Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days
In the afterlife, one guardian helps a man through his trials, while his two colleagues help a former guardian on earth.In the afterlife, one guardian helps a man through his trials, while his two colleagues help a former guardian on earth.In the afterlife, one guardian helps a man through his trials, while his two colleagues help a former guardian on earth.
The sequel begins moments after the end of The Two Worlds, with the three guardians, Gang Rim (Ha Jung-woo), Haewonmak (Ju Ji-hoon) and Lee Dukchun (Kim Hyang-gi) guiding their 49th soul Kim Soo-hong (Kim Dong-wook), the brother of Kim Ja-hong, to the trials for his reincarnation. The stakes are higher because if it is successful, the three guardians will also be reincarnated.
King Yeomra (Lee Jung-jae), Lord of the Afterlife, agrees to a fair trail on the condition that Gang Rim proceeds with the case on his own, while Haewonmak and Dukchun go down to the world of humans to dispatch a troublesome housegod Sung-joo (Ma Dong-seok) and ascend an overdue soul.
The Last 49 Days has a lot to live up to and it just could not sustain under the weight of expectations set by its predecessor. The first half becomes a bit of a slog with the pacing largely going missing and the world-building taking a backseat. This is a case of lightning not being able to strike the same spot twice.
Firstly, the chemistry between the three guardians of the Afterlife went missing in the first two acts, partly because Gang Rim and his compatriots are separated. Like The Two Worlds, the narrative becomes two-pronged but sadly neither reaches the same dizzying levels. Soo-hong makes for an annoying and smart-alecky character, who doesn't garner the same sympathy as his brother, Ja-hong. It is a good move that the story doesn't go through the same process as Ja-hong but what takes its place doesn't make for compelling viewing, and dinosaurs don't help. Haewonmak and Dukchun fare better because of the intriguing character of Sung-joo, a superb casting choice. However, this time round the Stephen-Chow-resque slapstick comedy is a hit or miss.
Secondly, director Kim Yong-hwa couldn't quite find the right balance between the light fantastic and the hard-hitting drama, which led to pacing issues, so much so that I did the dreaded thing - I checked my watch.
However, all is not lost... when the story does hit the final act with the story of the three guardians revealed, it hits its groove. But still, one can't help but feel it came a little too late to save the movie.
- Oct 17, 2018