The movie is about a hit man from America’s mid-west who is of Korean decent. When he botches what was supposed to be his last job by killing an innocent kid, he is sent to Korea to fix what he screwed up by killing the kid’s mother. It sounds a bit like a fish out of water story, but the movie only proves that the crime world is the crime world no matter what country you are from. The night shots of Los Angeles are especially gorgeous which reminded me of Michael Mann’s signature visual shots of Los Angeles in his flawless crime thrillers, “Heat” and “Collateral”.
The money part is where all the crime Drama comes in as it’s about a Korean gang uses a legit network to launder Triad money, The plot tries to be complex with the an everyone is not who they seem kind of situation. They film also tries to give some depth to the main character showing us why a harden hit man would allow an accidentally killing to melt his heart like it did. For me the story was not as complex as the action sequences.
The lack of character development in “No Tears For the Dead” is what makes “The Man From Nowhere” so much better. In “The Man From Nowhere”, you actually cared about the characters and what the protagonist goes through to save his neighbor’s child. Here, it is almost nonexistent since the action sequences leave no time for them to get acquainted. However, both use the exact same format of revealing the protagonists’ past that made them become who they were and it is also effectively done in “No Tears For the Dead”. I came to care about the protagonist but there should’ve been more between the killer and mother.
The ending was also disappointing since it wasn’t clear what really happens to everyone. But the final scene was a good way to end the movie on a tragic note which pretty much explains the title of the movie. Overall, it’s not as good as “The Man From Nowhere” in terms of plot and character development. The reason I bring up the “The Man From Nowhere” is that “No Tears For the Dead” is a very similar movie but shot on an entirely different canvas. However, “No Tears for the Dead” is nevertheless another enjoyable entry from its director.
I have to admit that I am not well versed in Asian action films, nor Korean history but I love this film. YOON Jong-bin’s “Kundo”is the story of a bandit clan that take on the tyranny inflicted on the peasant population during the Joseon Dynasty. The film is a Korean period piece, set in 1859, and brings together a modern vision to classic Asian action-fantasy with tradition dramatic passion.
“Kundo” tells a very powerful saga between the impoverished people suffering at the hands of the ruling nobility. It is a tale that rings, not only in historical record, but in modern time around the world. Similar to the legend of Robin Hood, “Kundo” creates a wonderful narrative of one group of individuals standing up to the oppression, taking what they can from the rich, and handing it out to the poor. Something that is universally recognizably as true human heroism. Yoon brings the story to live in epic style, filled with both visual and emotional power that captivates.
The special effects in “Kundo” are restrained and by no means rise as the star of this film. The story, with all its raw intensity, personable emotion, and hypnotizing sound effects are of equal status in this one. The choreographed fighting style is every bit as entertaining as Hong Kong’s action films that match this type of film. However the character that develops in “Kundo” balances that fantastical ability of Asian martial arts and war with true passionate story telling that hits at the heart. It is relatable on so many levels. At times the film reminds me of the American westerns of the late 60’s and early 70’s that tried to give an honest voice to the First Peoples plight.
Over all I have to say the “Kundo” is an affective film-creating a strong atmosphere than pulls you into the story completely. Yoon is brilliant in his ability to make a historical picture relevant to modern audiences while honoring the past. Elements of Western bravado show at certain moments, without spoiling the film I can only say that the film is truly entertaining, giving moments of Kevin Reynolds’ “Prince Of Thieves” dramatically-Hong Kong styled fighting and action reminiscent of Tsui Hark’s “Once Upon A Time In China”. Ther is also a bit of wild west attitude in “Kundo” that reminds me of Christopher Cain’s “Young Guns”. And yet Yoon manages to keep a unique signature style that is what must be totally Korean, all the elements that make “Kundo” such a stellar film are balanced perfectly with out being overstated. It is a true cinematic gem.
