K-Movie Review (위대하게 은밀하게/ Secretly, Greatly, 2013)

secretly_greatly_734155This movie Secretly, Greatly is an action, thriller and comedy genre. This movie is full of my favorite actors, obviously the lead actor Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Hyun Woo, Park Ki Woong, Son Hyun Joo and a supporting actor Go Chang Seok. I would have to be honest and say that Kim Soo Hyun really fit the 동네바보 character; literally means neighbor idiot or simply means village idiot. He has his stupid scenes and I think he pulled it off incredibly well. Obviously, as this movie is about him being a North Korean spy as a village idiot, there will be actions involved too.

I think the comedy compared to the action suits me more. Of course, the thriller part is great too but maybe the comedy left me with a stronger impression. And so, basically the first has its comedy mostly but then it turned into an action, thriller, with violence and tears. It does not mean you should miss the second half where the action begins because the action was stunning, captivating and thrilling; for me it was like watching a totally different movie! Also, do you realize that the location where the action is shot is always action-ish? Just like the gloomy location always draws a fight in.

As for the graphics, it is beyond words to explain the amazing graphics. The quality can be seen better at the second half of the movie simply because action is a tough genre to pull off with amazing shots and angles. My favorite action location took place on the roof (sort of) and the pre-fight and fight that took place in the rain was outstanding and beautifully presented. Actually, I have just recently come across a making of an action movie that involves just chasers and one being chased. That scene took roughly three days to shoot and I was amazed and gave my full respect to the whole film making team.

If you have seen the poster of the movie, it simply looked like a movie that involved life stories, maybe some life drama comedy with a sad ending. It turned out different from what I thought as I did not read the summary at first. The plot itself is simply amazing and with Kim Soo Hyun acted as a village idiot is by far the best village idiot character I have come across with. Honestly, it would be hard not to smile or laugh when a village idiot Dong Gu appeared in the scene!

I guess in the end, it is a well-balanced movie with comedy that ends with action and tears.


K-Moive Review/ Kundo: Age of the Rampant (군도: 민란의 시대, 2014)


This is a story between a band of fighters named Kundo and the authorities. The background of this film is based on late Joseon dynasty which is also a time of great tyranny. Everywhere is full of natural disasters, poverty, poor harvests and death. Kundo uses their own method to fight against the authorities and try to change this kind of situation.

The whole story is told in a different structure such as the first act, the second act, etc. Through the whole film, we can see many traditional Korean things such as the traditional houses, dresses, makeups, etiquettes and even culture. (The Korean tight rope walking ‘Jultagi’ has been shown in the background, actually it is also one of the performances during the Sydney Korean Cultural Festival 2016 by Master Dae-Kyun Kim). Film is really a good way to promote a Korean traditional culture.

Another interesting point is the description of each character. For the main character Jo Yoon and Dolmuchi, the film spends long time to show us their life experience. The director also uses a different pronunciation and intonation to distinguish different characters. Even in Kundo, we can remember most of all the characters after watching the film. All these do benefits to characterization which helps us understand each character and the plot well.

The music for this film is also a good point. The same music is being used whenever Kundo appears in a scene. We can also hear some modern music during some scenes but they are quite harmonious. It’s a good combination of ancient and modern elements. Furthermore, the ‘call and response’ mode of some setting is also very impressive. The scenes when Dolmuchi first appears and goes back for revenge are the same. The scenes when Kundo first appears and leaves in the end are the same. This makes the film more integrated and dramatic.


K-Movie Review / The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량, 2014)

This film is the best naval battle film I have ever watched. It is based on the famous 1597 Battle of Myeongryang during the Japanese invasion of Joseon Dynasty. This battle, which defeated enemy troops with a force inferior in number, is regarded as one of the greatest victories through the history.
The structure of this film is easy to understand, it is consists of the cause of the things, after and the result. The plot ascends slightly prior to declining intensively. In the beginning of the film, the director also foreshadows a lot for the future plot development. Therefore, the great navel battle scenes in the second half of the film impresses a lot.
The whole battle scene lasted for about an hour. Many different shooting angles have been used to describe the big scene, such as the extreme wide shot for the fleet, the extreme close up for the characters’ facial expressions, etc. Furthermore, the director doesn’t give the main character Yi Sun-Shin exaggerative positive description, instead, he uses some low angle shots for Yi skillfully to highlight his boldness and greatness during the battle. The whole navel battle scene is really inspiring, moving and exciting.
The Admiral: Roaring Currents achieved huge success and resonated with a lot of viewers because of its real historical background and the great national spirit. As a result, the film achieved 10 million viewers in very short time and became the most watched film in Korea at that time.

K-Movie Review /The Pirates (해적: 바다로 간 산적, 2014)


The movie The Pirates is a a pirate fiction historical movie with action and fantasy as its genre. The movie takes place in the early Jo-seon Dynasty and the movie is about how the pirates; Yeo Weol (Son Ye Jin) as the leader and the bandits are led by Jang Sa Jeong (Kim Nam Gil) are trying to retrieve the Royal Seal that the Emperor’s ship lost to a whale who has swallowed it. Even the movie has a unique and interesting plot.

