Posts tagged "Ahn Seong-gi"

Duelist (Review)


aka 형사 aka Hyeongsa

Written by Lee Myung-se and Lee Hae-kyeong
Based on the comic by Bang Hak-ki
Directed by Lee Myung-se

Stylish visuals and Ha Ji-won can’t save Duelist from the horrors of mediocrity. They try so hard! But close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades. Duelist suffers a few too many flaws to for me to recommend it, though I can appreciate the type of film it was trying to be. It’s an anachronistic tale of ancient detectives working against an attempted coup plotted against the Korean king, complete with stylized visuals that will remind you of MTV editing. But it’s actually a film about two people connecting, people on opposite sides of a conflict. And the tragedy that results. This is a Korean film, after all!

As longtime readers (all 3 of you) know, I’m a sucker for crazy visualizations in film. Especially when they’re integrated so well into the film they become indispensable. Parts of Duelist achieve this goal. But other parts do not, the visuals become a distraction at best, and a problem at worst. There are lots of scenes that transition not by normal cuts, but instead by the camera sweeping into the new scene and the old scene becomes the new. That was neat. I wasn’t so keen on the montages that features a lot of scenes fading in and out, but parts never fully fading in, just imprinting on the scene. It seemed more like the film was trying to remind us of what the characters were feeling and thinking about, even though we should know just by virtue of paying attention.

Duelist takes its music queues from throughout the world and throughout time, so European circus tunes and classic Korean music are both used to set whatever mood is needed. Even the noises of crowds cheering are dubbed in despite a lack of such crowds, to make us know that an action is worth our admiration.

The action scenes work well when it’s limited to two combatants, but the larger battle sequences don’t feature the drama and intimacy of the film’s duels (and the intimacy isn’t helped by the larger sequences featuring lots of overhead shots of crowds instead of shots in the battles. Lee Myung-se does his preferred smaller fights with a mix of slow-motion and sped-up choreography, which both shows off the dueling as a loving slow dance, and as a wild and furious clash of emotions. The duels often aren’t about fighting, but have a larger emotional meaning.

Duelist comes from a time when Korean cinema was riding high, atop the world. But that horse was getting tired, and the world is ever-spinning. Bearing that in mind, I still judge Duelist against its contemporary films and the quality of the work that was being released at the time. Duelist does not measure up. Were it released today, it would be regarded as a mini-masterpiece. But in the middle of the shuffle of some of the greatest cinema to come out of the peninsula, Duelist barely registers.

Detective Namsoon (Ha Ji-won) – Rookie detective who is focused on her mission to the point of not thinking of her own safety. Skilled with weapons and headstrong. She also makes the sassy faces that Ha Ji-won is known for. Ha Ji-won’s other films on TarsTarkas.NET include Sex is Zero, Love So Divine, and Sector 7.
Gu Janggon (Kang Dong-won) – The person of interest for the investigation about the coup and the assistant to Minister Song. He acts like so many long haired aloof anime/manga heroes that female characters fall for (this IS based on a comic book!), so of course Detective Namsoon falls for him, and he falls back. But, duty, honor, all that garbage. See Kang Dong-won as non-anime in Too Beautiful To Lie
Detective Ahn (Ahn Sung-gi) – Namsoon’s brash and drunken mentor, is sort of looked down on despite the fact everyone acknowledges he’s a great detective.
Minister Song Pil-joon (Song Young-chang) – A totally not suspicious evil military minister.

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1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sector 7 (Review)

Sector 7

aka 7 gwanggu aka 7광구

Written by Yun Je-gyun
Directed by Kim Ji-hun

Sector 7
Okay, team, we’re going to get to the bottom of the question “Does this film have phallic and vaginal symbolisms, or is it just stupid?”

Sector 7 is so by-the-numbers that if you squint really hard, you’ll learn how to count in Korean! Sector 7 decided that it wanted to take all the goodwill that The Host generated for Korean monster movies and throw it all away into the pit of despair, instead giving us a grab bag of scenes ganked from some of the most famous alien monster films of all time. Each scene is a roulette wheel spin random landing on what film they’re stealing from this time. Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Predator, Leviathan, Lethal Weapon 3, probably other films I just didn’t care enough to remember. Oddly enough, I don’t recall any scene ripped directly from Alien 4. It’s almost as if Alien 4 is so bad no one should copy it…

Sector 7
Wait, am I a penis or a vagina? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??

