Movie Review: The Beast (2011) – Korean Movie

the beast poster

The Beast‘ is an action thriller and director Hwang Yu-Sik‘s debut film and co-screenplay. Its also actor Jung Suk-Won‘s debut film (he’s appeared in numerous Korean drama series). He comes from an action school background (stuntman) which enabled the constrained (low-budget) film to be shot in one month. It was also shot at night in dark places. So, the production value is absent but that’s not to say a small film like this can’t be entertaining. But.. it really isn’t. In-the-box action choreography with a weak and predictable plot are overbearing. So, instead it comes across as a very cheap rip-off of “The Man From Nowhere” and “Taken” which the director admits were an influence (AsianWiki):

  • Moderator – Before “The Beast” there were similar films like “The Man From Nowhere” and “Taken.” Did those movies influence “The Beast?”
  • Hwang Yu-Sik (director) – I won’t deny those movies had some influence, because when I planned the “Beast” those films were popular.

It’s about some elite special forces guy who goes AWOL to find and rescue his kidnapped sister who has is a victim of human trafficking into the underground market of online rape/porn. Full synopsis

the beast 1

aparoo says 2/5

Download: Asia Torrents

Image sources: hancinema.net // asianwiki.com

 

Movie Review: Lady Vengeance (2005) – Korean Movie

lady vengeance poster 1

Lady Vengeance, also known as Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, is the third and final film of the infamous “Vengeance Trilogy” by Park Chan-wook. The trilogy is thematically connected as a box set rather than a traditional series of story sequels. This film comes after Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Oldboy (2003) — which garnered Park international acclaim as a Korean directory and revamped the revenge-film cult following as a masterpiece film. All three films are crime-drama-thrillers with their own renditions of dark comedy and harsh truths. Revenge is the centerfold theme throughout the trilogy, with plays on violence and redemption.

“After thirteen and half years in prison for kidnapping and murdering the boy Park Won-mo, Geum-ja Lee is released and tries to fix her life… See full summary” (IMDb)

American trailer

lady vengeance 1

I have had the pleasure of watching Lady Vengeance twice on Blu-ray; once as the regular version and once as the “fade to black & white” version. The change of environmental colours in conjunction with the gradual change from colour to black & white create an entirely new and rewarding experience. This elegant and ongoing change in visuals add another dimension to the story and leave your eyes with a treat. Storytelling also takes places through dream sequences, monologues, flashbacks and narration. If I had to describe the film, as a whole, in one word it would simply be ‘depth’. Depth from the sometimes dramatic and sometimes quirky score; the sharp images and overall crisp cinematography; the robust storyline and climatic ‘conclusions'; and lastly the vengeful heroine who takes the viewer on a deep journey through conviction and salvation.

lady vengeance 2

The first half of the movie is seemingly disjointed but later proves to be methodical for the main character and direction of the story as a whole. The second half of the movie is where a sharp change in tone is noticed, from dark comedy to revengeful violence. Somehow, this shift from light-hearted to dauntless works and the film is quite beautiful throughout. It’s nowhere as near twisted and diabolical as Oldboy, but is emotionally thrilling in it’s own right. It’s thematic, symbolic and very stylish. Even though the plot set-up was long and drawn out, and some hype deflated along the way, the end-product is an enthralling dive into vengeance. Vengeance stripped down to it’s core and put back together again.

Directed by: Park Chan-Wook

Written by: Seo-gyeong Jeong // Park Chan-Wook

Starring: Yeong-ae Lee // Choi Min-Sik // Kwon Ye-Young // full cast

Reviews: Rotten Tomatoes // metacritic // Love HK Film // DVD Beaver // Thoughts on Stuff // Joe Foreign Review

aparoo’s words: drama, thriller, crime, murder, vengeance, revenge, redemption, courage, evil

aparoo says 5/5

Download: Asia Torrents

photo credit: asianwiki.com // Google image search

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Movie Review: Sex is Zero (2002) – Korean Movie

sex is zero poster

Sex is Zero is the “outrageous sex-comedy” equivalent of American Pie. Actually this one is also largely a romance-comedy with a little Korean dramatic flare. The sexual humor, and humor of the movie in general, is funny and entertaining (and sometimes “too much” to watch, lol). This movie has a sequel to go along with it, Sex is Zero 2 (2007), which is one big difference from its counterpart American Pie (the huge franchise).

“The plot follows the story of college student Eun-shik and his efforts to impress a Junior student Eun-hyo. Eun-shik has a habit of finding himself in somewhat awkward situations that often embarrass him and sabotage his attempts to impress Eun-hyo.” (Wiki)

Alternate trailer 1 (English subs)
Alternate trailer 2 (Korean)

sex is zero screen

Its rated 18+ for a reason, its pretty explicit in language and subject matter; scenes of sex, masturbation, pregnancy, courtship etc — so you’ve been advised as a viewer. And really, its not “all about” sex. Typical of Korean cinema, there is “much more” to the story and movie, it just so happens to be told as a comedy — and is one hell of a funny one at that. The dramatic flare that I mentioned is a prevailing undertone to the story and does pull on emotions as it plays with some serious “stuff”. No spoilers here folks.

More info
IMDb

Reviews (spoilers): Shuqi // Monsters at Play // Asian Movie Web // Asian Film Reviews
Starring: Lim Chang Jung // Ha Ji-Won // Jung Min // Jin Jae-Yeong
Directed/ written by: Yun Je-Gyun

aparoo’s words: sex, comedy, romance, drama, funny & serious, immature, young adults

aparoo says 5/5

Sex is Zero download: Asia Torrents
Sex is Zero stream: Youtube (missing parts) // 1channel.ch

Sex is Zero 2 (sequel) download: Asia Torrents
Sex is Zero 2 (sequel) stream: Veoh (no sub) // Youtube (no sub) // YouTube (Eng sub)

photo credit: asianmediawiki.com // Google image search