Seen in Jeonju

Archive for August, 2010

I Saw the Devil (2010)

31st August 2010

lposter041769-k1A few weeks ago, I had received a call from a friend of mine-a former student who boarded in my house for about two years. He had watched both A Man From Nowhere and I Saw the Devil in theaters and asked me if I had seen them.  While we were talking, he said that he preferred A Man From Nowhere because of Won Bin’s acting. “But,” he added, “I Saw the Devil is your style. You have to see it.”  My style? I had of course been following the news and rumors surrounding the near non-realease of the film. Censors had deemed it too offensive and violent and nearly gave it a rating that would have prevented the film’s screening within Korea. I wondered if I would like it. I remember writing in the spring of 2009 that I had walked out of the film Missing. I found it too cruel and annoying at the same time. The director of Missing had stated that he wanted to make a movie like Saw and I say he succeeded. I have never watched more than 10 minutes of any Saw film. How could I Saw the Devil be ‘my style’? I like films that make you think, not blood baths!  Well, I watched it last night and I have to say that my friend seems to know me pretty well. I Saw the Devil is definitely my style.

I Saw the Devil is very different from Missing and Saw that I mentioned above. In those films, the torture of innocent people seems to comprise the entire reason for making the film. That is not the case here. The villain Kyeong-cheol is undeniably brutal.. however, torture is not his main motif. Judging from the amount of blood in some scenes, torture undoubtedly occurs, especially later in the film when he is seeking revenge on Soo-hyeon, but much of it happens off screen. Soo-hyeon engages in quite a bit of brutality himself and his methods are extremely questionable. But his dealings with Kyeong-cheol–who ranks up there as one of the most despicable cinematic characters that I have ever encountered–are oddly carthartic. Too often in movies and tv (Dexter anyone?), the killer is glorified. It was a welcomed change to see a killer get his comeuppance.  Of course, if Soo-hyeon had just called the police when he found the killer instead of engaging in his own path of revenge, it would have been better for everyone and saved a half dozen lives or so-and the killer still would have been punished.

Soo-hyeon is given a very clear opportunity to break from the path of vengeance, but he willfully and conciously decides against it well aware that his actions may turn him into a monster. His promise to his murdered wife is binding and to break from that would be like betraying her and failing his duty to punish her killer. For his part, Kyeong-cheol sees Soo-hyeon’s dedication to punishing him as a kind of game, an extra challenge that he becomes determined to overcome even though the cards seemed stacked against him.  Once he figures out the rules and realizes the identity of his pursuer, Kyeong-cheol is able to take control of the game and is free to seek his own path of revenge for all the pain Soo-hyeon has bought him and his assoiciates.

I really did not see anything in this movie that would warrent such an outcry by the censor board. I had heard that there were concerns about a scene where a dog is fed a hand, however that did not appear in the theatrical version I saw.  The amount of gore is no more than what we saw in Chaser or Black House a few years ago and the body count is less than in Bittersweet Life. If it was a problem with the protaganist acts in a morally questionable manner, then I would direct critics to Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.  Actually, I found myself thinking that I Saw the Devil was the movie that Sympathy For Lady Vengeance should have been and Kim Ji-woon’s directing felt more like a style Park Chan-wook would use.  

In brief, I was very pleased with this movie–even with the scenes I watched with one eye closed. There can be no complaint about the acting of the two leads. Lee Byeong-heon and Choi Min-shik are arguably the best actors in the Korean film industry at the moment. And it is a film that makes you think as Soo-heon’s choice become harder to justify even as we understand his reasons.  It really was my style.

Posted in 2010s, Review | 3 Comments »

Korean Box Office: August 27-29

30th August 2010

This has been a very busy morning. First a 9:30 meeting going over the budget of an exchange program we are making, the a photo session for a local Chinese-language newspaper, then a meeting with a new English speaking professor followed by a meeting with a Nepalese grad student. Currently I am waiting for one of the students in the school’s soccer team because I promised him he could take my class but, since its full, I have to sign a form granting him permission to enter.  But while I am waiting, I can finish the box office. Of course, with school starting this Wednesday–and all my classes being in the morning–this will be about the time I will be posting the box office each Monday–about 3 o’clock local time. All summer I had it online by 11, but it will be a couple of hours later for the next 15 weeks or so. 


