Bloody Ties (sa-saeng-gyeol-dan)
Busan’s on the verge of disaster, again, but not of the natural variety. Lee Sang-do (Ryu Seung-beom) supplies what seems like the entire Busan elite (and then some) with crystal meth to cope with problems stemming from an economic depression. Narcotics Lieutenant Do (Hwang Jeong-min) persuades Lee to join forces, or spend two years in lock-up, and the two embark on a mission to quash the drug epidemic.
Unfortunately, the scheme first released fails miserably, so the district attorney leads the investigation, taking all the credit for the $10 million drug bust and the public gratitude that comes with it. To make matters worse, Do is suspended and Lee is arrested, leaving the partnership in shambles and the city at the hands of the merciless gangster Jang Chul (Lee Do-gyong).
Do, seeking retribution for his slain partner by Jang Chul’s hands, and Lee, motivated by dreams of a vast fortune, join forces once more to take down Jang Chul and his evil empire. Lee works his way into Jang Chul’s drug op eration, with backing from Lt. Do, to gain information on the organization. The two play a dangerous game with men who don’t take betrayal lightly, seemingly always on the line between safety and disaster.
First released in 2006, the movie has some older traits to it. The idea of a drug-running gangster pitted against a cop who’s willing to pull out all the stops to gain victory is not original. “Average” is the best rating it can be given. It just doesn’t have the plot or acting to hold the viewer’s attention and leave them on the edge of their seat wanting more. If you are ever looking for something to watch while multitasking, then this is the choice for you. Otherwise, leave it on the shelf at the store and pick up another film to enjoy.
May Story (SOON-JI)
A quaint countryside, seemingly secluded from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Korea, serves as the setting for this independent feeling drama. Soon-ji (Jang Se-yoon) portrays an ailing female reeling from her personal issues spanning her entire life. She operates a restaurant, but constantly faces judgment from locals, mostly wives, for her provocative appearance and uncanny ability to wrap local men around her fingers. Soon-ji lives a clearly miserable life, but a shy knight-in-shining-armor dedicates almost every passing second assisting her to obtain an enjoyable life. Local police officer, Jeong Soon-kyeong (Yang Im-ho), is infatuated with Soon-ji, but she cannot relate to the young courtesan and his ways.
While working late, three young men are dismissed from the restaurant, but Soon-ji personally delivers them a meal when they settle nearby. Here enters the stereotypical bad-boy Jja-goo (Kim Yoon-seong), who Soon-ji relates to like none other. Jja-goo has deep personal issues, which immedi ately unite the two through a dark emotional attraction.The supernatural connection leads Soon-ji to deceive her courtesan Soon-kyeong and yield to Jja-goo’s influence to raid the police station’s arsenal. Jja-goo passionate dedicates to martyr himself in memory of those killed in the famous May 18th massacre in Gwangju in South Korea’s democratic youth. Jja-goo, his buddies and live ammunition depart for Gwangju to prove their point. Par ticipating in the uprising introduces Soon-ji to the void in her life among the shadows and demons she resides with.
Although entertaining, certain flaws depreciate the movie’s values.Acting and scenery were quite up to par, but the movie did not have the “extrapunch” of great movies. No computer graphics were needed to convey the dramatic sways due to excellent camera angles and cuts to convey the film’s aura. The story comes together at the finale, but misunderstandings and confusion can be expected throughout the build-up to a fitting climax. “May Story” won’t win major awards at independent film festivals, but will turn some heads with an interesting spin, which can be dually entertaining and educational.Tinkling with these issues will elevate writer/director Park Kwang-man’s status and ability to produce excellent movies in the future.