I had written some comments about Korean movies I had watched in 2018 under the request (?) of kooriyuki 😅. Personally, I felt many of them were not worth watching, as I often lost patience in watching mid-way through the movie. If I were to recommend movies from this list, probably it will be Fengshui and Dark Figure of Crime.
Be with You (Son Ye-jin, So Ji-sub)
This movie is a remake of a 2004 Japanese movie of the same title, and based on the novel by Takuji Ichikawa. The story was about a mother who had passed away a year ago returning to her husband and son during the rainy season, which was later revealed that the mother had transgressed into the future when she had an accident at 21-year-old. Remember to prepare at least a packet of tissue as this touching story will make you cry!
Monstrum (Kim Myung-min, Kim In-kwon, Lee Hye-ri and Choi Woo-shik)
A movie about plague in Joseon as well as a mysterious creature roaming around eating people during the reign of Jung-jong of Joseon. It was told that Yeonsangun of Joseon had a secret chamber collecting various kinds of beasts from all around the world, and the breeder released one of the beast (which did look cute when small) when all beasts were to be killed following the fall of Yeonsangun. This released beast grew up and carried the disease causing the plague, as well as eating everything in its way. Ended up the leads had to blow up the secret chamber to kill the beast, but somehow the protagonist still can survive the blast. The CG of the beast looked quite real but hideous due to the “skin disease” all around its body.
Fengshui (Cho Seung-woo, Ji Sung, Kim Sung-kyun, Baek Yoon-sik and Moon Chae-won)
A movie about how a fengshui (or pungsu in Korean) expert can determine which land can bring luck and fortune to the family, and how people around him fought to seek land to allow them to become the king. The story was rather interesting to have the history of late Joseon (the period with Crown prince Hyomyeong, Hun-jong and Heungseon Daewongun) brilliantly weaved with the fengshui concepts, which kind of “logically” explained for the fate of the rulers during that period. Well, from the ending of the movie, it seemed that it was better to learn how to read fengshui to enhance your survival in the turbulent times rather than to depend on ancestors’ burial site to be of good fengshui.
The Soul-mate (Ma Dong-seok, Kim Young-kwang and Lee Yoo-young)
The story about a police officer who landed in coma due to his corrupted supervisor, and how he convinced a judo instructor, the only one who could see his soul, to investigate his case and to take care of his pregnant girlfriend. The movie is easy to watch, but do not expect much funny scenes although this movie is classified as comedy-drama film.
The Negotiation (Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin)
The movie was about a negotiator trying to persuade an arms dealer, who kidnapped several Koreans in Bangkok, to release the victims. Through the negotiation process, the arms dealer slowly revealed evidence of corruptions among the higher authorities. It was later revealed that kidnapping actually occurred in South Korea and not Bangkok, and the main aim of the arms dealer was to kill the corrupted officials who had silenced his sister. Overall, I feel that there is not much tension during their negotiation process, mainly following the order of threat and then revelation. However, the ending of the movie was an unexpected twist, which at least allow this movie to have something memorable.
Dark Figure of Crime (Kim Yoon-seok and Ju Ji-hoon)
A crime story about how a police officer relentlessly sought evidence and the truth after a murderer confessed to committing 7 murders where bodies were not found. It was a psychological battle between the police officer and the murderer, as confessions made by the murderer was a mixture of truths and lies. According to the movie, the story was based on true case, which the murderer committed suicide in the prison after being sentenced to life imprisonment, while the police officer was still actively looking for the missing individuals who were possibly already killed by this murderer. The movie was actually quite interesting to watch the battle between the 2 leads in terms of wits and psychology.
Rampant (Hyun Bin and Jang Dong-gun)
The Prince of Joseon returned from the Qing Empire following the death of his brother, the Crown Prince, only to find a virus turning people into zombies spreading in Joseon. Although he had no wish to be the King, the Prince still fought against the zombies to protect the people, only to find out the zombies were caused by the Minister of Military as his plan to be the king. Overall, I find the story of this movie to be quite weak, and kind of over-emphasizing on the heroic acts of the Prince. To be honest, it was really unbelievable that the Prince did not get bitten by the zombies even once when there were so many times he had been surrounded by numerous zombies. Nevertheless, the action scenes were still quite exciting, so probably we can just watch the movie with no question asked.
The Villagers (Ma Dong-seok, Kim Sae-ron, Lee Sang-yeob)
A physical education teacher assigned to a high school in a small town decided to help a student whose best friend strangely disappeared, only to reveal the mayor candidate of the small town was responsible for using underage for sexual activites, as well as the death of the student’s best friend. A typical story about illegal activities committed by officials in rural areas, and another film whereby Ma Dong-seok had to fight a whole bunch of gangsters. There were some plot twists in the movie, but overall the movie was not that interesting.
Unstoppable (Ma Dong-seok and Song Ji-hyo)
A story about a man in debt frantically went around to save his kidnapped wife, although the psychopathic kidnapper had given him a lot of money to “buy” his wife. This psychopath actually kidnapped women, performed plastic surgery on them to change their facial appearance and used them as sexual slaves. The story had quite a unique setting, with a psychopath strongly believing he could buy anything with money, including other’s wives. However, the tempo of the movie was a slow as compared to the urgency for the man to save his wife that I find the movie better to be watched at 2X. Another Ma Dong-seok movie where you can see him saving the day by beating up a big group of bad guys.