Sunday, November 20, 2011

2012: The Year Korea Came to Hollywood

Four big name Korean directors have Hollywood films debuting next year. The list includes three of my favorite Korean directors:

  1. Probably the king of contemporary Korean cinema, Park Chan-wook.  Oldboy (and to a lesser extent, the entire "Vengeance" trilogy of which Oldboy is just one volume) has become an international success and has pretty much made Park world-famous.  If you've seen only one Korean movie, it was probably Oldboy.  Park's Hollywood project is a "gothic thriller" called Stoker, though it has nothing to do with vampires, Braham Stoker or Dracula, as people were originally speculating, since people seem to still be into this whole vampires thing.

  2. Bong Jun-ho, director of the megablockbuster The Host.  He's directed a cinematic adaptation of the French graphic novel Snowpiercer, a post-apocalyptic free-for-all, set on a train designed to be impenetrable to the Arctic climate people in the future suffer under due to global warming.  Bonus points for this one: it will feature Song Kang-ho in a supporting role.

  3.  Kim Jee-woon, whose most notable features include A Tale of Two Sisters (which was later remade by Hollywood under the title The Uninvited),  A Bittersweet Life, and my personal favorite, The Good, The Bad, The Weird.  For Hollywood, Kim's working on an action piece called Last Stand, about a drug dealer whose only obstacle on the way to freedom in Mexico is a small town sheriff played by...Arnold Schwarzenegger.  There is no way this can be bad.

Out of all of the films listed, I'm most excited to see Last Stand.  Kim plays really well to big name Western classics (The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, obviously) as well as contemporary hits (Kill Bill) and he creates really original and exciting action scenes.  Take, for example, the final chase scene in The Good, The Bad, The Weird:

This is one of the most awesome things you will ever see in a movie.

All of these releases are really exciting news, though. I've been out of the Korean movie loop for a while (between being in the states and then working too much in Korea) and this is the perfect thing to jump back into.

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