South Korean trademark genre “Revenge Thriller” is back with Jeong-ho Lee’s “Broken” based on the novel by Japanese novelist Keigo Higashino. A widowed father Lee Sang Hyeon (Jeong Jae Yeong) is seeking vengeance after her only daughter is raped and murdered. He is utterly disgruntled by ineptitude of police until he finds a clue about the murderers, he takes the law in his own hands and kills one of the murderers. Now he becomes a fugitive and detective Eok-Gwan (Lee Sung-Min) is in his pursuit. Broken is a carefully crafted film with gloomy and revolting notions. It raises questions about juvenile felony and adult crimes. It rather blemishes of Korean law regarding juvenile delinquency. Is it veracious to kill minors who are involved in heinous crimes because Korean Law does not have a rigorous imprisonment system of minors? We can hear a lot of conversations in the movie regarding the moral or ethical verdict.
“Broken” unveils many contemporary concerns: adolescent bullying in schools, teenage prostitution and incompetent judiciary system. Jeong-ho Lee makes you embroil up with the characters and their dilemma is felt in every manner. The begrimed mood goes very well with immaculate cinematography. The actors are perfect in their roles; every character has been played with utmost solemnity. Lee Sang Hyeon gives a stunning performance as a devastated and unforgiving father. Broken is a thoughtful look at vehemence and violence with use of definitive elements of film-making.
I was very skeptical at first, but after reading the synopsis of the movie I decided to give it a shot. I was well rewarded for that decision. As a father with a daughter who is the love of my life, I found the story line very appealing and riveting. The acting was superb. I identified with what the father was going through after his daughter’s death and actually believe that I would seek out my own personal justice too. All of the actors were great. I was very surprised at the level of entertainment that this movie provided. I never left my seat for the entire movie. I hope to see more entertaining movies such as this one in the future. I highly recommend that you sit down and watch this movie. You won’t be disappointed.
Ji-woong is a loser who can’t find a job so he lies to his mom for money, but his mom abruptly cuts him off one day, and he becomes homeless. But that same day, salvation arrives in the form of Hong-sil who’s extremely stingy. Her hobby is visiting the bank to make savings deposits, and her specialty is selling empty glass bottles and old newspapers for cash. One day, her savings plans are brought to a screeching halt when she learns she needs a separate bank account under someone else’s name to reach her goal of 20 million dollars. That’s when Ji-woong comes into the picture.
What Penny Pinchers does best is making its characters’ motivations clear. Ji-Woong is a young guy looking to have fun in the city and maybe even hoping to get laid. Hong-Sil’s father instilled in her a deep-seated fear of poverty after he lost their family’s life savings gambling, which is why she is intent on saving as much as possible for the future. When Ji-Woong and Hong-Sil team up, they both teach each other a few things about saving money and using that money to do what you want in life.
Ultimately that’s what this movie comes down to: you can scrounge and save as much as you want, but if you don’t have a goal in life, what’s the point? It’s a simple message, and one you’ve seen done before. Still, the film has some fun moments, and both Song and Han have good chemistry together. Song is essentially the film’s lead, and he sells even the most inane comedic moments with an energy that, however juvenile the scene may be, usually works. A side plot involving him trying to get in bed with a crush plays out quite nicely, with a final payoff that made me laugh out loud. The film also does a fair job of making the inevitable romance between Ji-Woong and Hong-Sil humorous. One gag involving a melodramatic Korean film may be stolen straight out of the silent era, but it still works. The film may be nothing new, but it’s charming and manages to make its comedic touch feel refreshing within its own narrative context.
Until Zou deploys nuclear option of rom-com twists, “But Always” meanders from one flashback to the next. After we meet struggling artist Anran. Fast forward a couple of years more and we catch up with both of them in the Big Apple; but whereas An Ran is now working as a tour guide, Yongyuan is a successful businessman on Wall Street whose masterful grasp of English proves that you can do a lot with your time in prison. Though the hand of fate has turned, Yongyuan is still very much in love with An Ran, and despite knowing that she is already attached to a painter (Qin Hao), wants to let her know that his feelings for her have never diminished through the years. On the other hand, An Ran is less sure, and only sparks to Yongyuan’s advances after being convinced of his sincerity – alas, a happily ever after isn’t on the minds of co- writer and director Snow Zou.
