Tag Archives: South Korea

Oh My Punch Drunk Boxer

2 Sep

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

North American Premiere

Playing at Fantasia Digital Film Festival 2020 On Demand till Sept 2 (5pm EST). Buy your virtual ticket here.

My Punch-Drunk Boxer ( 판소리 복서) could do with a shorter run time if it wants a knockout at the box office. This film is trying to balance being a rom com and sports drama at the same time. As any trainer will tell you, focus!

This Korean film moves to a beat of its own and it can succeed, had it been broken up to two films than one. It almost copies what the protagonist is up to and moves in time to a style that Byeong-Goo (Uhm Tae Goo), a boxer turned ne’er-do-well, developed when he was at his prime. Sadly, an incident ended his career and now he’s doing menial tasks for gym manager, Mr. Park (Kim Hee-won).

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Jesters or Trickster Spirits? These “Game Changers” Play with History!

23 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Played at Fantasia Festival 2020.
Region 3 DVD is available to order on YesAsia USA and International.


SPOILER ALERT

Newly anointed King Sejo (Hee-soon Park) is quite the pickle in Jesters: The Game Changers. He’s dethroned the former prince, his nephew Danjong, in his rise to power and in order to sully a good reputation, he recruits Deok-ho (Jin-woong Cho) and his gang of talented con artists (Jesters, in this translation) to spotlight all the good he can do.

They use strangely modern techniques to make their special effects. Honestly, it’s these moments which make this film shine. Viewers may scratch their heads at how 15th century Korea has access to electric lights but I figure what they used are smoke and mirrors inside different types of containers to make their illusions. With creative thinking, anything is possible, including projecting Buddha on a cliff side or seeing Deok-ho on an ancient treadmill.

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Leaving Behind that Train to Busan in Peninsula

13 Aug

Peninsula poster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Release Date:
August 7, 2020 (Canada)
August 12, 2020 (USA)

No prior knowledge is needed to enjoy Peninsula (반도) a side story set in a world of Train to Busan. All fans have to know is that most of South Asia has succumbed to the zombie pandemic and nobody is working on a cure to this mystery disease. The Walking Dead is everywhere and the premise is not too different from Robert Kirkman’s epic. Zones of infestation are declared and the timing of this release cannot be any more ironic when considering the current medical crisis happening right now.

Marine Captain Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) could have saved Min-jung (Lee Jung-hyun) and her family who was also fleeing Incheon. However, he chose not to not because there was lack of room, but he was scared. Nobody knew how this deadly virus transmitted. It’s a dog eat dog world in this cinematic universe and it’s also rare to get second chances to right what’s wrong.

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How to Celebrate Hungry Ghost Festival Aug 15th

14 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Ghost Month will reach its perigee on August 15th. At the Hungry Ghost Festival (盂兰盆节), these once human souls are permitted to visit the living world and some may visit their descendents to see how they are doing. On this day, we venerate them with happiness and acknowledge their existence. We save the first row in any performance venue for them to sit there. Anyone who tries may well feel a chill!

This time of the year is a different sort of Halloween. As for what believers can do in preparation is to beware of certain practices lest the spirit attaches itself. This can range from avoiding wearing clothing that is red or black to not killing insects crawling around–they may be someone’s grandparents reincarnated. The best thing to do with the latter is to catch and release the critter outside.

Superstitions aside, some fans of horror cinema may opt to get into the mood. Instead of scaring ourselves silly, we may opt to look at supernatural comedies. My choices have to fit the criteria of how the spirit world interacts with reality. Instead of a top five, I have six on my list. In my culture, we consider this number lucky. Amongst my favourites that are distinctly Asian and PG-13 in tone are:

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Keeping the Faith with Divine Fury at Fantasia 2019, Theatrical Debut & DVD Specs

2 Aug

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Distributor:
Well GO USA

Screening at select theatres (for list, please visit the official website), beginning August 16th, 2019

Official DVD/Blu-ray release November 19th

  • Spoiler Alert

 

Marvel Comic’s Blade and Shang-Chi will never hold a candle to the Divine Fury (사자), a South Korean film which looks like it can upend any supernatural mixed martial art blockbuster any time of this and the next decade. The reason is that it has a solid grounding in creating a hero and it does not waste a whole ton of time (a whole film) doing so. Yong-hu (Park Seo-Joon) lost his father, a police officer who got injured on duty. As a child, he prayed hard to God; he didn’t want papa to die. Sadly, reality bites and he lost his faith.

Twenty years have passed and this young man channelled his anger in his rise to become a champion fighter. He has everything, but he’s still feeling empty inside. When a stigmata forms, he doesn’t know what it means or what to do; he hopes Father Ahn (Sung-Ki Ahn) can provide answers. Instead, what he stumbles into leads into discovering an evil force wants to make a foothold in our reality.

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