Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • by TAE Sang-joon / 08.02.2013
  • Hottest Korean Summer Pic 3

    Korean films got off to a great start in 2013. In the beginning was Miracle in Cell No.7, a human drama that unexpectedly drew 12.3 million viewers across the nation. Following that, The Berlin File, New World and Secretly Greatly carried the momentum with strong box-office performances. Kicking off the second half of the year, Cold Eyes, an action thriller, has been doing well at the box office as it has exceeded five million admissions. In addition, Mr. Go is performing better in China than in Korea. Now it is time for the final round of big Korean summer blockbusters in 2013. They are Snowpiercer, the new film by BONG Joon-ho, The Terror Live starring HA Jung-woo, one of Korea’s hottest actors these days and The Flu, a disaster action film for the summer season. Here are the three hottest Korean films to be released in August.
    Directed by BONG Joon-ho | Starring Tilda Swinton, Chris Evans, SONG Kang-ho | Produced by Moho Films and Opus Pictures | Distributed by CJ E&M | Release Date July 31
    Budget KRW 45 billion (USD 40 million)

    CW-7, an artificial refrigerant, is scattered to curb global warming. But humanity faces a new ice age. Many people die and the remaining survivors board a train like Noah’s ark. People in the tail section of the train struggle to survive. But people in the head section enjoy the luxury of liquor and drugs. Curtis (Chris Evans) provokes a revolt against the unequal social structure and dreams of creating a new world. He begins to desperately make a charge against the people in the head section.
    Snowpiercer is a new film by BONG Joon-ho who made commercially and artistically successful films such as The Host (2006) and Memories of Murder (2003). Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jean-Marc Rochette and Jacques Lob, the film is a multinational project with the participation of actors, actresses and staff members from countries around the world such as Korea, USA, UK, Czech Republic and Hungary. Director BONG began to plan the project in 2004. It took ten years to complete. BONG took a big concept from the graphic novel and created his own details such as characters. The train has the strong haves and the weak have-nots, representing the world where we live now. The film makes a statement about a world order as well as human dignity and value through the unique concept of the graphic novel and Bong’s detailed imagination.
    The production budget for Snowpiercer reached KRW 45 billion (USD 40 million), the highest-ever in the history of Korean films. There has been concern that the film is too dark too cross over to the international market, but it presold to Europe, Japan, Russia and South America before its trailer came out. Snowpiercer succeeded in recouping approximately 20 billion won, about half of its production cost in presales. Snowpiercer stars not only SONG Kang-ho and KO Ah-sung, who both appeared in The Host, but first-class Hollywood actors such Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer and Ed Harris.

    Directed by KIM Byung-woo | Starring HA Jung-woo, JEON Hye-jin, LEE Geung-young | Produced by Cine 2000 | Distributed by Lotte Entertainment Co., Ltd | Release Date July 31
    Budget KRW 3.5 billion (USD 3.12 million)

    YOON Young-hwa was once the number-one anchor in Korea. But now he is relegated to a radio news program. One day, a once-in-a-lifetime chance comes about for YOON who is always looking to make a comeback. He receives a threat to explode Mapo Bridge from an unidentified person on the phone during a live broadcast. He tries to take advantage of it as a chance to make a comeback. He finds out that the threat is not a hoax and makes up his mind to broadcast it live across the nation.
    The Terror Live is a disaster film about an exclusive live broadcast of a horrible disaster: the explosion and collapse of Mapo Bridge. Unfolding the story in a limited space, a studio at a broadcasting company, Director KIM Byung-woo holds suspense through handheld cameras, fast editing and light music throughout the film. The Terror Live was strongly received by critics as a well-made film that makes audiences feel heart-pounding suspense throughout its 97-minute running time.
    Director KIM was unable to shoot the collapse of the bridge and the building of the broadcasting station in the film with a camera due to budgetary constraints. But the scenes were completed through computer graphics and delicate post-production work. The visual look of the film is strong, taking into consideration the fact that the film is a low-budget one that cost KRW 3.5 billion (USD 3.12 million) to produce. The terrorist’s motivation to cause an explosion may seem rather weak, but HA Jung-woo, who has been the lead of box office hits such as Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2012), Take Off (2009) and The Chaser (2008), and his performance have led to high expectations from the audience.
    Directed by KIM Sung-soo | Starring JANG Hyuk, Su Ae, YOO Hae-jin | Produced by iFilm Corp. and i Love Cinema Co.,Ltd | Distributed by CJ E&M | Release Date August 15
    Budget KRW 9.9 billion (USD 8.82 million)

    A man who transports illegal migrant workers to Bundang, Gyeonggi-do, is infected with a mysterious virus and dies. Within 24 hours of his death, all hospitals in Bundang are crowded with patients with the same symptoms. The government shuts down the city to prevent the deadly airborne virus from spreading any further. Since the cause of the virus is not known, it is impossible to prevent the disease and heal those infected. Those not infected fight desperately to survive.
    The Flu is a stereotypical disaster blockbuster. People are isolated by a mutated rampant fatal flu virus that infects 3.4 people a second and kills them within 36 hours after incubation. They fiercely battle with the virus. The Flu is the comeback film of KIM Sung-soo after ten years, who directed hits such as Beat (1997) and City of the Rising Sun (1998). JANG Hyuk and Su Ae play the leading parts. JANG starred in The Client (2011) and TV series such as Chuno and Deep-Rooted Tree while Su Ae in Midnight F.M. (2010) and The Sword with No Name (2009). The Flu, the first-ever Korean film about a virus infection, boasts strong visuals and tense situations based on the characteristics of disaster films as if they were the real deal.

    The Flu follows hit Korean-style blockbuster disasters such as Deranged and The Tower. The film offers various visual attractions through speedy editing, stylized cinematography and elaborate computer graphics, which are enhanced by the participation of LEE Mo-gae, the cinematographer of The Good, the Bad and the Weird (2008), JUNG Do-ahn, director of special effects in The Berlin File, and the computer graphic force team of Howling (2012). As KIM is back after a ten year absence, all eyes are on The Flu and whether it can appeal to audiences and lead to the director’s successful comeback.

    By TAE Sang-joon
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