But enough of what this films steals from, let’s go over what this film is. Sector 7 is Korea’s first 3D film, and was obviously filmed on a soundstage with the outside backgrounds CGIed in, giving it a weird visual nature. That combined with me watching a 2D transfer of the 3D film probably caused it to look less visually stunning than it is supposed to. But since there wasn’t really any iconic cinematography in the first place, it’s no big deal.

Sector 7
Shoot to kill any and all phallic references!

We get a prologue that is set in the long distant year of 1985, where a man investigating troubles with an underwater drill at the uncharted Sector 7 finds tiny floating jelly things, then horrible disaster strikes. But that horrible disaster factors nothing at all to the rest of the film, so ignore all that and let’s jump to 2011, where there is still an oil rig in Sector 7 and it is still uncharted despite the 16 years and the freaking oil rig that probably cost millions of dollars to build in the middle of nowhere. That logic continues into the rest of the film, but before that, let’s get to the cast…

Sector 7
You don’t look like my vagina to me!

Cha Hae-joon (Ha Ji-won) – A very driven oil hunter lady who searches Sector 7 desperately for oil because her father was the guy in the prologue and he died looking for oil. Sector 7 is desperate to let you know that Cha is driven and tough, between the scenes of her running around an averting oil rig disasters and the scenes of her running off to keep looking for oil after they’re ordered out, we learn that she’s driven to look for oil. She’s the Ripley of the film. Ha Ji-won can also be seen in Sex is Zero and Love So Divine.
Kim Dong-soo (Oh Ji-ho) – Cha’s boyfriend who is the handsome guy on the oil platform. He’s better than her in motorcycling, but not in surviving monster attacks. SPOILERS!
Lee Jeong-man (Ahn Seong-gi) – Lee Jeong-man is the Division Captain and also Cha’s uncle. He’s totally not involved in a conspiracy….
Hwang In-hyeok (Park Jeong-hak) – The oil rig captain who is a jerk, and will do jerkish things. Because he’s a jerk. So jerkish.
Park Hyeon-jeong (Cha Ye-ryeon) – The oil rig’s genetic researcher, because we need genetic researches on oil rigs. For some reason. Definitely not conspiracy reasons! Why do you keep thinking there is a conspiracy going on?
Jang Chi-soon (Park Yeong-soo) – a creepy guy who gets infected by one of the tiny underwater floating creatures when he tries to eat it. Also he does creepy stuff like perv on Park Heyon-jeong.
Monster (CGI) – The nameless monster is like a generic generic version of the Host monster, but with less distinguishing characteristics and a bunch of goofy tentacle things for extra grossness. And that’s not to mention the prehensile tongue. Is set on fire more often than Beavis’s bedroom.
Sector 7
I bet there are phallic references here!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sector 7 – 7광구

Sector 7 is an upcoming Korean monster movie about workers trapped on an oil rig as creatures rampage. It’s like Alien, except not in space. It does have a female lead, the always lovely Ha Ji-won, who is reason enough along to watch the flick. Before becoming one of the best actresses in Korea, she cut her teeth on horror films such as Nightmare and Phone (at one time she was considered a horror queen.) Ha Ji-won also starred in Sex is Zero, Love So Divine, and Duelist. Sector 7 also stars Ahn Seong-gi (Nowhere to Hide, Duelist, Arahan, and Musa).

Official plot synopsis:

In Sector 7, an underwater oil field located south of Jeju Island, Hae-jun is working as a marine equipment manager on an oil prospecting ship called Eclipse. Joining the crew later is Jeong-man, a former colleague of Hae-jun’s father, assigned to Eclipse as captain. Though his job is to oversee the withdrawal of the ship, he suggests conducting some drilling one last time. After 3 weeks of preparation, Hae-jun takes new recruit underwater, but he sinks to the bottom of the sea when his equipment fails. Shortly after crew members begin to turn up dead, one by one, their bodies viciously mutilated. What the few survivors soon discover is a transparent underwater creature they encountered once before. The viral monster infiltrated the ship through the drilling pipe and has been feeding on the crew to survive. For Hae-jun and his colleagues, a fight for their lives begins.

English subbed trailer courtesy of FilmSmash:

And lots of pics:
Sector 7Ha Jiwon Sector 7

Sector 7
Sector 7
Sector 7

Ha Jiwon Sector 7Ha Jiwon Sector 7
Ha Jiwon Sector 7

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Categories: Movie News   Tags: , , ,