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Written by Funn Lim

"The movie failed to live up to my expectation because I expected so much more but I did end up having a better understanding of the Korean cinema as this movie introduced me to some wonderfully gifted actors and sealed my adulation for Jang Dong Gun whom now I believe to be one of the finest actors I have ever seen."

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!




Title Deciphered
Chingoo or maybe the spelling is Chingu, in Korean means Friend which is also the international title.

Released In
2001

Language
I got the DVD version with one DVD for the movie and the other DVD for the Making of and interviews. The movie is in Korean but in its local dialect I think with English subtitles. How accurate is the English subtitles I do not know but I believe some words may have been inappropriately translated since some sentences do not make sense. However overall the subtitles are of very high quality for the fact that there are no grammatical errors that I have often seen in the Malaysian version of other series and movies. The other DVD did not have any translation so I could only guess what they're were all saying about the movie. It is funny that the DVD has Korean for Korean, Korean for children and Korean for foreigner and yet one standard English for all others.

Directed & Written by
Kwak Kyung-Taek

Cast - Character
Yoo Oh-seong .... Joon-suk
Jang Dong-Gun .... Dong-su
Seo Tae-hwa .... Sang-taek
Jeong Un-taek .... Jeong-ho
Kim Bo-kyeong .... Jin-seok

Summary
Taken from IMDB.com

In 5 days, 1 million people have flocked into theatres all over Korea to watch the blockbusting hit "Friend", making it the fastest movie ever in Korea to hit that mark. The previous record holder, "JSA", took three times as long to attract 1 million audiences into the theatres.

Starring Jang Dong-Gun, the heir-apparent of multi-award-winning actor Han Seok-Gyu, "Friend" is a story about 4 childhood friends, whose friendships turned sour as life forces them to go their own separate ways.

In the story of "Friend," despite their different family backgrounds, four friends grew up together in the wearisome years of the 70s. But as time goes by, each of them takes different life paths. After enrolling in college, Sang-taek and Joong-ho return to visit Dong-su (Jang Dong-gun) and Joon-suk (Yoo Oh-seong), only to find one of them in jail and the other on drugs. Slowly life take difficult turns where friends become rivals in the crime world...

The Story
The summary taken from IMDB.com is a bit misleading. In fact the summary printed at the back of the DVD is also misleading because in essence it is a story about 4 good friends growing up in an crime prone area filled with drugs, gangsters and really morbid looking places. But that's where the accuracy stops. 2 friends became enemies due to opposite allegiance to respective gangs or rather mob bosses whilst 1 escaped the tragedy by being the best student in the school and another a practical joker. Not all became rivals in crime world and even the so called rivals aren't really rivals. Maybe the story must be told from my point of view.

This movie is basically about the 4 phases of these 4 boys' lives, or to be more accurate 3 boys' lives, 13, 18, 21 and 27 years old since the 4th boy is merely the fill in friend to make up the number 4.

4 childhood friends with different personalities grew up during the 70s. The story starts in 1976.

Joon Suk was the son of a local powerful mobster or gangster and was destined for a life of violence as he himself was the best fighter in school. He was seen as the protector or big brother.

Dong Su was the 2nd in command who became Joon Suk's friend after Joon Suk saved him from some bullies. He was the son of a mortician but he was ashamed of his father's occupation and his lack of wealth.

Sang taek was the closest to Joon suk and is essentially a nice boy who studied very hard to ensure a bright future. He would seem out of place being friends with Joon Suk and Dong Su but he was. Quiet in personality and an introvert, he was often protected by the big brother like Joon Suk.

Jeong ho was the funny guy in the group. His mother was always out working and so he often spent time alone in the house. Also the one who was most curious about girls and was the life wire of the group.

Of all 4, Dong Su seems the least closest to everybody.