The Man from Nowhere remained at number 1 for the fourth week in a row. I was surprised to see the Last Airbender still in number 2 given the word of mouth reviews I have been hearing. I was even more surprised about Piranha.. but I guess the 3D gimmick is still enough of a draw to get people into the theater. The other new films, Predators and Enemy at the End fell flat on their debut weekend–and with 11 new films opening in theaters this week, they could disappear from screens altogether by next weekend. The new films are listed below. Of them, Bedeviled interests me the most, especially after reading the review for it by Kim Kyu-hyun at


1. Afterlife (us)– Agnieszko Wojtowicz-Vosloo, starring Liam Neeson, Christina Ricci

2. Bedeviled (kr)–Jang Cheol-soo, starring Seo Yeong-hee, Ji Seong-won

3. Door (de)– Anno Saul, starring Mads Mikkelsen, Jessica Schwarz

4. Escape (kr)– Leesong Hee-il, starring Lee Yeong-hoon, So Yoo-jin

5. Hua Mulan (us/ch)– d. Jingle Ma & Wei Dong, starring Wei Zhao, Kun Chen

6. Kids Are All Right, The (us)– d. Lisa Cholodenko, starring Annette Bening, Julianna Moore

7. Killers (us)– d. Robert Luketic, starring Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher

8. Lymelife (us)– d. Derick Martini, starring Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon

9. Paper Heart (us)– d. Nicholas Jasenovec, starring Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera

10. Thumbelina’s Father (kr)– d. Kang Seong-ryong, starring Bang Dong-won, Jin Da-eun

11. Tournament (uk)– d. Scott Mann, starring Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu

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DVD Releases: August 29-Sept. 4

29th August 2010

no hee-kyeong

The Shorts Films of writer No Hee-kyeong–Award winning drama screenwriter No Hee-kyeong is being honored with this release of five of her made-for-tv short films ranging back to the late 90s. However, I suspect this dvd set will be of little interest to most readers of this site as the discs are not subtitled. But if you are interested, the set information is as follows:  Number of  discs: 3/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: None/ Format: 4:3 full screen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Special features: Interview with No Hee-kyeong and director Pyo Min-soo/ Recommended Price: 38,500 KRW/ Available: September 1

cafe seoul

Cafe Seoul– Director Masaharu Take helmed this Korean-Japanese co-production in 2009. Director Take previous work includes We Shall Overcome Someday, Sweet Boys and Sweet Boys 2. His ‘Sweet Boys’ films are titled Cafe Daikanyama and Cafe Seoul seems to be along the same vein–and possibly similar to the popular Korean drama Coffee Prince or the movie Antique as well. This movie stars Kim Jeong-hoon (former singer of the band U.N.), Takumi Saito (Boys Love), Kim Dong-wook (No Regret) and Choi Seong-min (Secret).  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean & Japanese/ Rating: ages 12+/ Format: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Special features: Trailer/ Running time: 94 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: September 1

I Am Happy-directed by Yoon Jong-chan (Sorum) and starring Hyeon Bin (Millionaire’s First Love), Lee Bo-yeong (Sadder than Blue), Park No-shik (Memory of Murder) and Eun Joo-hee (Like You Know It All).  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio:Dolby Digital 5.1/ Special Features: commentary by director Yoon, Hyeon Bin and Prof. Kim Yeong-jin–music video–trailer/ Running Time: 113 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: September 2

tears of the amazon

Tears of the Amazon– a popular documentary that was given both a theatrical release and a much longer television release. It now available in DVD format and 2 Blue-Ray versions–but be careful which one you pick up–the Blue-Ray release of the television version doen NOT have English subtitles.  However the theatrical versions in BR and DVD format have them. The following information is for the DVD only.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English/ Rating: none/ Format: 16:9 widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digitial 5.1 &2.0/ Region Code: all / Running time: 98 minutes/ Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: September 3