This movie is simply amazing and brilliant. Not only that the movie has amazing graphic effects but it would not be complete if the movie did not have its comedy in it. I believe the movie is worth it to watch because of its comedy in it. The leading actress Son Ye Jin is unexpectedly suited for her role as a pirate leader. She also has action role involved which makes a huge difference as I have only seen her act in romance or melodrama. As for Kim Nam Gil, I have seen him as a detective role in a movie and his acting is obviously superb as he has been acting for 18 years. Even though there is a huge of years from his first drama series until casted for minor roles in 2005.

If you have read a review I wrote weeks ago on The Classified File, I have personally mentioned my huge favour towards Yoo Hae Jin’s (Cheon Beol) acting. In this movie, he plays as a supporting role and his acting always as amazing as ever. He is a pirate with terrible seasickness together with Yeo Weol. He then runs away with a boat fearing for his life as he could be chosen as one of the sacrifices in return for treasures. And so he comes looking for Jang Sa Jeong who is also called as the Crazy Tiger and began his adventure as a bandit. You would not want to miss the scenes he is in as they are brilliantly hilarious!

Originally, the pirate and the bandit were aiming for the treasures but did they end up with what they pursued?

This movie is really worth a watch and for those who simply enjoy having a big laugh, you should go for it!

– Fenty

K-Movie Review / Veteran (베테랑, 2015)


This is an action and crime film but also includes comedy elements. The protagonist is a police man named Seo Do-cheol, while the antagonist named Jo Tae-oh who is spoiled in a wealthy family. This is a representative gangster film but this time the antagonist is not real gangster, he is rich, bad and crazy. Seo Do-cheol is simple and sort of individualism. To work as a policeman, he always keep a low profile. However, he has to try his best every time during work. He has a good personality which is always bold and upright. This is also one of the highlights of this film – everything is real, based on our life. Everyone has family, this is an obvious clue through the whole film. Like the protagonist, he needs to work for his family, the tuition fee for his son and also the house loan. The Chauffeur Bae is struggle with getting the salary back to support his family. Even the antagonist, his father also wants to do something to save his son. Another big highlight is the comedy elements. Much of the action and crime scenes are along with gags and self-mockery. This is quite unique in a gangster film. All these kind of settings can make the audience feel something different. Furthermore, the editing of this film is good which makes it a fast pace film and bring audience tension. Both the protagonist and antagonist perform perfect. Veteran is a good film which showing at 2016 Korean Film Festival in Australia.


K-Movie Review / Inside Men (2015, 내부자들)

145207749735de37_oInside Men is a political thriller movie that involves people at the top; as greedy as they could, using their power and social status to reach the top and covering up their dirty work. Within its genre it involves high level corruption, sexual and brilliantly brutal scenes.

This movie started off with Lee Byung Hun announcing his revenge towards the Mirae Motors company (its secret flush), then the movie went back to the past of his involvement with the people he worked with and why he wanted a revenge.

The beginning of the movie is a bit difficult to understand as it is not presented linearly (non-linear). Things start to get clearer as it progresses. It shows more of motivation and character background. I would say the movie production is a top-notch.

With its lead actor Lee Byung Hun, accompanies alongside amazing actors Baek Yoon Sik and Cho Seung Woo, the director Ho Min Woo indeed casted the best of actors to be part of this brilliantly brutal and intense movie.

Like always, we are not spoiling the ending and you will not want to miss the ending!

Also, Inside Men actually has two versions, one in 3 hour run time and another is 2 hour. After watching the ending, I think I may try to watch the 3 hour version! The 2 hour version of Inside Men is the one being shown in 2016 Korean Film Festival in Australia.


K-Movie Review / Alice in Earnestland (2015,성실한 나라의 앨리스)


The movie Alice in Earnestland was shown in Korean Film Festival in Australia 2016 and Sydney Film Festival 2016. If you are curious about this particular movie, you could still watch it in Brisbane or Melbourne; if you are around the area!

First of all, I have come across black comedy as a genre but I think I have never gotten myself to watch one until now. So according to the dictionary of Cambridge, black comedy is “a film, play, etc. that looks at the funny side of things that we usually consider to be very serious, like death and illness”. So, I might not be the best person to say my opinion on this genre because I am totally new to it.

The plot of the story is not tough to understand, I would honestly say that the movie with black comedy genre is indeed difficult to pull off. Not only that, the story itself created the black comedy theme, but the way the movie is presented has its humor in it; tough to notice as I am new to this thing.

Despite the word comedy in the genre, the genre was hard for me to laugh at. Again this genre is new to me. You might get to like the comedy involved if you enjoyed other black comedy genre. It is more of a life journey genre for me as Soo Nam (Lee Jung Hyun, a singer-actor) fights her way life through so many challenges ahead of her. I found the definition of the genre after watching the movie which was why I did not realize it was meant to involve humor in it.

The comedy in this movie can be seen from the way the movie was shot and obviously some of the background music; identifies itself as less serious in some ways. But then, at the climax of the movie, the movie turned pretty violent and even brutal to watch when something drove her to kill someone. So, keep in mind that it might be hard to watch.

If you are curious about Lee Jung Hyun, as I mentioned earlier she is a singer-actor. She was famous for her song called “Wa” in 2000.

And so, I think it is a great movie to watch, especially if you are new to a black comedy movie, you might as well try this one!