In a most clichéd turn of events, An Ran’s on- and off-boyfriend is left paralysed from the waist down after a car accident, and because he had just visited her prior to it, she feels responsible for his condition and chooses to stay by his side to take care of him. But just as you think Zou might be ending things on a bittersweet note, he goes on to deliver yet another stunner straight out of a certain Robert Pattinson movie called ‘Remember Me’. Yes, it’s no coincidence that our couple find themselves in New York in the year 2001, but instead of being poignant, that supposed twist is so shamelessly manipulative that it may leave you infuriated.
It comes off even worse when you consider the coda at the end, which sees An Ran returning to Beijing in 2014 on board a bus which announces how many Chinese like her are doing likewise to take advantage of the opportunities in their own hinterland. Admittedly, Peter Chan’s most recent ‘American Dreams in China’ also had the same message, but the positioning here reeks of sheer insensitivity, so much so that you won’t be thinking of the romance by the time the movie is over.
On their part, Tse and Gao try to muster as much chemistry they have with each other against weak plotting and one-note characterisation, but ultimately neither their characters nor their relationship resonates as much as it should. There aren’t any strong supporting characters to speak of, which is why it is fortunate that the cinematography is excellent, so even though the story or the characters aren’t particularly engaging, the shots are always pretty to look at.
Way Back Home is a 2013 South Korean film starring Jeon Do-yeon and Go Soo, and directed by Bang Eun-jin. It is based on the true story of an ordinary Korean housewife who was imprisoned in Martinique for two years after being wrongfully accused of drug smuggling at a Paris airport. This is the first time a Korean film was shot in the Caribbean, as well as the first to feature actual guards and prisoners as supporting characters. Filming took place over three weeks at a women’s prison in the Dominican Republic.
They now live in a small one room apartment in a shady neighborhood. Their financial situation is even more perilous as they are months behind on their rent. Around this time, another one of Jong-Bae’s friends mentions that he wants to hire someone to smuggle gemstones into Paris, France. His friend is offering several thousand dollars and mentions that even if they get caught, they will just have to pay a fine. Later, Jong-Bae calls his friend to take up hid offer, but he learns that the job is for only a woman. As their financial situation worsens, Jung-Yeon makes a phone call without her husband knowing and offers to smuggle the gemstones into Paris. She leaves a note for husband and gets on an airplane to Paris. At the Paris airport, Jung-Yeon is arrested and she learns that is arrested for transporting large amounts of cocaine into the country. Her harrowing struggle to find her way back home begins.
The story of a woman who transport drugs into Korea might be a turn off to you at first and you might think that she deserves all she gets, but this film is really gripping and if you have any emotions they will flow out of you through this movie, the acting is excellent by all the actors and as a personal thing I just love Ko Soo and have never seen him act badly, the performance to remember is his wife in this who really grabs at your heart even though technically she is a criminal but she pays dearly for her unwitting crime. This is a stellar movie and surely worth a couple hours of your time. It took me a while to get hold of a copy with English subs but it really was worth the wait. If you don’t like this feel free to blame me but realise there must be something wrong with you emotions, 2 hours of my life that I was glad to give.
No stranger to such farces after pulling duties in as ‘Vulgaria’ and ‘SDU: Sex Duties Unit’, To here stars as a magazine writer Wyman Chan, who has most recently lost his job writing steamy stories for a saucy magazine. After commiserating with a buddy (Derek Tsang) about the death of porno VCDs/DVDs with the availability of free Internet porn, Wyman rounds up a few like-minded Hong Kong guys and travels to Tokyo to get to the heart of AV itself – i.e. to invest in their own AV content production and not only with the hope of making some money out of it, but also to have the opportunity to watch the filming live in the flesh.
Wayman and his friends try to exert their influence on the movie that’s being shot, but only succeed in goading an actor into quitting. With their investment on the line, Wayman is drafted into a role on the other side of the camera. And to his bewilderment, he’s a massive hit, embodying a new image of masculinity – he’s a passive object of desire and humiliation, and this turns out to be wildly popular among female consumers.
There’s only so far you can go with the notion of reversed gender stereotyping in the adult movie industry, but director Lee Kung-lok pushes the idea as hard as he can. With a cast that includes several Japanese AV stars, he also has plenty of fun constructing increasingly absurd and parodic AV scenarios that generally involve his hapless central character. All this is tricked out with a few topical gags, a flurry of in-jokes and movie references, star cameos, broadly bad taste set-ups, clunky special effects and shameless silliness.
