Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Boss / 보스 (1996)

Having recently screened the Australian premier at Cinema on the Park for the rare Korean kung-fu movie, ‘Canton Viper’ (reviewed here), directed by Korean kicking extraordinaire Hwang Jang-lee back in 1983, I decided it was high time to check out his final movie appearance, in the 1996 movie ‘Boss’.

While it’s fairly common knowledge for fans of Jang-lee to know that this was his last performance, information about it is virtually impossibly to come by, being made in that murky decade of Korean cinema from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, when it seems very little is known about the countries cinematic output. Still, in this day & age it’s only once in a blue moon when you can go into a movie knowing hardly anything about it, so I gladly pressed play with little to no expectations. As it turned out it was just as well, as for anyone approaching this as a fan of Jang-lee, it should be pointed out that he’s in it for barely a minute, has a couple of lines, and disappears. It seems he saved his final fighting performance for against Dragon Lee a couple of years earlier, in 1994’s ‘Emperor of the Underworld’ (암흑가의 황제), which he also directed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: Confession of Murder / 내가 살인범이다 (2012)

As a huge fan of Asian action cinema, I found the 2008 documentary 'Action Boys' (우린 액션배우다), which followed the lives of a group of stuntmen in the Seoul Action School, to be hugely enjoyable. Such was my enjoyment that I visited the school in the same year, to witness first hand the rigors of the training that they went through. Of course a huge part of that enjoyment came from the way first time director, and student of the school himself, Jeong Byeong-gil, structured the story. So I felt pretty excited when four years later, it was announced his first full movie was set for release, ‘Confession of Murder' (내가 살인범이다).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: A Company Man / 회사원 (2012)

The success of the 2010 movie ‘The Man From Nowhere’ (아저씨) spawned a fair few imitations in its wake, notably ‘Man of Vendetta’ (파괴된 사나이) made the same year, & ‘The Beast’ (짐승) made the following year, both of which paled in comparison. Last years ‘A Company Man’ had many people also drawing comparisons to the Won Bin outing, not to mention ‘A Bittersweet Life’ (달콤한 인생), thanks to a promotional poster and storyline that seemed a little too familiar. However ‘A Company Man’ had something going for it the other movies didn’t, and that was the draw of having So Ji-sub (‘Rough Cut’ 영화는 영화다) in the starring role, a sign for most people that the production could hold some potential.