Dolyi–On July 22, the first volume of this long running television drama was released on DVD. The second will be available by the end of this week and will contain episodes 19-36.  Number of Discs: 6/ Rating: 15+/ Format: 16:9 widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Region Code: 3/ Recommended Price: 77,000 KRW/ Available: September 3

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Index of 1971: 136-150

28th August 2010

Here are the next 15 films produced in Korea in 1971.  Click the thumbnail to see the full-sized image. You can access the full list by director through the tab at the top of the page marked ‘Movies of the 70s’

1971-136, 1971-137, 1971-138, 1971-139, 1971-140, 1971-141, 1971-142, 1971-143, 1971-144, 1971-145, 1971-146, 1971-147, 1971-148, 1971-149, 1971-150

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A Certain Love Affair (1965)

23rd August 2010

65-029~3 Last Sunday night, EBS showed director Park Jang-ho’s 1965 film A Certain Love Affair. Now, director Park had made just over forty movies between his debut in 1959, 3 O’Clock on a Rainy Afternoon and his final project in 1988, Lady in the Wall. The ~~ in the Wall series, which includes the Woman in the Wall (1969), Woman in the Wall 2 (1970), Man in the Wall (1972) and the aforementioned Lady, are why I am familiar with Park as I have seen some of them previously. All were about unhappy marriages where a long suffering, often neglected wife, falls in love with another man but is encouraged by the end of the film to return to her marriage on the husband’s promise that things will be different when she returns. Despite nearly a half decade or more and no less than 16 other project separating these films from A Certain Love Affair, Park manages to keep the same theme. If I had to sum up the first hour of the movie, I would have called it decidedly average with some clear budget problems that kept my mind occupied (more on that later). However, the last part of the movie took the film from average and slightly dull to terrible and made me quite angry with its message.

Yoon-hee (played by Kim Hye-jeong) has married Ho-jin (Nam Goong-won) without knowing all there is to know about him. Namely, that a car accident has left him unable to perform in the bedroom. On their honeymoon, he fails to tell her this and she assumes that his lack of physical intimacy is due to the fact that he is thinking of another woman. Later, she finds lipstick on his handkerchief and, following him, discovers him slobbering all over a young woman in a seedy bar. When she confronts her husband, he informs her of his physical problem and assures her that he will never see that girl again. They attempt to have sex, but it is a useless effort that leaves them both unsatisfied.

However, between seeing her husband pawing the bar girl and confronting him about it back home, Yoon-hee runs into her friend, ‘Miss Cho.’ It would have been hard to miss her in the attire she is in. Cho is wearing a skin tight leopard spot pair of pants and a French beret. This is not merely to show that she has bad taste in clothes. It is to show that she has been westernized in the worst possible way. Cho takes the opportunity to introduce Yoon-hee to Nam-soo (Nam Seok-hoon) who indicates that he is instantly attracted to the married woman. However, being married is not the only problem. Nam-soo is an employee of her husband’s company. Being morally corrupt, Nam-soo does not care that Yoon-hee is the wife of his boss and Yoon-hee is quickly warming to his advances. In fact, where her husband introduces Nam-soo to his wife at a club, Nam-soo asks to dance with her. The two, pretending it’s the first time they have met, dance while nuzzling each other right in plain view of Ho-jin.

You would think that this would make Ho-jin jealous…and you would be correct. However, he reacts to stress and anger in a surprising way. It puts him in an amorous mood. After arguing with Yoon-hee or after watching her dancing crushed up against Nam-soo, Ho-jin attempts to please his wife in bed (I am dreading the spam this sentence is going to generate) but, as usual, the two end up more frustrated and annoyed with each other than before. However, that changes in the final scene of the movie which I am going to reveal as I don’t think this film will ever see the light of day again and this may be your only chance to learn of it.

