Going by the Book (2007)

Genre: Comedy, Crime














Going by the Book (Bareuge salja) is yet another lesser known quality product of South Korea. Directed by Hee-chan Ra, who despite being almost unheard of before managed to secure box office success locally for his first feature film.

I'll allow myself to quote a bit from Wiki:

Jung Do-man (Jae-yeong Jeong) is a low-ranking traffic cop whose tendency to do things "by the book" sometimes gets him in trouble, such as when he pulls over his new boss, newly instated police chief Lee Seung-man (Byung-ho Son), and issues him with a traffic ticket.


Though surprised and annoyed by the unexpected fine, the police chief has bigger problems; the town of Sampo has been hit by a string of bank robberies, and to reassure the public he decides to carry out a realistic drill which will demonstrate the police force's capability. Do-man is chosen to act out the part of the bank robber, but with his usual fastidious attention to detail he sets out to commit the perfect crime.

What police chief thought would make for an easy PR trick for hungry public eyes, turns out to be quite an opposite.


And what I though would be a generic comedy, turns out to be actually funny and really enjoyable movie. A remake as I recently learned of a Japanese movie Bang! (2001) that I personally haven't seen or heard before.

It managed to squeeze out of me a lot of good hearted laughs, while keeping the flow of story interesting and engaging. While it's a comedy, it's not a wacky one, and offers quite a number of serious scenes.

What can I say, I really enjoyed it. Good camera work, great performances and most important great humor. Not everyone will find it to their humor taste, but those who do, will definitely have a great time.

DVD Special Edition from Amazon

Castaway on the Moon (2009)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance














Castaway on the Moon (Kimssi pyoryugi) was a positive surprise to me when I saw it, coming from quite unknown director Hey-jun Lee for whom this movies so far is the biggest and most recognized work that gathered some amount of awards in Asian region.

A man burdened by debts, failed relationships and job that drains him has had enough. He makes suicide attempt jumping from the bridge into river Han. But by accident he survives and wakes up being washed upon a shore of small uninhabited island in the midst of river. Finding himself in silly situation, where civilization is all around him, yet he cannot escape. He tries to find a way to leave the island and still is determined to end his life, but slowly as he adjusts to peaceful rhythm of the island, his resolve changes. He finds reasons to continue.

 A girl, that had some kind of traumatic experience earlier in her life, hiding behind her computer screen, pretending on the internet to be someone else, someone beautiful, successful and happy, wanting to be appreciated by people she's never seen. Living secluded in her crammed room, never going out. The only thing that brings genuine happiness to her is pictures of the moon, that she takes during the night, from her window. "You cannot be lonely in a place where there is no one around." is what moon represents to her. One time she points her camera at the island and sees a man, and large letters carved in sand spelling - HELP.

While obviously those of you who watch a lot of movies, will make a connection to famous movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks, title and even the plot outlines are very similar. You might even think it's a remake of said movie with added a bit of Korean twist, but I assure you it's not. It's genuinely good movie able to stand on it's own.


A touching story of two troubled people who by chance make a connection. Both are taking a break from the outside world. Both are damaged in their own ways. And while dealing with hard issues, it's essentially a positive movie that emphasizes importance of hope. To call it simply a love story would do no justice for it attempts to expand on many other matter.

Essentially this movie is two actor show (Jae-yeong Jeong & Ryeowon Jung) as we see only them for most part of the movie, but what a great job they did, believable and enjoyable performances, supported by excellent cinematography and enhanced by directors skillful ability to bring out raw emotions from the viewers.

Highly recommended. Black bean noodles.

Blu-ray from Amazon
DVD (R3) from YesAsia

Guns and Talks (2001)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama














Guns and Talks (Killerdeului suda) is action comedy from 2001, directed and written by Jin Jang, who also produced and wrote Welcome to Dongmakgol.

Story about freshly formed group of contract killers in Seoul, who are just starting to make their own name in the business. They complete the task of killing in any way client requests to. This group consists of two brothers, Sang-yeon (Hyeon-jun Shin) and Ha-yeon (Bin Won), and two of their friends Jae-yeong (Jae-yeong Jeong)  and Jung-woo (Ha-kyun Shin).

Business is going well, until one day they have to do a high risk job, while discovering that someones onto them.

While it's a movie about killers, it's more of a light comedy about inner relationships in the group with action parts, and some drama mixed in. Whats great is that you can observe still young actors who few years later would become some of the top stars in Korea, like Bin Won, known for The Man from Nowhere and Mother for whom Guns and Talks was debut movie.

Entertaining flick thats worth a watch. 

DVD from Amazon

Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)

Genre: War, Drama, Comedy














Welcome to Dongmakgol (Welkkeom tu Dongmakgol ) is another great debut from new generation of Korean directors. It went to be 4th highest grossing South Korean movie of all time, and was official entry for best foreign language movie of 2005 Academy Awards. So far it's directors Kwang-Hyun Park only movie, currently his new project is in casting stage, and is something to keep an eye for.


Movies is set during Korean War of 1950. Soldiers from both sides of once united country and American plane pilot find themselves in a strange village among the mountains, whose inhabitants live hermit lifestyle unaware of what is happening in world around them. They get involved in villages life with help of a really odd girl who lives there. Soon however leisure time ends, and dangers of war are approaching this haven of peace.

It's comical and tragic story, showing how senseless the war is. How easy it is for friends to become enemies, and enemies become friends.

Great cast, beautiful cinematography and touching story. A must see.

DVD from Amazon.
OST from YesAsia.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller














As a final movie of Chan-wook Park's Vengeance trilogy (movies are not connected by plot, only by theme, so viewing order is not important!), Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chinjeolhan geumjassi) is likely the darkest one.

After thirteen and half years in prison for kidnapping and murdering boy, a crime she did not commit, Geum-ja Lee (Yeong-ae Lee) is released. With help of her former inmates from prison she plots her gruesome revenge against real killer, kindergarden English teacher Mr. Baek (played by Choi Min-sik).



Movie highly praised for it's spectacular cinematography.

There is Director Cut of this movie called "Fade to Black and White version", where colors slowly fade to black and white as the movie progresses, as if adopting to the general mood of it's characters, really enhancing experience. In west it can be found on Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray.


A must see for any Korean movie fan!


Blu-ray | DVD
Vengeance trilogy Blu-ray from Amazon.