Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • The Big 4 Period Blockbusters in 2014
  • by TAE Sang-joon / 01.24.2014
  • The Big 4 Period Blockbusters in 2014

    The keywords to represent Korean films in 2014 are ‘historical dramas’. Throughout the year, moviegoers will be able to enjoy about seven or more historical dramas, some with a huge budget of over KRW 10 billion. All of them are hoping to follow the successful track of Masquerade (2012) which had attracted 12.32 million viewers, the biggest number ever for a historical film. The following are introductions of the big 4 historical dramas expected in the first half of 2014, produced by Korea’s top three investment and distribution companies: CJ Entertainment, Showbox/Mediaplex and Lotte Entertainment. These productions will come in various genres of action, war, comedy, thriller, marine blockbuster and political dramas.
    Big 1: THE KING’S WRATH (Working Title)
    LEE Jae-gyu | Starring: HYUN Bin, JUNG Jae-young, JO Jung-suk, HAN Ji-min | Genre: Historical thriller | Production Cost: KRW 10 billion | Production: Choicecut Pictures | Distribution: Lotte Entertainment
    STORY On the night of July 28th, 1777, exactly one year since King Jeongjo (HYUN Bin) was crowned, he comes close to being attacked by an assassin at Jonhyeon Tower. He immediately orders for an investigation. The fate of three men take different turns from that point: King Jeongjo has to survive through the day of sudden chaos; Gap-soo, the king’s eunuch (JUNG Jae-young), must protect the king; and a hired murderer (JO Jung-suk) has to assassinate the king.

    ABOUT The word ‘Yeogrin’, is referring to the scale under a dragon’s chin that grew in the wrong direction, which roots from a Korean myth. It implies to the king’s wrath or the king’s weakness when he gets angry. It was told that whoever touches ‘Yeogrin’ will arouse the dragon’s anger and die. This is LEE Jae-gyu’s debute work in silver screens who had directed mostly TV dramas such as Damo and Beethoven Virus. Set in the late Joseon Dynasty, born as the son of Sadoseja (the Tragic Prince), Jeongjo finally takes the royal throne after much hardships but his ‘Yeogrin’ is disturbed. As HYUN Bin’s (Late Autumn [2010], Come Rain, Come Shine [2011]) first piece since his discharge from the military service, expectations for this movie has been rising as one of the greatest productions in 2014. HYUN makes an attempt at his fist historical drama as Jeongjo; one of the three men whose destinies are entwined where one man must kill, one must live, and the last must help the other to survive. The all-star cast with JUNG Jae-young, JO Jung-suk, PARK Sung-woong and JUNG Eun-chae is also something to look forward to.
    : YOON Jong-bin | Starring: HA Jung-woo, GANG Dong-won, LEE Geung-young, LEE Sung-min | Genre: Historical Action Drama | Production Cost: KRW 13 billion | Production: Moonlight Production | Distribution: Showbox/Mediaplex
    STORY KUNDO: Age of the Rampant tells about the time of King Cheoljong when the tyranny of corrupted officials was at its highest. ‘Jo-yoon’ (GANG Dong-won) had a crooked mind since his childhood because he was born to a concubine of an extremely rich noble in Naju, Jeollanam-do province. On the other hand, a butcher named ‘Dolmuchi’ (HA Jung-woo) becomes a member of a group of righteous outlaws. He pledges a revenge on ‘Jo-yoon’ and begins to take actions of his owns.

    ABOUT Literally meaning ‘a group of robbers’, KUNDO: Age of the Rampant is a period action drama based on the real story about a gang of thieves that fought against the ruling class. It was a real active entity in 1895, when Cheoljong was seated in the throne during Joseon Dynasty. The film depicts confrontations between the thieves - ‘KUNDO’, who are fighting in an attempt to suppress corrupted officials - and the government army. Director YOON Jong-bin takes a challenge at a historical drama with this film after The Unforgiven (2009), Beastie Boys: The Moonlight Of Seoul (2000) and Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2011). His close friend, HA Jung-woo will act as an exceedingly masculine, bald-headed ‘Dolmuchi’ and the star of Secret Reunion (2009) and Woochi (2009), GANG Dong-won will play the villain, ‘Jo-yoon’. The fierce acting joust of the two big celebrities is already drawing much attention while adding to the line-up of stars are LEE Sung-min, CHO Jin-woong, MA Dong-seok, JUNG Man-sik and KIM Sung-kyun.
    Director: KIM Han-min | Starring: CHOI Min-shik, RYU Seung-ryong, CHO Jin-woong, KIM Myung-kon | Genre: Historical Action Drama | Production Cost: KRW 15 billion | Production: Big Stone Pictures | Distribution: CJ Entertainment
    STORY This new film focusing on the life of General YI Sun-shin (CHOI Min-shik), also called as Korea’s Admiral Nelson, revives one of the greatest sea wars in our history, ‘Myeongryang’. In 1597, General YI led a heroic victory against Japan with just 12 ships against 330 vessels.

    ABOUT KIM Han-min, recently gaining recognition as a maker of blockbusters after the successes of Paradise Murdered (2007) (2.25 million viewers) and War of the Arrows (2011) (7.47 million viewers), is leading this production as his fourth featured film. KIM describes not only the colossal scale of war scenes but also the details of YI Sun-shin’s humane aspects. “I tried my best to represent YI Sun-shin’s inner side as well as the heroic image. I acted with a sense of duty so as not to degrade his honor,” said CHOI  (Old Boy [2003] and I saw the Devil [2010]). It is interesting to see RYU Seung-ryong changing his character from a Chinese commander ‘Jushinta’ in War of the Arrows, to a Japanese commander, Gurujima. In addition, many actors of younger and older generations - including KIM Myung-kon, JIN Goo, GWON Yool, KIM Tae-hun and LEE Jung-hyun - will perform the supporting roles.
    Big 4, THE PIRATES (Working Title)
    : LEE Seok-hoon | Starring: KIM Nam-gil, SON Ye-jin, YOO Hae-jin, LEE Geung-young | Genre: Historical Action Drama | Production Cost: KRW 15 billion | Production: Harimao Pictures | Distribution: Lotte Entertainment
    STORY By accident, the state seal that represents Joseon’s legitimacy was swallowed by a whale. In desperation, the country’s noblemen report to the king that some pirates have stolen the seal. On the verge of being terminated if they don’t find the state stamp in ten days, bandits and pirates go out to the vast ocean to find the whale.

    ABOUT This marine adventure film, The Pirates, is said to be the Korean version of Pirates of the Caribbean series. LEE Seok-hoon, who previously made See You after School (2005) and Dancing Queen (2011), is directing the screenplay written by CHEON Seong-il, who wrote for My Girlfriend is an Agent (2007) and a Korean TV series The Slave Hunters. KIM Nam-gil will play the sexy and off-the-wall Captain ‘JANG Sa-jung’ to portray a similar character to Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. KIM Nam-gil began his acting career on TV drama series Bad Boy and The Great Queen Seondeok. SON Ye-jin (Blood and Ties [2012] and The Tower [2012]) has transformed her character to appear as a reticent and charismatic female pirate, ‘Yeo-wol’. As in other production, The Pirates also boasts of its solid team of supporting actors with YOO Hae-jin, LEE Geung-young, KIM Tae-woo, PARK Cheol-min and SIN Jeong-geun.
    By TAE Sang-joon
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