Yoon-hee has fallen in love with Nam-soo and the continuing arguments with her husband culminate in her deciding to leave home. She decides to meet Nam-soo and give in to his seduction. Unfortunately, she has to call him where he works so her husband has the means to overhear their plans. He races to Nam-soo’s house and arrives just as Yoon-hee has eased herself down on the bed and is ready to consummate their love. Ho-jin flies into a rage and severely beats Nam-soo. He would have killed him with a bottle if Yoon-hee had not thrown herself in between. Saved by his lover, Nam-soo departs (apparently not fired from his job) leaving Yoon-hee to deal with her enraged husband.  Ho-jin cannot calm down and turns his fury on his wife, slapping her across the face and throwing her down on the bed. These days, what follows next would be described as rape. Apparently, in this movie, in constitutes a happy ending. His anger and jealousy cures the psychological block and he is a man again—shown symbolically through water rushing faucet while the sound of a train chugs along in the background. Thoroughly satisfied sexually, the couple vows never to cheat on each other again.

Blah. The idea of the end justifying the means has never appealed to me in any context. The idea of violence and rape leading to a couple’s happiness is ridiculous. The message this movie seems to have is that spousal violence can lead to happiness and that is something I cannot ever agree with. But..there was something about this film that kept me entertained until I was shocked by the unrealistic ending. This movie seems to have had no budget. The set director was apparently given one room to work with that had to represent three different rooms. However, he had a limited number of décor and knickknacks. There were two sets of curtains, the ones with the palm trees and the ones with the pineapples. The palm trees appear in the couple’s bedroom and in a frequently used hotel room. The pineapple curtains are used in the couple’s living room and in Nam-soo’s studio apartment. Various dolls, stuffed animals and other odds and ends are used in more than one scene and frequently move around–doll on piano in one room, same doll on bed in could’s house, same doll now on the shelf near the sofa. It was like playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ at times.

But the games I were playing and the mental notes I were taking to keep myself entertained during the movie were ultimately not enough. This film is not very good and just barely held my interest and in the end it is insulting to the intelligence and degrading to women. Bad as it is though, I do not regret seeing it. I like that EBS is showing these older films no matter how bad some of them are. They used to repeat the same classics like Aimless Bullet, The Coachman or The Housemaid every year or two. These are great movies but I want to see things I haven’t seen before and there were literally thousands of other films made in Korea in the 60s. Seeing them gives a more balanced view of the kinds of movies being made at that time. Ideally, I hope to be able to see every early film that is available and write something about them as there is so little information on them available in English. Whether I ultimately like it or not is unimportant in the long run.

Posted in 1960s, Review | 3 Comments »

Korean Box Office: August 20-22

22nd August 2010


The Won Bin action film, Man From Nowhere, managed to stay at the top of the national box office chart for its third week in a row–but just barely. There was just 1 percentage point difference between it and the number two film, The Last Airbender. Here in Jeonju, the two films’ places were reversed. This in itself is not surprising. What mystified me was the differences in percentages–Last Airbender led by nearly 10 percentage points. I can only chalk this up to the number of screens. Nationally, the Man from Nowhere was shown on 540 screens while The Last Airbender played on 450.  Here in North Cheolla, Man from Nowhere was on 14 screens and Airbender was seen in 16.

Eleven new movies are being released this coming week, which for many marks a return to school–although the university I work at does not start until the following week.   These are listed below in alphabetical order.


1. Centurion (uk)– d. Neil Marshall, starring Michale Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko

2. Enemy at the End (kr)–d. Jo Won-hee & Kim Sang-hwa, starring Cheon Ho-jin, Yoo Hae-jin

3. Golden Slumber (jp)–d. Yoshihiro Nakamura, starring Yuko Takeuchi, Nao Omori

4. Good Husband (jp)– Isao Yukisada, starring Hiroko Yakushimaru, Etsushi Toyokawa

5. Hell Ride (us)– d. Larry Bishop, starring Larry Bishop, Dennis Hopper

6. Mister Zombie (kr)– d. Lee Soo-sang, starring Won Poong-yeon, Bae Noo-ri

7. Piranha 3D (us)– d. Alexandre Ala, starring Elisabeth Shue,  Steven McQueen

8. Predators (us)–d. Nimrod Antal, starring Adrian Brody, Topher Grace

9. Solanin (jp)– d. Takahiro Miki, starring Aoi Miyazaki, Kengo Kora

10. Wicker Man (us/de)– d. Neol Lebute, starring Nicholas Cage, Ellen Burstyn

11. You Are Beautiful (kr)– d. Bae Seung-chang & Jang Hye-yeong, starring Kim Ok-yeong, Ha Rim <documentary>

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New DVD Releases: August 22-28

21st August 2010

This week we have 4 Korean films and three television dramas being released in DVD format. Let’s start with the movies in the order they are pictured below.