Ultimately, ‘3D Naked Ambition’ knows exactly what it wants to accomplish and does exactly that. It doesn’t purport to be high art, or anything else for that matter, except skewer the Japanese AV film scene – that it does with great hilarity thanks to a largely witty script by Chan and a very game male lead in Chapman To. It also pushes the R21 limit in terms of the number of boobies on display, so that should be incentive for those who were undecided whether or not to watch this.
Mr. and Mrs. Player is a film that really leaves me cold. I was rather surprised to see this sort of film coming out of Hong Kong, as most of the other films I’d seen from there were a lot higher quality. In so many ways, Mr. and Mrs. Player is an incredibly crappy film. The movie is almost like a porno film with all the nudity removed but all the innuendos and spicy jokes retained. Which begs you to wonder who would look for a comedy like this.
When the film begins, Carson talks to the audience about his life. He’s pretty much what most would consider a sex addict and instead of being ashamed of this, he thinks all guys envy him and his long succession of quickies, and he sees himself as the ultimate player. However, eventually (and quite inexplicably), Carson falls for a veterinarian who comes up with a really contrived plan–that he should move in with her and her other nymphomaniac roommates and he should stay sex-free for 100 days. Why should they do this? Well, I really have no idea but Carson agrees to this. What follows are a long succession of titillating scenes where the girl and her roommates try to get Carson to break his promise. Where does all this go? Does it really matter?
The film is one long succession of penis jokes and crude scenes (such as him having his member in a cast after he’s attacked by an irate girl’s family and scenes where he walks around showing his ultra-enormous bulge in his pants). A few of these are funny, though you’ll probably feel a bit embarrassed that you laughed at such humor. Most of it, however, looks like it was just clipped out of a third-rate porno film or skits thought up by 12 year-olds–such as when Carson and his friends show up to a party dressed as sex organs and orifices. Another serious problem is that in addition to being a raunchy comedy, it’s supposed to be a romance…but there isn’t a whole lot of romance in the film. The closest thing I saw to romantic was when Carson somehow was able to resist committing date rape when the lady he was with passed out drunk. How sweet. The bottom line is that there are thousands and thousands of wonderful films out there waiting to be discovered and there is no conceivable reason to pick this one.
It is admirable for the production to tackle head on how government officials surrender to the temptation of monetary bribes and seductive women as corruption offerings. It also exposes the loss of taste in view of popular culture and the extravagant lifestyle of those suddenly get rich. The film also addresses the consequence of pollution amid various rapid economic development in China. I always enjoy Feng’s movies which has a sharp observation on social phenomenon in China. But this one lacks a tight and coherent script or a good plot despite its good intention.
The film centers on a company that has a mission to help clients realize their dreams – to officiate the ultimate fake – even though it may mean gross the staff out. That is precisely what many Chinese up-and-coming entrepreneurs are doing – as long as it generates cash, zero principles or bottom line whatsoever matters. Hence we see different projects the company works on to serve their clients. It is quite creative to crystallize the twisted values in contemporary China while presenting it cynically. While the company is fictional, the troubles and frustrations the clients suffer from are real problems and doubts we have in rapidly changing China. The principal actors playing the roles of the four company staff members probably enjoy this production tremendously because they have the opportunity to play different roles in fulfilling their clients’ dreams.
But character development for each staff members is weak – they can be anyone playing those roles for a brief period. Hence, there is minimal identification with any characters in the movie, the clients included. However, the phenomenon is real and the incidents are probably based on real hearsay: that a hardworking government official will be tempted to abuse his power in approving public projects in exchange for handsome cash gifts and women. In another episode, an award-winning movie director is looking for elegance and taste but could not find it in China and eventually has to use extreme means … As for a one day rags- to-rich story, a cleaning lady is turned into a millionaire and lives an extravagant life for one day. Stunning cinematography towards the end in showing how grandiose the Chinese landscape could have been by exemplifying how they are now. But the way in presenting the apology to nature is too odd, tactless and artless. There is little link between the company business and this action. Despite all these, it is still quite entertaining and offers an interesting glimpse of modern China.