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Korean War in Color

#1 | Movie Reviews

Korean War in Color
Sandwiched in the history books between the grand drama of World War II and the well-publicised turmoil of the Vietnam War, this was the forgotten war. This programme brings you a war-torn Korea in colour for the first time. Experience the terror, courage, blood and chaos that reigned from 1950 to 1953 as we chronicle a true picture of a horrific war in colour. Much of the footage included has never been seen before by the general public. This unique programme has pulled together recently de-classified footage, personal films and photographs of veterans who lived and breathed the horrors of the front line. In bearing witness to the death and destruction unleashed by both sides, we can understand more clearly the dangers, suffering and heroism that marked the first great confrontation of the Cold War.

Korean War in Color

Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil

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Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil
The story is not linked to the first part of the series. Instead, it focuses on a fictional explanation for the Ryanggang explosion in 2004, in which an unexplained mushroom cloud occurred in North Korea.

After reconnaissance satellites detect a large, three-stage Topol intercontinental ballistic missile carrying a nuclear weapon in North Korea, which can strike anywhere in the continental United States, a fictional United States President Adair T. Manning (Peter Coyote) orders a team of U.S. Navy SEALs to destroy the missile and the launch site. The team led by Lieutenant Robert James (Nicholas Gonzalez).

Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil

Fist of the warrior

#1 | Movie Reviews

Fist of the warrior
Korean-American martial arts actor Pak Ho-sung, who played “Liu Kang” in the first two MORTAL KOMBAT video games and was one of Jackie Chan’s main opponents in DRUNKEN MASTER 2 is finally getting to see one of his long-delayed indie action movies released to the public. I missed reporting on it earlier but back on February 10th, Lionsgate released writer-director Wayne Kennedy’s FIST OF THE WARRIOR to DVD in North America.

Fist of the warrior

Heaven's Soldiers

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Heaven's Soldiers
The film begins with high-level military leaders from both North and South Korea discussing the surrender of a North Korean 50 MT nuclear warhead (BiGeokJinCheonRyoe, Korean 비격진천뢰) in a secret underground development bunker near the DMZ. The warhead was secretly jointly-designed, but international pressure has forced North and South Korea to hand over the device and close the facility. North Korean officer Major Kang, displeased with the conciliation of the Koreas, rebels and steals the warhead with the help of several of his loyal soldiers, even killing some North Korean guards in the process. Due to the top-secret nature of the meeting, the leaders of both sides cannot request reinforcements to apprehend the officer, and instead dispatch a South Korean special forces platoon under the leadership of Major Jung-Woo Park, who was present at the meeting.

Heaven's Soldiers

Lady Vengeance

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Lady Vengeance
Lady Vengeance is the conclusion of South Korean director Park Chan-wook's "Revenge Trilogy." (The other two episodes: 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and 2003's Oldboy.) Over the span of three films, Chan-wook has examined many aspects of the concept of revenge, including the most lasting: consequences. For many movies, the act of retribution is the point of the film. For Chan-wook, it's the starting point for a larger tapestry.

Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae) has just been released from prison and is determined to exact revenge upon the man who put her there. Not only did jail steal years from her life, but Geum-ja was forced to give up her baby daughter for adoption. Now, calling in favors owed to her by other prisoners, she executes a complicated scheme that will re-unite her with her daughter and settle her score. Then she learns a terrible, and unexpected, truth. Revenge, while it may be just, turns out to be more bitter than sweet.

Lady Vengeance

The Warrior's Way

#1 | Movie Reviews

The Warrior's Way
Asian samurai Yang (Korean superstar Jang Dong-gun) has a change of heart after slaughtering his enemy's family, and spares a newborn child. On the run from his master, he heads to America, where he finds a beat-down town that is home to freaks, circus performers, an old drunk (Geoffrey Rush), and a knife-thrower (Kate Bosworth).

The Warrior's Way

The Eleventh Hour

#1 | Movie Reviews

The Eleventh Hour
If you can forgive John Lyde and Matthew Reese their lack of resources, then “The Eleventh Hour” is not a bad way to spend 90 minutes. It’s actually a very good action film, and had the duo been in possession of, say, 10% of your average Hollywood budget, they could have produced something special. Alas, the (lack of) budget is a major source of constraint for the duo, and so instead of a globe-hopping thriller about an ex-Navy SEAL who returns home shattered and broken, only to have his past come back to grab him by the throat and send him off on an assassination run, we instead have a film set in an unnamed Midwestern town where, it would appear, running gunfights that last the better part of the day don’t get reported.

The Eleventh Hour

Stone Cold

#1 | Movie Reviews

Stone Cold
Some movies have “features” that make it obvious when they were made. Stone Cold, a movie from 1991, pretty much follows the mold of eighties and early nineties action movies. It has the sex appeal, a simple plot, and violence that made movies of that time seem interesting to the majority of males. While it offers violence and sex appeal, it does have something of a story.