BESTSELLER (2 discs)– Uhm Jeong-hwa and Ryu Seung-ryong star in a thriller of a writer who is trying to make a comeback after a scandal nearly destroyed her career. However, she finds herself investigating a mysterious events surrounding the village she is in and her daughter is talking to someone she cannot see. Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: Ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 & 5.1/ Special features: optional commentary by Uhm Jeong-hwa, Jo Jin-woong, Choi Moo-ryong, Jo Hee-bong, Oh Jeong-se  and director Lee Jeong-ho, trailers, focus on Uhm Jeong-hwa/Region Code: 3/ Recommended Price: 27,500 KRW/ Available: August 25 –

SERA AND LAMI (1 disc)– starring Park Hae-mi, Shin Yi, Lee Tae-seong. Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: Ages 15+/ Format: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Region Code: 3/ Recommended Price: 25,000 KRW/ Available: August 25

VIEWFINDER (1 disc)–director: Kim Jeong, starring Yang Eun-yong, LeeHo-yeong. Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: 15+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Special Features: commentary by director Kim Jeong, producer Lee Won-jae, actors Yang Eun-yong, Lee Ho-yeong; trailers/ Region Code: 3/Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: August 26

NICE SHORTS (1 disc)–Collection of short films directed by Kim Yeong-geun, Kim Ye-yeong and Jo Seong-hee.  I saw at least one of the films in this collection at a screening of young directors from Jeonju.  I will definitely be picking up this DVD (and the Bestseller DVD) this week. Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: 19+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Region: 3/ Special Features: trailer/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: August 26 

prosecutor princess

PROECUTOR PRINCESS (8 discs): SBS drama that ran from March to May 2010 and starred Kim So-yeon, Park Shi-hoo, Han Jeong-soo and Choi Song-hyeon. Not only do you get the full 16 episodes if you buy this set, you also get a poster, pouch bag, postcards, clear file, picture book, stickers and a business card holder. Subtitles: English/ Rating: All ages/ Special Features: Commentary, deleted scenes, making, interviews with actors, director and writer/ Region Code: 3/ Recommended Price: 100,000/ Available: August 24


SOULMATE (5 discs)–an MBC drama that ran from March to June 2006 and starred Shim Dong-wook, Lee Soo-kyeong, Jang Mi-inae, Sa Kang. Subtitles: NONE/ Rating: All ages/ Format: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Special Features: NG, deleted scenes, ‘no-cut’ filming, actor interviews, cameos/Region Code: 3/ Recommended Price: 45,000/ Available: August 26/ episdoes 1-22


CINDERELLA (11 discs)– KBS drama which ran from March to June 2010 and starred Moon Geun-yeong, Cheon Jeong-myeong, Ok Taek-yeon and Seo Woo. Subtitles: English/ Rating: Ages 15+/ Special Features: commentary, making, filming kiss scenes, ‘beyond talk’, interview <each 20 minutes> with main actors and directors Kim Yeong-jo and Kim Won-seob, music video/ Region Code: 3,4,5,6/ Recommended Price: 110,000 KRW/ Available: August 27/ set includes poster, picture book and postcards

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Index of 1971: 121-135

20th August 2010

Her are the next 15 films produced in Korea in 1971. Just click the thumbnail for a full-sized image. You can also search for films by director through the tab at the top of the page marked Movies of the 70s.

