn't in real life) and lead to the continued colonisation of Korea by the Japanese empire. The year is 2009 and Koreans have taken up Japanese names while the rebels have descended into the filth of the nation. There are still acts of rebellion by a rogue group, but as time goes on hope is beginning to fade for the 5000 year culture. As Jang is assigned to the case of the rogue group, he begins to feel sympathy for them as he descended from Korean blood also. As his sympathy and mixed emotions start to express, his superiors and even his partner & best friend turn their back on him by setting him up. Thus begins an unforgettable adventure.
This is the closest thing Korean or Asian filmmaking has got to true Hollywood blockbuster material. Most of the movie is in Japanese, and the star of the film Jang Dong-Gun shows true versatility by acting in two languages brilliantly. Give this a try!
Awesome!! If you don't take it seriously.
"Beat" is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable films to come out of Korea. It's not as deep as it advertises itself to be, but has great humor and action. The overwhelming pressure of education and family of Korean culture produces the "BEAT" generation, which this movie makes an effort to represent. Although there is no martial arts or big gangster images for international audiences to enjoy, the realism and acting generates enough interest. This movie is famous for making the biggest star in Korean cinema, Jung Woo-Sung. As the lonely and brave fighter, his charisma is worth the price of renting the film alone.
This is not a romance, nor an action film. Despite the tragic love scenes and the overrated action scenes -- At the heart of this movie is a desperate cry for peace.
I don't know if the subtitles were flawed or the international audience just don't see the cultural implications, but the movie's final scene brought tears to my eyes. When I read the other comments, all I see is "Hollywood wannabe" and "overrated action scenes" pasted everywhere. Sure the movie dosen't have an incredible impact in its action scenes but the underlying themes and the awesome acting and chemistry between the main actors make this film a must-see.
If you enjoyed this movie, Also see: Joint Security Area, Friend, 2009 Lost Memories
Taeyangeun eobda (1999)
"BEAT"-- five years later, and with soul
This is my favorite Asian film. The reason? Not only can I relate to the story and the characters, but every movie-making element I see is flawless in my mind. The acting is superb (with Lee Jung Jae sweeping the Lead Actor Awards in '99 and gaining superstardom) and the direction is worthy of a standing ovation.
Like Kim Sung-Soo's previous movie "Beat", this movie represents the lost generation in Korean society. The two main leads (one a boxer, the other a con-man) are extremely different from each other but both depend on each other to survive in the harsh reality they live in. Together they go through life, only they both find out that greed, love and pride is just waiting to ruin their friendship.
Gritty, realistic, funny, it's a film which viewers from all around the world should enjoy. If you like noir films or rebel films, this is the one for you
Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA (2000)
This is truly a masterpiece. If you're not Korean, you'll enjoy the masterpiece as an emotional piece of cinema, if you are Korean or even know in detail about Korean history, you will remember it as a message from above.
If you haven't seen it, and wanna know in one simple sentence what it's about-- just think of it as Romeo + Juliet, only with friendship instead of love, and two countries instead of two families pulling the relationship apart.
Incredible film. That's all I can say..
If You Liked This Also see: Chin goo, Failan
Flawed, yet powerful
This was arguably the most anticipated movie in Korean cinema history. The director of this film (Kim Sung Soo) had yet never had a failure, and it featured two of the biggest Korean actors (Jung Woo Sung and Ahn Sung Ki) not to mention the appearance of international superstar Zhang Ziyi. However, Korean audiences did not embrace this film. The general public said it was "too long", "too comic-like" and "tedious". And yeah, some parts of the film do drag on and do seem like a big 3 hour commercial for Jung Woo Sung (who is the most popular movie star in Korea). But overall, this film did not disappoint me one bit. In fact I found most of the film quite surprising. I expected light HK style wire-action, but the action scenes are very realistic and graphic. I expected over-the-top acting and stereotypical characters, but I got very subtle acting and a whole array of original characters (be they heroes or villains). If you enjoyed Crouching Tiger, give this movie a shot. The Korean film industry is starting to overtake the Hong Kong industry ever since 1999, and this is a great movie to start following it. It is the most ambitious movie project in Korean history, with two of its most famous actors.
Friendship, the Korean way.
Last year, "Chin goo (AKA Friend)" became the highest grossing film in Korean history, surpassing the highly acclaimed "Joint Security Area" and "Shiri". Many observers were curious as to the secret to its success. Was it because of the gangsters? the actors?
The main reason for this movie's phenomenal success was the fact that is was a very good movie about male friendship. In Korean culture, friendship between guys is a very strong relationship. Especially in the city in which the movie is set - Pusan - loyalty and sacrifice for friendship is seen as a very important part of honour.
In this movie, friendship is tested to the limit from beginning to end, as the movie's two main leads (Yoo Oh Sung and Jang Dong Gun) grow from being teenage rebels to big-time gangsters. The catch is, when they grow up, they become very different types of gangsters. One becomes a JOPOK - equivalent to the Korean Mafia, respected by the Korean people for sometimes punishing bad people. And the other becomes more of a thug gangster who kills and steals for fun.
The direction is excellent, but the acting is the element which holds the film together as a whole. The two leads are two very different actors. The first, Yoo Oh-Sung, plays the Mafia gangster and has a very tough-as-nails look and uses method acting skills. The second (arguably Korea's most popular actor right now) chews scenery with Chow Yun Fat-like charisma and striking looks.
if you enjoy gangster movies or movies about friendship, this will be a dream movie for you