Stone Cold

Romantic Debtors

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Romantic Debtors
Given its title and the presence of top Korean goofball Lim Chang Jung, it should come as no surprise to learn that “Romantic Debtors” is a romantic comedy. Directed by Shin Keun Ho, the film also features popular actress Uhm Ji Won (with who he co-starred in “Scout”) as his love interest, in a rather unlikely tale about a bad tempered detective falling for a hard nosed debt collector – surely a sign that genre scriptwriters are having to look pretty far afield to come up with new ideas for wacky mismatched couples.

Lim Chang Jung (“Sex is Zero”) plays Bang, a homicide cop who has unfortunately landed himself up to his neck in debt after being let down by a friend. Chasing him up with irate calls every half hour demanding that he catches up on his payments is the hot-headed and frequently foul-mouthed Mu Ryeong (Uhm Ji Won, who also recently appeared in the bawdy comedy “Foxy Festival”), who spends her days yelling down the phone at customers. Love seems to be in the air after the two meet at the police station, though sparks of the wrong kind are soon flying once he realises that she is in fact the harridan who has been making his life a misery.

Romantic Debtors

My Sassy Girl 2

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My Sassy Girl 2
Given that the original Korean romantic comedy “My Sassy Girl” was such a phenomenal and influential hit back in 2001, the idea of a sequel probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. However, “My Sassy Girl 2” has come a little from leftfield, arriving nearly a decade later and shifting the action from Korea to China, with a Hong Kong director in Joe Ma (“The Lion Roars”) and an all new cast headed by Lynn Xiong (“Ip Man”), Singaporean idol Leon Jay Williams (recently in the Stephen Chow produced “Jump”), Mainland TV show host He Jiong, gorgeous Taiwanese actress Abby Fung, and popular Hong Kong TVB actor Bosco Wong (“I Love Hong Kong”). Although the film has no real links to its predecessor, it does see the return of writers Choi Seok Min and Kim Ho Sik, who ensure that it sticks to similar themes and delivers the same brand of aggressive, comic courting.

My Sassy Girl 2

Volcano High

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Volcano High
This year is the 108th anniversary of the Korean high School WaSanGo (Volcano High). Principal hides himself with Secret Manuscript which every WaSanGo student wants to take from principal...

Volcano High

Haunters

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Haunters
“Haunters” offers a twist on the usual superhero tale, with Korean stars Kang Dong Won (“Secret Reunion”) and Ko Su (“White Night”) as two troubled men blessed with special powers facing off against each other in a deadly battle. The film marks the debut of Kim Min Suk, who previously scripted and worked as an assistant on director Kim Jee Woon’s wonderful kimchi Western “The Good, The Bad, The Weird”. Combining action, drama and a thoughtful exploration of what can turn a man into a monster, the film was a major commercial hit in Korea, holding onto the top box office spot for an impressive two weeks.

The film begins following Cho (Kang Dong Won, in his last film role before carrying out his army service), a young one legged man, twisted by a childhood of abuse, his parents having tried to kill him due to his having odd and terrifying mind control powers. Barely considering himself human, Cho keeps away from any kind of social contact, living by manipulating others with his psychic abilities. His quiet life comes crashing down when his path crosses with Kyu Nam (Ko Su), a simple though kind hearted man working in a pawn shop he tries to rob, who for some reason seems unaffected by his powers. After the failed heist results in the gruesome death of Kyu Nam’s father figure pawn shop owner (Byun Hee Bong, also in thriller “The Game”), he sets about bringing Cho down and making him pay for his crimes.

Haunters

Connors' War

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Connors' War
I'm not the biggest fan of straight-to-DVD movies. From past experiences, I can safely say that 9.9 times out of 10 if it was a straight-to-DVD release, it will be a bad movie (that .1 being Equilibrium). So of course it surprises me to say this, but Connors' War actually wasn't that bad. In fact, it was almost good.

Connors' War

The Accidental Spy

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The Accidental Spy
A news reporter covers a story in Turkey where many people have mysteriously died, seemingly from pneumonia. In Hong Kong, Buck Yuen works as an exercise equipment salesman. After an unsuccessful day at work, he heads out through the shopping mall and intuitively knows that a robbery is about to take place. Buck thwarts the robbers plans, relieving them of the money they have stolen and returning it to the police. Later, a stranger approaches Buck, eager to speak the hero who foiled the robbery. The stranger goes by the name of Manny Liu and he tells Buck that he is rounding up several men of Buck's age and description, one of whom could be the son of a wealthy Korean man.

The Accidental Spy

Time

#1 | Movie Reviews

Time
Haunting and disturbing, Time is the kind of motion picture that gets under your skin and doesn't let go. It lingers long after the final credits have rolled and, for those who see it with friends, it will provoke endless post-movie discussions. A meditation on identity and how our physical appearance relates to who we are, Time is the product of the fertile creative mind of controversial (some love him, some despise him) South Korean director Kim Ki-duk. Like Kim's previously seen international efforts (Spring Summer Fall Winter...and Spring, 3-Iron), this one takes a seemingly straightforward storyline and twists it to devastating effect during the final act. The result is a production of intellectual and emotional power. It's nowhere close to conventional and aptly fits the term "challenging."

Time