Skip to a few years later and we see them as rebellious 18 year olds on the merge of being a man with very violent teachers. Anyway Joon suk became the most feared gangster in the school whilst Dong su became his right hand man, the 2nd most feared. Sang taek was well on his way to gaining an entry in university whilst Jeong ho is as playful and as curious about women as ever. But Dong su became very disattisfied with Joon Suk when he found out Joon Suk gave his woman, a young girl who part times as a singer in her group, Rainbow called Jin seok to Sang Taek as a gesture of friendship. Sang taek didn't do much with her since he was very shy but he did kissed her. Dong su began to question Joon Suks friendship with him. Anyhow during one time after being badly beaten by a rather violent teacher for not doing their homework, Joon suk walked out of school together with Dong su. Whilst out watching a movie with Sang taek, Sang taek was ambushed by a bunch of wannabe gangster because he once protected the honour of Jin Seok at some skating ring, and subsequently Joon Suk and Dong su helped beat them off. But at the cinema nobody helped Sang taek, and Dong Su and Joon Suk realised how much they're hated when the entire school ganged up to beat them. Back in school, Dong su became very angry that he went to school destroying the windows and threatening bodily harm to anyone who is going to cross his path again whilst Sang taek feeling guilty that he was the cause of the whole mess offered to Joon Suk to run away to Seoul but Joon Suk talked some sense into him and advised Sang taek to pursue his studies and let Joon suk go his own path which he knew will be a path of crime.

Zoom to several years later and this time they were all 21 years old. Sang taek returns to his hometown as a university student. There he met again Jeong ho who now is still the joker but had distanced himself somewhat from his other two good friends. To Sang taek's disappointment, he found out Joon Suk married Jin Seok, worked for a violent and despicable gangster and became a drug addict whilst Dong Su trying to prove to the gangster world that he can be a gangster was spending his time in jail for an unspecified crime. Joon Suk asked Sang taek to promise him that if he ever fails Sang taek will be there for him and Sang taek promised him. It was due to Sang taek't return that Joon suk decided to break away from the current despicable mobster and went to work for his father's former right hand man.

Dong su by then was out of prison and he met again with Joon suk when Joon suk's father died and Dong Su's father was the one who cleaned his father's body. Joon suk was grateful to Dong su and that was perhaps their last friendly banter where Dong su had some heart to heart talk with Joon suk and that Dong su was going to work for Joon suk's former boss. Joon suk knew they would be rivals one day and Dong su walked away as Joon suk saw the back of his good friend for one last time until several years later when all are in their early 30s from my calculation.

Zoom to present time, all of them have already grown up and all in early 20s. Sang taek returns and is doing his PhD. He meets again with Jeong ho who is getting married and he finds Joon suk now his boss' right hand man and free of drugs. But Dong su's boss is gaining power and Dong su is doing all his dirty work. Dong su now is not the former Dong su; he is scary, menacing and he refuses to see Sang taek. One time he was attacked and Dong Su thought it was on Joon suk's order. So Dong su went all the way out to kill most of the rival members of Jin suk's gang. Jin suk remembering how Dong su was his friend and how his father helped with his father's funeral tried to give Dong su one last chance to leave the country but Dong su flatly and arrogantly refused. When Joon suk left, Dong su began to remember Sang taek and his old childhood friends and so he was on his way out to see Sang taek at the airport when he was brutally stabbed to death on Joon Suk's order. Joon suk fled the country and met up with Jin Seok again.

Then zoom to them all being 27 years old. During those years of exile Joon suk was ridden with guilt over the fact that he killed his good friend despite the fact that Dong su might kill him one day if he didn't act earlier and so Joon suk returned to Korea and was arrested. Dong su's father refused to believe Joon suk had anything to do with Dong su's death whilst Sang taek and Jeong ho, although saddened by Dong su's death tried their best to protect Joon Suk. But Joon suk confessed to his crime and when asked by Sang taek why he confessed, Joon suk's answer was confusing to me because I suspect the translation may not be accurate but anyway he said "Dong su didn't like to be humiliated and I don't like to be humiliated either". Perhaps living in exile is a humiliation but I suspect he confessed because he couldn't live with his decision to kill his good friend.

And then Joon suk walked back to his cell, gloomy as ever and the last scene was the 4 friends when in their childhood talking about useless facts whilst swimming in the sea. The carefree days were gone and is anything but a distant memory.

Comments
I really wanted to watch this critically acclaimed and commercially successful movie after becoming Jang Dong Gun's die hard fan. Any die hard fan of Jang Dong Gun will either have watched this movie or is trying to get hold of the VCD or DVD which is almost impossible unless you order through yesasia.com.

