In Conjunction with the screenings at the London Korean Cultural Center ,we will be featuring reviews of the screenings they hold at the center.
This is the second screening we attended in the first in their series which looks at the film maker and screenwriter Park Hoon-Jung.
Check the the bottom of the page for other films in the Park Hoon-Jung series held at the center.
starring : Park Hee-soon,
Directed By : Park Hoon-Jung
Korean Film Night Review
The showdown is the first film to be directed by screenwriter Park Hoon -Jung ( I saw the Devil ,The Unjust)
After much acclaim for his previous screenplays ,the progress to director was a natural step .
This is our second review in the Park Hoon -Jung series of films being screened by the London Korean Cultural Centre .
It seems at odds that Park's directorial feature went pass with out much acclaim in it's own region.
I always thought a good costume drama would do well in comparison to other films ,as there are far fewer films made in this genre in Korea then say the Gangster and cops stories or even the romantic comedies .
Now I say costume drama ,but of course if your familiar with Park Hoon-Jung's screenplays like I saw the Devil or The Unjust , your no that there's always something more sinister going on.
Set in the time when the Joseon soldiers banded together with the Ming in China to fight against the Ching. Now of course where talking the time of the second Manchurian Invasion of Korea , the rulers of the Joseon dynasty for obvious political reasons aided the Ming with 10'000 Joseon soldiers.
Set in a snow covered Manchuria the film follows the the story of three Joseon soldiers who after a big battle with the Ching are the only survivors .
The three take refuge in a abandoned Inn in a hope to weather the storm get back to Korea.
Now if your expecting to see some non stop action film then you may be disappointed. But in all honesty The Showdown is so much more then that.
After surviving a violent battle in sub zero temperatures the surviving Joseon soldiers ,fight to stay alive in what can only be described as the most devilish blizzard ever.
Myung a General in the Joseon army manages to fight the cold and tired ness only to find his child hood friend ( also a Joseon soldier) out cold but still alive.
With some motivation he manages to get his friend Do-Young to his feet , Do -Young has suffered a leg injury whether because of the snow and cold or whatever we don't really know.
After a persistent push to get to shelter and Myung more or less carrying his friend most of the way the two collapse .
But determination is one thing Myung has and thinking his friend Is gone he relinquishes his feelings and thoughts towards his dead friends body ( or so he thinks) ,but as he set to leave his friend Do-Young comes around much to the surprise of Myung.
In the distance they see a building .there mission is to get there and take shelter.
Thing is the Inn is not empty ,another Joseon soldier ( a foot soldier ) has taken refuge there , the portly figure hoards what food he can find and looks set to sit out the storm and stay put in peace.
But when Myung and Do-Young turn up his plans are scuppered , not only did our portly friend Du-Soo escape the battle and hide ,he now has his superiors breathing down his neck.
Now our three comrades are not exactly the best of friends , Du-soo has already try to chop up Myung when he arrived.
Myung has other things on his mind ,he's worried if Do-young heard what he had told him on his death bed . Why you might ask?
Lets put it this way with Do-young knowing what Myung had said our best friends could become the worst of enemies . What ensues is the plan by the two high ranking Joseon soldiers to encourage the lowly foot soldier Du-soo to help each one of them kill the other. .
Filmed for most part just in the innards of the Inn there's a lot of intrigue and sporadic action as our intrepid trio try to attack each-other, each are pretty tired and injured in some way.
As the time progresses things get more out of hand as where shown the lives of the three with flashbacks from each man’s lives and how they got where they are.
Of course Myung and Do-young have a history ,they where child hood friends ,more so as we find out.
They always say when it comes to betrayal that one should look closest to home. But then when a girl is involved there is always going to be complications.
Our portly hatchet man Du-soo is a man who probably has come of the worst amongst the three. It becomes evident that Myung and Do-Young's consequences are there own doing.
Poor old Du-soo seems to be one who has been persecuted and it's this that has turned him into the untrustworthy paranoid person he is.
Add to this the arrival of Ching soldiers at the Inn ,who are on checks to look for escaping Joseon soldiers.
It makes you wander if the three will make it through the night , kill each-other ,or band together to fight the Ching.
Park Honn-Jung's screenplays look at people put into situations and circumstances that in the end they have no control over .
The Showdown shares many similarities to his previous screenplays , often dealing with betrayal, and people constantly plotting against each-other.
This is no bad thing though. Mainly because of so many different possibilities within life’s puzzle , Park Hoon-Jung keeps you thinking and hoping that maybe you have sussed out where it's all going.
One thing for sure ,the film sure makes you feel the cold as our three try and stay warm. Whilst they deal with their inner conflict.
The action is well done ,but maybe not up to the standard of Ryu-Seung Wan or Kim Ji-woon., but as a first direction The Showdown is a fine film which will leave you thinking .
Score out of Ten = 7
Review date : March 14th 2014.
Reviewer Sertes Nake
|Directed by||Park Hoon-jung|
|Produced by||Kim Soo-jin |
|Written by||Park Hoon-jung|
|Starring||Park Hee-soon |
|Music by||Won Il|
|Editing by||Shin Min-kyung|
|Release dates|| |
|Running time||111 minutes|
Cast and Characters
Park Hee-soon ... Heon-myung
Jin Goo ... Do-young
Ko Chang-seok ... Du-soo
Kim Kap-soo ... No-shin
Jang Hee-jin ... Seo-hyun
Jeon Kuk-hwan ... Dang-soo
Choi Il-hwa ... Do-young's father
I Saw the Devil - 2010- Choi Min-sik stars in the screenplay by Park Hoon-Jung directed by Kim Ji-woon.
The Unjust - 2011- Directed by Ryoo Seung-Wan this Screenplay by Park Hoon-Jung delivers in both action and intrigue.
New World -2013 - Award Winning film by Park Hoon-Jung about Korea's Crime Syndicates .
For more info on the Film Nights held at the London Korean Cultural Center visit their official site by clicking the banner below.