1971-121, 1971-122,1971-123,1971-124,1971-125,1971-126,1971-127,1971-128,1971-129,1971-130,1971-131,1971-132,1971-133,1971-134,1971-135

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Robot Taekwon V Meets the Golden Wing (1978)

17th August 2010

robot taekwonWe have been having a lot of rain. It has been raining here in Samrye,outside of Jeonju, everyday, stopping and restarting a few hours later. Sometimes the rains have been quite heavy and there has been a lot of damage locally to bridges, crops, roads and houses. Last night, there was a loud crash as, right outside my home, a large tree broke and fell. Fortunately, there was no damage, just a blocked driveway, but it hasn’t been the best weather for doing things outside. Staying in means I have more time to watch DVDs. I was going to watch Midnight Ballad of Ghost Theater for a review that I have been commissioned to write, but the student boarder in my house asked if he could pick a different movie. He had just finished three weeks of summer session graduate classes and said he wanted to see some of the old animation movies I own. There are several of these that I have not seen yet, so I agreed.

He selected Robot Taekwon V Meets the Golden Wing circa 1978. The film marks the fourth chronological film of Robot Taekwon V following his first appearance in 1976 and his subsequent films Robot Taekwon V 2: Battle in Space and Robot Taekwon V 3: Undersea Mission. Back in 2003 (!) I wrote about the Robot Taekwon V box set released by Bitwin. That review, which provides some character information that might prove useful when reading this review is on the main site of Koreanfilm.ORG that hosts my blog. It can be read here. That was my first experience with the giant robot that is a household name in Korea. Since that time, a digitally enhanced DVD of the original 1976 film has been released with English subtitles, which has potentially introduced the character to a wider audience although viewers in the United States may have already been introduced to him in their childhoods as Voltar the Invincible.

 The Golden Wing was a character whose name I knew from reading about Korean animation, but whom I had not seen on screen before. This movie was the second, and I believe final, appearance of the character. Originally appearing in the Kid’s Chosun Newspaper, The Golden Wing’s first film—The Golden Wing 1-2-3—was directed by Robot Taekwon V’s creator, Kim Cheong-ki and opened in January 1978. Robot Taekwon V Meets the Golden Wing followed this release by just 6 months. Unfortunately, the flashbacks provided in the sequel do not provide much character information and I was forced to search through the internet and books to find out more. Most confusing are the names. There are two characters referred to as The Golden Wing. The first is the giant blue and red robot. It has not wings of any color but does have gold fins on its helmet. It is operated by a man named Deuk-shim—an overweight man with the comic quirk of only thinking about eating. The second character who answers to the name of The Golden Wing is Heon. Mild-mannered and considered a coward by people who know him, Heon usually slips away when danger strikes. However, upon leaping into the air and completing a summersault, meek Heon was transformed into the super-powerful Golden Wing—or more accurately—Golden Wing 1. With powers of flight, speed and strength and armed with a halberd that discharges a beam of force, this Golden Wing is strong enough to tackle any threat. In his origin film, The Golden Wing 1-2-3, there are two other characters in similar costumes who presumably are Golden Wing 2 and Golden Wing 3, but they make no appearance here.

 The movie opens with a tale from the Bible which had me worried immediately. If you ever sat through Kim Cheong-ki’s animated David and Goliath like I had, then you would understand. Fortunately, the story of the Tower of Babel has its ending changed somewhat as aliens take over the remains of the tower and make it their secret headquarters to prepare for an invasion of Earth. It takes a long time to travel between the stars and over the centuries, the aliens have killed any who approached their lair to preserve the secret. But human technology has advanced. Satellite images show a gigantic bird-like object dubbed the Thunder Bird destroying jets flying over the area. Both Robot Taekwon V and the Golden Wing teams are called in to discover what is going on and deal with the situation. When the two groups meet, the less mature members speculate which robot would win in a fight. Little do they realize, that question will be decisively answered before the end of the movie. Neither do they realize their enemy is already plotting against them.

 The aliens have four agents on Earth. Our heroes are aware of the mighty Thunder Bird, but they know nothing of their other opponents. These are comprised of the human-sized shape-shifter Mutant (pictured on the lower right of the poster), the ponderous Titan (middle-left with Thunder Bird) with density changing powers and the phallic-shaped super computer (upper right) that controls them all and streams a steady signal through space, guiding the invading forces towards our planet. Mutant changes into the form of Golden Wing 1 and attacks Hoon, the chief operator of the Taekwon V robot, while he is meditating. Hoon may have more experience and superior fighting skills, but they prove useless as a defense against the ray of force is emitted from Golden Wing’s weapon. After severely beating Hoon, Mutant takes his form and proceeds to steal Robot Taekwon V. He uses it to attack the headquarters of Team Golden Wing and crushes their buildings to rubble under the robot’s massive feet.