I got it from yesasia.com, the special edition which in an attractive tin box etched with the Korean title and English title and inside it the dvd in yet another nice cover together with a very attractive booklet filled with info all in Korean. Kinda defeat the purpose of an international release when everything is in Korean. Why bother one wonders? But it is nice to look at. The DVD box itself is a revelation and I wonder why our local DVD boxes are not like that. One DVD is not staked on top of the other but staggered stacking which makes it look just great. I love the whole packaging. The cover at the front and back is interesting in that Jang Dong Gun's face is the largest and the one at the front, Yoo Oh seong is the second largest and at the back of Jang Dong Gun (and he is actually the lead), the narrator and the 2nd lead of this story Seo Tae Hwa was at the back in 3rd line and the last was Jeong Un taek. It is interesting because Jang Dong Gun had the 3rd least screen time compared to the other two leads and his total screen time is probably about 30 min or maybe a bit more. And yet his face is everywhere in the cover.

Anyway, attractive interactive menus in English with mostly standard DVD features but the interface looks cool. The 2nd DVD was even more attractive looking but alas, all in Korean. Why bother to translate the menus when the contents are in Korean?

Anyway, for more info on the box and the contents therein, go to dvddebate.com which gave an excellent review on the movie as well as the DVD itself.

The I watched the movie and I thank my lucky stars the custom officers in Malaysia did not open the packaging. The very early scene in this movie had the 4 boys watching porn and discussing about female anatomy. It was not an easy watch for me.

For Jang Dong Gun fans who has yet to watch this movie. Bad news first; Jang Dong Gun dies in this movie, which I am sure everybody knows. Great news is he died in such a dramatic way I am sure it is as memorable it is today as it was when this movie was first released. More on that later. This movie however is not just Jang Dong Gun alone.

Anyway, watched the entire 2 and a half hours long movie and my sentiments towards the end of the movie is not the same as I was purchasing this DVD. You could say I was disappointed with all the hype about how great this movie is and since I can't relate to the Koreans and their old school uniforms and violent teachers as well as local dialects, I couldn't relate much to the characters. But the story itself is universal enough, as 4 childhood friends drifted apart and ended up on opposite ends of the pole. But to me the story itself is the failure of this movie.

A good story can only be a great story when told by a great storyteller who discards away with the unnecessary and leaves us the viewers with only the necessary facts. For a movie of such a length, the story was badly told probably because it was badly written.

For one, we are supposed to connect with the 4 friends so that when Dong su died and everybody did what they did, we are supposed to feel "Aww what a shame this happened!". But that emotional link between the 4 friends are unconvincing and not close enough therefore as a viewer I felt rather unimpressed with their closeness which is not apparent. For one the movie didn't tell us how they met, that they just know each other. Their bonding sessions as a child seems to cover only chasing after a car, swimming and talking nonsense and discussing about female genitilia over a porn movie. I find all these probably what boys will do during bonding sessions and yet I find them all utterly juvenile and just scratching the surface. I can name at least 3 other movies which showed to a very successful level the bonding sessions of childhood friends; Stand By Me, Dreamcatcher and I Not Stupid. Chingoo failed in this aspect and everything else thereafter was unconvincing and therefore not effective. I find the children's segment too short, too simple and too pretentious. I am made to assume they're best of friends and when I was getting used to the idea of the 4 boys, the movie zooms forward to the adult actors who are frankly all too old for their 18 year old roles.

And even as 18 year olds, we are told that they drifted apart for awhile and then became great friends again. But I am still not convinced because the so called loyal friendship between Sang taek and Joon Suk seemed forced whilst Dong Su and Joon suk seemed more like to reap profits for oneself (especially from the point of view of Dong su) and everybody else with everybody else seems non existent. The good scenes are those of rage and questioning of loyalty, both from Dong su and the scene where Rainbow singing on the stage which is a nice song. The infatuation between Sang taek and the lead singer of Rainbow that is Jin Seok was more like touch and go. I didn't even know the relationship fizzled before it started until zoom again a few years to the future. Another memorable scene was the entire rival school joining hands in beating the crap out of Sang taek and friends. It shows their loyalty, that they fight together but alas, the scene was too shortlived and to me quite sudden. I always question their loyalty to one another when at this point their loyalty and friendship should not be questioned at all; this will of course form the basis of Dong Su and Joon Suk's actions in future that is tragic in Greek proportion. But because of this lack of connection from childhood to the end of their idyllic lives as teenager and they're to embrace adulthood, the missing link is then fast forwarded some more to the future causing more mayhem to the already woobly script.

