Chronicle of A Blood Merchant (2015)

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Movie: Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (허삼관)
Director: Ha Jung-Woo
Release Date: January 15, 2015
Runtime: 124 min.
Genre: Family / Comedy / Drama / Melodrama / Period-1950 / Period-1960
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Main Cast:
Ha Jung Woo – Heo Sam Kwan
Ha Ji Won – Heo Okran
Nam Da Reum – Heo Ilrak

Review:
I didn’t read the synopsis, I always thought this was a comedy but it was so much more. This was adapted from a Chinese novel by Yuhua and changed to Korean setting. Ha Jung Woo is the director and the star of the movie. It’s about a guy, Sam Kwan, who sold blood to earn money to marry the prettiest girl in town, Okran. 11 years later with 3 kids, there are rumors that the eldest son is not Sam Gwan’s biological son but is from Okran’s ex-boyfriend. The movie shows the love between father and son. Even though they were not blood related, Ilrak basically grew up with the family and have always known Sam Kwan as his dad and vice versa.

The first half was light comedy but in the middle, when Sam Kwan found out Ilrak, who is his favorite child, was not actually his, he stopped showing him fatherly affection. It was heartbreaking to see Ilrak look so confused for suddenly being the favorite eldest son to a shunned illegitimate child, whose fathers (real and step) refuse to acknowledge him.

Four major scenes (and spoilers so dont read if you want to watch) that made me cry were when Sam Kwan told Ilrak to go away and not join the family’s dumpling dinner and Ilrak went to his real father’s house, asking for dumpling but he got rejected. Eventually Sam Kwan couldn’t resist and found Ilrak crying and hiding in the alleys and brought him home. Another was when the real father was dying and Ilrak was being forced to say “Father come back, don’t leave me” as part of a ritual, but then he sees Sam Kwan watching from a window and Ilrak starts begging for Sam Gwan to come back and take him home. Sam Kwan interrupts the ritual and takes Ilrak home. Then Ilrak falls ill with the same illness as his real father, and Sam Kwan almost died going town to town selling blood to earn money for his surgery. They finally meet in Seoul and their reunion was so touching.

I can’t believe Nam Dareum was so young in this drama!! So cute and great acting, from him. He had great chemistry with Ha Jung Woo. And now in 2022, he’s grown up and serving the army.

Rating: 9/10

Assassination (2015)

Movie: Assassination (암살)
Release Date: July 22, 2015
Runtime: 139 min.
Genre: Action / Period-1930 / Best Film-Movie of the Year
Distributor: Showbox
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Main Cast:
Jun Ji Hyun – Ahn Okyun /Mitsuki
Lee Jung Jae – Captain Yeom
Ha Jung Woo – Hawaii Pistol
Cho Jin Woong – Soksapo
Choi Deok Mun – Duksam
Oh Dalsu – Younggam
Lee Kyung Hyung – Kang Inguk
Park Byung Eun – Kawaguchi
Cho Seung Woo – Kim Wonbong

Review:
It was Jun Jihyun’s birthday a few days ago so I thought of watching this old movie of hers.

The story is about a secret mission to assassinate 2 important people who favored the Japanese. And several factions try to outmaneuver each other to either prevent or succeed in the mission.

The movie is quite long at more than 2 hours but I wasn’t bored!! The story is a little complicated because there were too many characters so I had to slowly watch to understand what was going on. It had lots of action, and double crossing, and deaths, and even managed to put in a little romance. The meet-cute at Hotel Mirabeau between Okyun and Hawaii Pistol is 😍

The main lead is Jun Jihyun and the men were great support, esp Ha Jung Woo who sometimes stole the scenes. And I finally watched JJ’s famous court scene that is always reenacted in shows.

Rating: 9/10

Emergency Declaration (2022)

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Movie: Emergency Declaration (비상선언)
World Premiere: July 15, 2021 (Cannes Film Festival)
Release Date: August 3, 2022
Runtime: 141 min.
Distributor: Showbox

Main Cast:
Song Kang Ho – Inho
Lee Byung Hun – Jaehyeok
Kim Nam Gil – Hyunsoo
Jeon Do Yeon – Sookhee
Kim So Jin – Heejin
Im Si Wan – Jinseok

Review:
I watched a youtube video where they said it took 3 years to write the script and it’s amazing how the actions of the passengers are very similar to what has been happening with the current pandemic.

This movie is about a terrorist attack on a plane bound for Honolulu. Because of the circumstances, the plane is not able to make a landing in various cities and the passengers and officers have to make a choice.

Another disaster movie that appeals to our humanity. The stories of each passengers are nothing new, but focused more on family. I think I probably would have made the same decision if I were on the plane.

Rating: 8.5/10

Seoul Vibe (2022)

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Movie: Seoul Vibe (서울대작전)
Release Date: August 26, 2022
Runtime: 138 min.
Distributor: Netflix
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot:
A group of friends are engaged by a prosecutor to take down a powerful team trying to launder money during the 1988 Olympics.

Main Cast
Yoo Ah In – Park Dong Wook
Go Kyung Pyo – Woo Sam
Lee Kyu Hyung – Bok Nam
Park Ju Hyun – Park Yoon Hee
Ong Seung Woo – Joon Gi
Moon So Ri – Kang In Sook
Kim Sung Kyun – Director Lee
Oh Jung Se – Prosecutor Ahn

Review:
This is a fun, light action comedy flick when you have nothing to do on Friday night. I like the cast, felt like everyone was having a blast shooting though sometimes Yoo Ah In is being so serious with his acting (lighten up!). And whew! I’m glad No one died!

1988 Olympics didn’t really have much to do with the story but I loved how they styled their car ala Olympics style in the end. And the oldish music (I was listening to 80s rap just this morning!)

The Prosecutor Ahn scene was the main thing that struck me most in the movie. And surprise that the lead prosecutor isn’t a baddie (the actor normally plays the bad guy)!

This movie also felt like they tried so hard to make them look cool but the 80s vibe looks forced (did the writer grow up in the 80s or did the writer just googled the 80s?)

This movie is also too long and some parts were boring. It only gets interesting in the last part. The ending was also too unbelievable (are they trying to be F&F or Mission Impossible?)

I was expecting General Baldie to be some famous actor considering how they tried to conceal his face in the first half, so I was very disappointed when I saw who it was.

I don’t think we need a sequel.

Rating: 8/10