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Brotherhood of War (Taegukgi) (2004)

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Brotherhood of War was the highest grossing film ever in Korea at the time of release and it is easy to see why. It’s is big. It has battle scenes of visceral intensity to rival Saving Private Ryan, soaring orchestral strings and seething crowd scenes that make Gone with the Wind look like an amateur, suburban theatre production. Even the steam coming off an idling locomotive looks epic.

The core of the film is the relationship of two brothers, … (read more)

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The Gingko Bed (1996)

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Before renewing their association quite emphatically with the hit blockbuster Shiri, director Kang Je-gyu and actor Han Seok-kyu made The Gingko Bed together, a special-effects driven fantasy-horror movie that made a splash at the local box office and a healthy contribution to Korea’s emerging commercial cinema. Since 1996 both Kang (Taegukgi) and Han (The President’s Last Bang) have become superstars of their professions, marking The Gingko Bed as a film of high interest to their … (read more)

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Shiri (1999)

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The reunification of the two Koreas is obviously something of great concern in South Korea, and Shiri drives this fact home. But don’t mistake me: this is not a dry political drama, or a slice of propaganda. This one is a compelling actioner that will have you clenching every muscle you possess, and maybe some of those on the person sitting next to you.

The plot is a simple one, dealing with double agents from North Korea and a dastardly … (read more)

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