Then came their early adulthood and we see everything from Sang taek's point of view and yet Sang taek is such a non happening character. He is such a bore to watch and his expressions mostly wooden. Interestingly we see Joon Suk as a drug addict married to Jin Seok. Again we are to assume something horrible happened in between, that Joon Suk whose life was immersed in crime became addicted to drugs and therefore dependant on his cruel mob boss. Dong su we are told is doing time in prison like a passage or a proof of manhood in the gangster hierarchy, something Joon Suk did before, again we are told and not shown. Even until the end I do not know what did Dong su do to earn a place in prison; did he steal? Then he was pretty petty criminal. Did he hurt someone? Then it would form a strong basis to his tendency to violence, the way he embraced it so openly towards the end. Did the translation miss out something? I do not know and I will never know. We see some bonding time between Sang taek and Joon Suk, but I find that lacking in emotion because by this time I do not see the connection between the two. Jin Seok was simply a character that walked in and out of the boys' lives whilst Jeong ho was simply a bystander, the joker that always laughs but knows what is going on but does not participate. The really good scene here is the relationship between Dong su and his father. He loves his father but he hates and feels ashamed of his father's job, which was why he joined Joon Suk's former boss. Another interesting scene was how Joon Suk left his former boss and joined his current boss. That one scene on how he left his former boss was telling enough what sort of boss Dong Su will be working for and how violent he will learn to be whilst Joon Suk followed a more milder version. But the connection between Joon Suk wanting to be better and find a better boss to Sang taek's reappearance is not so clear, when I suspect the writer actually wanted the connection to be ultra clear; that Sang taek was Joon Suk's conscience, his lifeline and his best pal. I can't see all that.

And again zoom past to their mid 20s and they have reached perhaps the pinnacle of their career in crime. I still do not know what Sang taek's job is, I just know he is very studious. Jeong ho remained pretty useless, his character never fully utilised when if it had been utilised fully, he could be the character that knows a lot of stuff but prefers not to meddle in them. By this point the story shifted to the rivalry between Dong su and Joon suk. One very telling scene was when they were teenagers and Dong su did question Joon suk's influence in his life and that he does not want to be second fiddle to him anymore. This can be seen during the time the 4 of them playfully tried to outrun one another and the only two in competition were Dong su and Joon suk and Joon suk didn't want to be in competition. Very early on we see Joon suk as someone placing friendship above all else whilst Dong su is very ambitious and dissatisfied. The rivalry is seen fully almost towards the end of the movie. We see how dangerous Dong su became, how Joon suk is somewhat a better man but how he succumbded to killing his good friend. We are supposed to assume Dong su is more than just good friend since Dong su's father's confrontation with Joon suk in jail later on is telling enough; that they were best of pals. But again that connection was missing.

The most spectacular scene in this movie is perhaps the death of Dong su. You know he's gonna die because the soundtrack's title said so. The director it seems paid special attention, in fact to almost obsessive level on planning and executing Dong su's death, that it became simply and overwhelmingly the best scene in this movie and so far the most memorable death scene in any movie apart from The Godfather when Sonny died. But the motive may be different. We are supposed to feel pain as in how come Dong su died and how can his friend do this to him. But at that point, I really thought if Dong su wasn't killed first, Joon suk will be killed. It's either one of them. The scene did not make me cry because I know so little of Dong su, quite simply it was like watching a stranger die. I do feel pain simply because it was Jang Dong Gun being stabbed there and because the way he died was extremely painful and violent. 30 stab wounds, front back, side, up and down and as he laid dying the young gang member continued to stab and stab and stab until Dong Su about to die uttered probably in my opinion one of the top 5 most memorable movie line ever, "You've done your job...go now" and then he slumped over and died. It's sad because it was extremely violent and I felt painful. But it wasn't because I know this character. It is so unlike the scene in 2009 : Lost Memories when the Japanese counterpart, I think called Saiko died. I cried because I knew him, and the story made me know him. This story I am sorry to say missed that connection from scene 1. Anyway I suspect he must have said "Enough" or "Stop" before he uttered that famous line but that was not translated. This is really my most favourite scene in this movie, apart from the confrontation between Dong Su and Joon Suk in a room, very tense and yet poignant.