His plan to sow animosity between the two teams fails because of the unexpected appearance of Golden Wing 1. Mutant is saved from being captured by the arrival of the Thunder Bird which snatches him up to return him to the Tower of Babel. However, this does allow the robot teams to track their enemies back to their lair where the battle truly begins. Hoon and Yeong-hee operate Robot Taekwon V very effectively. Tincan Robot, aka Yeong-hee’s little brother with a kettle on his head, handles himself well using his pepper spray against both Mutant and, surprisingly, Titan. Golden Wing 1 flies in for rescues when needed and is instrumental in ending the fight when he goes up alone against the super-computer. And Deuk-shim, in the Golden Wing Robot, dies. Wait, what?

 Yes, you read that right. His giant robot proved to be ineffectual against the threats he was up against. Maybe half the problem was that he was trying to eat an apple during the first half of the fight. However, even when he is actually concentrating on what’s going on, he is useless. He attempts to save Robot Taekwon V from being crushed under the weight of Titan but it takes Tincan Cheol throwing chili powder in the monster’s eye to succeed. He grabs Titan from behind to hold him for his allies to hit, forgetting the amphorous nature of the creature. It easily reverses the hold and squeezes literally flattening the robots mid-section. Deuk-shim shouts at Taekwon V not to be concerned about him and open fire on Titan. Hoon and Yeong-hee agree and the resulting explosion of the Golden Wing Robot kills the monster as well as its driver.

 As usual, the early animated films are fun to watch. Robot Taekwon V still had the look, and more importantly, the feeling of his earlier appearances. References were made to characters and events from earlier movies adding a sense of continuity. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Golden Wing continued. Instead, animators in the seventies and eighties introduced a wide variety of other robots and the teams that drove them. They are for posts at a future date.

 Robot Taekwon V Meets Golden Wing is on DVD however it does not have English subtitles. Just for fun, click the following link (allowing a couple of seconds for it to load) and you can watch and hear the theme songs for both of the titular robots. Click here to watch the clip.

Posted in 1970s, Review | 1 Comment »

Korean Box Office: August 13-15

15th August 2010


Well, after all the controversy and being in front of the rating’s board three times, I Saw the Devil was finally allowed to open in Korea with a rating that allowed those over 18 years old to watch it. However, the high rating and hoopla surrounding its opening seemed to hurt the film as it was unable to take the top spot away from A Man From Nowhere which remains at number one for its second week in a row.  Meanwhile, despite beginning to slip in the box office ranks, Inception has done exceptionally well with nearly five million viewers in Korea.

Of the films opening this coming week, the one I am waiting for is Pyega.  It is one of those ‘mockumentaries’ such as Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activities.  Some websites inaccurately claim that it is Korea’s first such film, but that distiction goes to Mokdugi Video back in 2003 or 2004. Unfortunately, that movie has never received a DVD release and I don’t think was seen outside of Korea–which is too bad. It was low budget, but a well-crafted film with some ‘realistic’ ghost hunting.  You should check out the trailer through the link listed below.


1. Expendables (us)– d. Sylvester Stallone, starring Sylvestor Stallone, Jason Statham

2. Kaiji: Ultimate Gambler (jp)– d. Toya Sato, starring Tatsuya Fujiwara, Yuki Amami

3. Last Airbender (us)– d. M. Night Shyamalan, starring Noah Ringer, Dev Patel

4. Lissi and the Wild Emperor (de)– d. Michael Herbig, voiced by Michael Herbig, Christian Tramitz

5. Magic Chunja (kr)– d. Yoon Yeong-gi

6. Pyega (kr)– d. Lee Cheol-ha, starring Shin Kyeong-seon, Jeon Il-geol

7. Space Chimps 2 (kr)– d. John H. Williams–Korean dubbed version is being released in theaters voiced by Uhm Sang-hyeon, Jeong Jae-hyeon

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