Golden Job (2018)

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Chin Kar Lok is one of those hard yakka performers the Hong Kong and Chinese film industries have relied on over the years and I have a lot of time for his work. A stunt veteran and background character for much of the 80s and 90s (e.g. Millionaires Express) with an occasional lead role (e.g. The Scorpion King), for the last decade or so he has been more of a character actor (e.g. Cold War). He only … (read more)

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Rampant (2018)

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South Korea’s zombie train rolls on, as the undead plague continues to spread through pop culture. After Train to Busan went off like box office gangbusters, others were quick to start piling on the potential for a juicy slab of the screen market. Take for instance the hit Netflix series Kingdom, wherein Kim Eun-hee adapted the webcomic Kingdom of the Gods she helped create and which is a strong contender for the genesis of the South Korean strain of … (read more)

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The Swordsman (2020)

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Brisbane has been less impacted by the current pandemic than some other state capitals in Australia, so with COVID concerns ever-present, the Sunshine State leg of KOFFIA was able to go ahead. Thus, with a bellyful of food from one of the many Korean restaurants that have sprung up in the city over the past decade or so, I found myself in a well-attended (given the circumstances) cinema on a Saturday evening to watch historical action/drama The Swordsman.

After … (read more)

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Something In The Rain

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

TV drama – 16 episodes

This is the hair shirt and barbed wire pants of K-drama – if you can get through all 16 episodes, you’re a better person than me.

The first kazoo in the dramatic symphony comes early on, when our heroine, after being cruelly dumped by her boyfriend, says plaintively “Am I so unattractive?” I’m sorry sister, but no amount of baggy clothing can convince us that you don’t have men lined … (read more)

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Itaewon Class

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

TV Series – 16 episodes

I really didn’t want to love this so much. I didn’t even want to watch it. Let me explain…

It started with a song. I’d never liked Park Seo-jun, but a friend recommended the series, so I finally watched the ad. And man, that song is powerful – in about 30 seconds it had me half-convinced I wanted to start a bar and take over the world.

So I started … (read more)

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Love In The Moonlight

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

TV series, 18 episodes

A historical entry in the “I fell in love with my eunuch” category, lifted above the ordinary by the quality of the whole cast. Kim Yoo-Jeong plays Hong Ra-on (or Hong Sam-nom, as a male), the young woman who ends up working in the palace as a eunuch (long story), while Park Bo-gum plays crown prince Lee Yeong, heir to the Joseon throne, who becomes intrigued with Hong Sam-nom while still … (read more)

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Chasing the Dragon (2017)

To begin, an admission. I have not seen many Wong Jing films. Not even some of his biggest hits, such as God of Gamblers. Some of his work has flickered across my retinas, but given the fellow’s torrential output over the decades I may as well have folded before even picking up the cards. I know him more by reputation; a film-maker chasing the broadest and basest of cinematic trends. Jackie Chan’s classics are hardly high-brow, but City Hunter(read more)

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Pandora (2016)

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

Prepare to be gruelled. This film will take every tender feeling you possess and run them through the mincer, then stomp on the bits.

The hero of the story is Jae Hyeok, brought to life by the incredibly talented Kim Nam Gil. This is not the sex-incarnate Kim Nam Gil of Bad Guy, or the lovable doofus turned responsible doctor of Live Up To Your Name, or the arse-kicking priest of Fiery Priest. No, this … (read more)

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