Movie Reviews

The Alumni

Who are those Tabi fans out there?

Watch out for his Big Bang’s charismatic rapper, TOP. Molded by his past TV series, IRIS, and block buster hit movies, 71 Into the Fire, Nineteen; TOP now becomes a well-rounded actor of his generation. 

Also, winning awards not just in music, but also on prestigious award giving bodies like the Blue Dragon Film Awards and Paeksang Arts Awards.

The Story

Nineteen-year-old Myung-hoon (TOP) lived a lavish life with his father as an ex-North Korean agent, his lovely sister, Hye-in (Han Ye-ri) and their mother. Dreaming to be a great pianist one day, Myung-hoon never expected that the past war that occurred in their country would affect his future.

Myung-hoon’s father was wrongfully accused and was killed. Now, with his sister’s life at stake, he must make a choice. Sang-chul (Jo Sung-Ha), a North Korean senior colonel, holds Myung-hoon on the neck as he must follow Sang-chul’s orders to keep her sister’s safety, including taking lives.

He then travels to South Korea and became a ruthless killer. Disguising as a high school student, he becomes a spy and infiltrates the South as a teenage defector. But as the South Korean Intelligence discovers his true identity, Myung-hoon is now at chase by the authority and a hired gunman that is set to eliminate him.

Where else can he go, if his only choice is the road to life or death?

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Haeundae 2009 (Tidal Wave)

This Korean movie revolves mainly in the realm of the beautiful beach “Haeundae” together with the people around it.

The Venue

Haeundae (gu) district is located in Eastern Busan, South Korea with an area of 51.44 km2 and a population of about 423,000. Busan has a best known beautiful beach named Haeundae Beach. Because of its easy access from the downtown area, it attracts many Koreans and foreign tourists alike. The beach is located southeast end of the city of Busan. The beach is busy all year round because many beach-related events and some festivals are held here.  

The Production

To consider as one of Korea’s all-time top grossing films, Haeundae had a budget estimate of 10-15 million USD, one of the largest for a Korean production. After enclosing the film, director Yoon Je-kyoon expressed his words saying, “My heart is too full for words. I thank the actors who had to go through such hard work, the American staff and the Korean staff who were in the same boat with me to the last.” He added, “I will aim for perfection with post-production to bring audiences a film that won’t disappoint in the summer of 2009.”  

The Story

The story is about love, family and friendship. Choi Man-sik (Sol Kyung-gu) has been local in Haeundae for a long time. He runs a seafood restaurant joint by the sea and he is in love with Kang Yeon-hee (Ha Ji-won), a hopeful seafood restaurant owner too, and plans to propose to her. Choi Hyeong-sik (Lee Min-ki), Man-sik’s younger brother, is a life guard and meets the wealthy college student from Seoul, Kim Hee-mi (Kang Ye-won).

On the other hand, Kim Hwi (Park Joong-hoon) is a marine geologist and divorced to Lee Yoo-jin and they had a daughter. Hwi first notice a strange activity in the Sea of Japan, similar to the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and later the Disaster Prevention Agency, finds out that an undersea earthquake occurred and a huge tidal wave starts to travel rapidly towards Haeundae. Too late, the tourists and the locals only got minutes to escape and run for their lives. As the sea devoured Haeundae, many lives were taken. But like after any tragedy, a new hope will emerge.

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Miracle in Cell No. 7 - Unexpectedly Superb!

Released recently this year, the South Korean film Miracle in Cell No. 7, starring veteran actor Ryu Seung-ryong and the most sought-after actress Park Shin Hye, is a movie about family and love.

Looking at the title is hard to understand and reading a synopsis could give you a story line, but watching the whole movie will surely give you swollen eyes. Kidding!

The movie is mixed with drama, comedy, a little music and some over-the-court scenes. The film’s way of touching one’s heart and feelings is portrayed by how the actors portrayed their roles. Young Ye-sung (played by Kal So-won) is the probably the most perfect artist to have played the role. Actor Ryu Seung-ryong, that starred in the Korean drama IRIS and movies like Masquerade, The Front Line, Blades of Blood and Righteous Ties; is now a mentally challenged man that treasures his only reason to live - his daughter. I don't wanna ask how he got a daughter, I just love their chemistry though.

Let’s not forget the five supporting roles of the inmates Lee Yong-gu went with. They may look rough but as they got to know Yong-gu and his daughter, they were also the kind-hearted men that wanted love too. 

Also, Jung Jin-Young, who played as the head of the prison wards that, was also touched at how Yong-gu cherished his Ye-sung very much.

After it’s released the film became the 4th best selling film ever in South Korea, trailing the films “The Thieves”, “The Host” and “Avatar”. With the least budget, the film garnered a 12.5 million admission on the month of March 2013.

Some analyst told that the reason for its popularity is because of the long lunar new year holiday where families get together and probably watched the film in groups. How about you, how would you rate the film?

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If you are looking for not so ordinary type of film this Korean movie is a perfect match for you. My Dear Desperado offers different twists and turns, the most unlikely but very likable characters and a love story that is really out of this world.

Actor Park Joong-hoon as Dong-chul, the low level gangster who after released from prison for taking his boss’ place wants a payback and actress Jeong Yu-min as Han Se-jin, the small town courageous girl who finds a job in Seoul but later becomes jobless and forced to live in a low cost apartment.

Main Characters:

Park Joong-hoon (Dong-chul), the Director and writer Kim Kwang-Sik, didn’t want a boy-next-door image playing the role of a low level gangster, instead he choose Park to portrayed it. With his experience in playing the role of a gangster and sometimes a bully made Dong-chul’s character more realistic and has empathy to the audience. Park Joong-hoon is now 48 and gained many awards as an actor in many Korean movies and also appeared in American films.

Jeoung Yu-mi (Han Se-jin), portrays the typical citizen, though with good qualifications and decent schooling, still finding a job is like passing through a needle’s eye. Like any other, Jeoung’s character in the movie is close to reality, that despite the hardship we experience because of the economy and the lack of resources, still she perseveres for her family. Jeoung as an actress was welcomed in the Korean movie industry as one of the most sought-after actresses because of her peculiar image when portraying a role.

Their characters are no different to many but their unique personalities and traits are amazing that inspires anybody to overcome any problem. The movie may be a love story but the approach was very light and beautiful. Not like your ordinary love story, there are seldom affectionate scenes. The story goes when they got the chance to know and understand who they are and sooner develop feelings for each other. 

This Korean movie will surely catch the hearts of its viewers and relate to their characters as they both find love in the most unexpected situation.

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