And then zoom again a few years later and again Sang taek is the one telling the story and we are told Joon suk has returned. By zooming it so soon, we are deprived of that one great scene that could have given this movie something to talk about apart from the 30 stab wounds on Jang Dong Gun's body; Joon Suk's expression when he found out Dong su died. Did he attend Dong Su's funeral? If yes how did he faced Dong su's father? Where was Sang taek? As Joon suk confessed and I assume because he was ridden with guilt, Sang taek asked him tearfully, "Why did you do it?".

Now when he asked that, I was thinking IT referring to why Joon Suk ordered the death of Dong su. But then he said "Why did you confess?" and I was like shocked at how little concern Sang Taek had for Dong su. Even Jeong ho couldn't care less for Dong su's death. I would love to see a scene where all 3 of them attended Dong su's funeral, some emotion as they recognised that dead man as their childhood friend, no matter how different they were in adulthood. But none of those and I find Sang taek and Jeong ho too cold, too heartless. Surely Dong su merit a mention, a tear, a concern? Wasn't he a friend? A chingoo too?

The ending explanation why Joon suk did what he did I believe was badly translated because I was like HUH? But I do get it. It was guilt. Joon suk succumded to the lure of power, and violence like Dong su was. He had a conscience, which is unfortunate for a gangster actually.

And all these while, as Dong su and Joon suk was killing one another, I was thinking what about their respective bosses? They enter and then mentioned and then gone just like that. Not one mention thereafter. I find the holes in the plot far too many.

It is the lack of connection, the lack of coherent storyline and missing links that made this movie NOT a dud, BUT a movie on the edge of greatness. I would have wished that the writer concentrated on perhaps 3 friends at the most but if he is clever in utilising the time in the story, even 10 friends would create a carefully and intelligently scripted movie. A lot of time is wasted in this movie for reasons I do not know. Perhaps the story should have just centred on Dong su and Sang taek as I find these 2 characters so colourful, so interesting and their in fighting very intriguing. But the writer wanted to create a multi faceted friendship from many perspectives and therefore failed to concentrate on a proper perspective. Rather he did concentrate on one and that was Sang taek but Sang taek was such a bore and badly developed character.

Of all 4 characters and the amount of time took to develop the character, Dong su was perhaps the most intriguing and this is not because of Jang Dong Gun. In part maybe, but any credible actor would have gained fame through this character because he is so interestingly violent and angry that you can't help but notice him. But Jang Dong Gun was an unexpected choice but an ingenious casting simply because if there is one scene that he excels in, it would be those quiet moments of deep contemplation before he was about to do something; either whether he would travel back in time to change history or pursue the woman he loves or in this case, kill off almost everybody in Joon Suk's gang. His eyes, and the depths he shown by simply smoking and thinking was perfect in my opinion. There is no doubt his Dong su is one ugly character. Even his handsome feature is contorted into this "Really? If you dare come kill me" kinda bored but tough looking gangster. The fact that his voice was almost unrecognisable, always a whisper, like he can't shout (he kinda lost his voice and it was deliberate) was very threatening and quite scary. Everytime his character spoke chills went down my spine because you wouldn't know what he'll do and he might just plunge that knife into your face. It was an unexpected casting decision but due to his great acting, he made full use of whatever little screen time he had and made this character truly memorable. And yes, his death scene was spectacularly acted and shot and that line he uttered was simply classic.

