Blog Archives

Cold Eyes (2013)

Cold Eyes is the Korean remake of the popular Hong Kong cops-and-robbers thriller Eye in the Sky from 2007. Although it is harsher and quicker paced, comparisons between the two versions are inevitable, as the remake offers many resemblances to the original version, with quite a few scenes reshot only slightly differently (and not to mention a Simon Yam cameo appearance).

The story follows an elite police taskforce in Seoul which uses surveillance and undercover tactics as its modus operandi … (read more)

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Reign of Assassins (2010)

Sometimes the overwhelming success of a particular genre film can have an unfortunate effect on the movies following it. I’m talking here about Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which has become so popular and awarded since its release in 2000 that it’s now the gold standard for martial arts films. It has allowed lazy film publicists, uninformed film reviewers and the general public to label a new kung fu / martial arts film as simply being not as good, or … (read more)

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The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008)

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Not having seen Kim Jee-Woon’s previous films, but remembering that other Heroic reviewers are big fans (see A Bittersweet Life, A Tale of Two Sisters and The Foul King), I jumped at the chance to go and see it. The frenetic, action-packed trailer had caught my attention, too, reminding me of Tears of the Black Tiger with an ensemble cast and a Leone-style desert setting.

At the beginning of the film, Chang-yi (Lee Byung-heon) is hired to steal … (read more)

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MUSA: The Warrior (2001)

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Five years of planning and production, a seven million dollar budget, and three hundred staff shooting over five months travelling ten thousand kilometres across the Chinese continent. It is unfortunate that these figures speak to me (and probably you) more than the names involved with the production of MUSA: The Warrior. This film is the result of an amazing creative process, with the time and effort invested clearly displayed on screen.

This was made on a seven million dollar … (read more)

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A Moment To Remember (2004)

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This is one for the girls, and no mistake. If you don’t end up sobbing like a baby some way through the film, then you’re a better man than I. Err, make that “a better woman”. This is a quintessential weepie romance, with all the necessary attributes.

First up, Su-jin is a little unsure of herself, and slightly dippy. That makes her a perfect romantic heroine, since the audience (ie women) can see themselves in her. Son plays her role … (read more)

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Sad Movie (2005)

Don’t say the title didn’t warn you. Provided you are willing to give yourself over to this shamelessly manipulative fluff, you’re in for a very emotional experience indeed. But, surprisingly, even if you’re too cynical to take it seriously (and for that you wouldn’t need to be very cynical at all, to be honest) there’s still much to love about Sad Movie.

I’ve heard once or twice from individuals better travelled than I that Koreans are the best looking … (read more)

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Phantom: The Submarine (1999)

As political anxiety concerning North Korea’s alleged nuclear weapons program increases in tempo with each new report on Kim Jong-il’s supposed love for the Friday the 13th movies (a logic which seems to be: passion for horror = bad taste = evil tyrant), the thematic situations presented in Phantom become all the more interesting. It is extremely tempting to follow in the story and characterisations an allegory for the North: the connection to Russia (as Stalinist allies), the numbering of … (read more)

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