The second best character is Joon suk by Yoo Oh seong and it is interesting to note that I have read that this actor was usually in comedies? Hard to believe he could be such a capable dramatic actor whom I read won best actor for this movie. Deservedly so eventhough his character was badly developed. Many things happened to this character in fast forward motion and if it was slowed down a bit, it would have been a goldmine of a character to play. I find this actor very convincing as the gangster whose downfall was his high regard for friendship. Although when Dong su appears and Dong su eats the whole screen, when Joon suk was alone or with Sang taek, this actor's peformance must be seen to be appreciated. This actor is given a character that has many blanks but he managed to give this character a life of its own and I was very impressed. Of course Jang Dong Gun was more impressive and scarier but Yoo Oh seong definitely deserve the award. Eventhough the actor didn't quite look soft like Jang Dong Gun, and yet there is a sense of integrity and honour in his character, in the way he carried himself. It is funny though that Jang Dong Gun, a beautiful and somewhat gentlemanly looking man played the violent one whilst Yoo Oh Seong, who to me looks like a typical gangster played the one who has values although he threw it all away when he ordered for the death of his friend.

A good actor that I must mention is Jeong Un taek who plays Jeong ho. Not much of a character, one dimensional at most but this actor is very funny and very expressive. I love to hear him speak his line as it was so fast and like a total smart aleck. He played his role very well but the problem is actually the lack of characterisation and development. A pity actually. You can say his character is basically the 4th friend, and nothing beyond that.

The worst actor and the most underdeveloped character is Sang taek played by Seo Tae-hwa. He was clearly too old to play the 18 year old Sang taek and throughout his character had the personality of a bland chopped wood. And yet his character is supposed to be the bridge between Dong Su and Joon Suk since he is like the middle man, involved but not so involved. His character is pivotal as his appearance and reappearance often spurred Joon Suk to strive to be a better person, and a better friend. Dong Su was even persuaded to see him off at the airport if not for his death since he was on his way to see Sang taek go to US. But yet his character is like appearing for appearing sake. Sometimes I wonder why his character is given such a pivotal role in this movie as he narrated it and yet he never went beyond just listening to updates as to what happened to his friends, always as told by Jeong Ho, the quittesential newsman of this movie? The actor's performance was something akin to the character. Mostly either bored, blank or bland, the scenes his did well are those towards the end that required him to look more than bored. I had to view this movie a 2nd time to fully appreciate his so not there type of acting but I still believe his character failed him. Generally the actor is quite a capable actor.

The rest of the actors are quite ok, although the young ones are horribly annoying to watch whilst the other actors we do not see enough. The actress who plays Jin Seok, Kim Bo-kyeong was stylish in her first appearance as she was miming horribly out of synch to the music (which was not intended since she was supposed to be singing that song herself) and later on her performance was marred by the fact that her character stopped developing after she left the stage. I find her appearance and re appearance of no significance at all and I wonder why bother with her character? Many various characters are definitely under developed due to a majority of screen time given to mainly Joon Suk and Dong Su but yet these 2 characters are also underdeveloped. If you want my honest opinion, I find all characters, major, minor, significant and insignificant to be underdeveloped for reasons I could not explain since there are so few people in this movie and the length is pretty long.

The child actors were horrible though. None of them looked like their adult counterparts and the way they talked irritated me. It was typical child type of acting with not much substance. Again their childhood perspective were not developed fully and I am left with like flashing moments of their childhood and zoom off then to adulthood.

Overall, the entire movie is really not that bad a movie. The cinematography is excellent, and the colours that one sees changing from each phase of these boys' lives make this movie into such a beautifully shot movie. The songs are great and frankly speaking, the performances from those who matters ranges from good to excellent. I find the performances by the main actors to be beyond my expectation whilst the girl..well her character didn't matter anyway. Maybe she did but undervelopment of her character gave me an impression she didn't quite matter. The main problem is definitely the inadequate transition from one phase to the other. And I have this impression that the director placed too much emphasis on Dong Su's death scene, so much so the entire movie is dominated by that one most violent scene in this movie and the most painful for me to watchwhich turned out to be the movie's most memorable scene. Make that any movie's most memorable scene.

Like my review for The Coast Guard, I did not quite like the movie, where for The Coast Guard, I didn't understand it. For Chingoo, it was slightly different. I was carried away by the hype and so I expected more. But throw away your expectation this movie has its major flaws in characterisation and the way the story was told. But looking at the other aspects like the music for each segment, the performances and the cinematography, I would say these factors more than made up for the major flaws. The dialect is also very interesting and I believe the translation was much too polite to translate the swearing because they sounded like swearing.

This movie at the end of the day may not change your life nor does it resemble anything close to a good storytelling, but as far as entertainment goes and the element of one truly memorable character, this movie has its moments and it offers TWO truly memorable characters.

Verdict
The tin box set is a must buy simply because it is very simple and yet beautiful. This movie has to be seen so that you judge it for youself. It's not a bad movie, really. I didn't regret buying the movie because Jang Dong Gun alone is worth the price as he didn't disappoint me. The movie failed to live up to my expectation because I expected so much more but I did end up having a better understanding of the Korean cinema as this movie introduced me to some wonderfully gifted actors and sealed my adulation for Jang Dong Gun whom now I believe to be one of the finest actors I have ever seen. My respect for him is now moving from admiring his looks and his ability to act to perhaps admiring the fact that he can blend into any character and give a performance that is worth mentioning and remembering. However this performance is not his best because I know his best has yet to come.

Interesting Question
One major question though; why are the teachers so violent in South Korea? This teacher in this movie not just slap, he grab you by the cheek, slam his entire palm dead on to your cheeks and you fall back. If he is not happy, he will take a file and start slamming your head with it again and again and again. This is not the first time I have seen such a scene and it is quite shocking.

Interesting Downloads
Check out my downloads page (TV /Movies) for some great downloads taken from this movie.

Some Screencaps
The same ones you will see in the Downloads page where these still images accompanied the themesong in the Music Video you can download. All are clickable thumbnails and feel free to post them at your forums or website.

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Interesting Scans
The following are the scans of the booklet I mentioned above. All are clickable thumbnails and feel free to post them at your forums or website.

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5 comments:

  1. Anonymous12.6.10

    He actually didn't kill his friend. The original ones who tried to betray Dong-Su in the first place are the ones who killed him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Man i wish i could edit this review. Its obvious that this guy didnt understand the movie. The story is hard to interpret from just watching it once. Ive watched twice: one, because i thought it was a great movie; and two, because i wanted to completely understand the movie. Both the writer of this review and the poster of the comment above are wrong. Dong-su was betrayed by his own gang. Doruko of Joon-suk's gang was the one that headed the failed attempt of assassinating Dong-su. However, im still trying to understand what Joon-suk meant, when asked by Sang-taek why he falsely confessed to getting Dong-su killed, by "I was embarrassed, and gangsters shouldnt be embarrassed." Maybe he didnt want to be a gangster anymore? I mean, he was always ashamed by the fact that his father was a gangster. I do not comprehend. Ill probably watch it over sometime next week.

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  3. Anonymous22.1.15

    Joon Suk ordered the hit on Dong-su. Dong-Su was getting rival mobster bosses in prison and after killing Doruko (Dong Su's wife's brother and Dong-Su's right hand man), that pretty much sealed Dong-Su's fate.

    In the end of the movie, Joon Suk went to Dong Su with a "Plan A" and a "Plan B." Plan A was to get Dong-Su the fuck out of Busan so that Joon Suk could clean up the mess. I think that explains Joon Suk's monologue (aka letter to Sang Take about what it means to be a "friend.")

    But if you recall, Dong-Su pretty much told Joon Suk to fuck off in front of all of Dong-Su's men. I'm no mobster, but I think that's kind of disrespectful? Sang Taek asks him, "why did you confess?" and Joon Suk says "humilliation. Me and Dong Su are gangsters and we can't be disrespected."

    Plan A failed. Joon Suk did his best as a friend to save Dong Su. Dong Su told him to fuck off and embarrassed him in the process. (It's also embarrassing not to retaliate) so Joon Suk coldly initiated Plan B. I think the really long pause after Joon Suk drops the cigarette on the ground signaled that he "ordered the hit."

    And lastly, (HUGE SPOILERS FROM CHINGU 2), Dong Su's son confronts Joon Suk about his dad's murder and you can tell from Joon Suk's expression that he did it, that he ordered the hit.






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    Replies
    1. Thak youuu for explaining. I've been searching for a logical explanation a while ago!!

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    2. My own interpretation is that he assumed the killing of his friend to save him the embarrassment or shame of being killed by his own organization. After years of opposition they were still friends and dying at the hands of an arrival boss is far more prestigious than just being killed off by your own organization for being incompetent.

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