Tag Archives: director

I Saw the Devil: South Korea Does it Again!

So recently in the past few years, I’ve been really getting into South Korean films. And not just horror, but action, drama, and

Byung-hun Lee. Complete badass.

suspense/thriller. It all started with The Host (starring my favorite South Korean actor, Kang-ho Song) and has branched into similar movies by director Jee-Woon Kim. And this includes The Good, The Bad, The Weird, A Tale of Two Sisters, The Uninvited, and A Bittersweet Life. And I have just recently added I Saw the Devil, Je-Woon Kim’s latest masterpiece. And I loved every minute of it.

This latest film by Je-Woon Kim is a suspense/thriller with a few elements of twisted gore and horror, the perfect mix if you ask me. Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee), a special agent/detective, has just recently lost his wife was to a brutal murder, not knowing she was pregnant. Upon discovery, Soo-hyeon decides to pursue this serial murderer and get revenge. Once he finds Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi), Soo-hyeon goes hardcore after Kyung-chul with a fury and vengeance that almost seems unfair.

Using his secret agent skills and the aide of a tracking device, Soo-hyeon proceeds to beat the living crap out of Kyung-chul and then admitting him to a local hospital after every beat-down. With no idea why this is happening, a cat and mouse game comes about for the ages. Who will prevail?

Min-sik Choi. Sick and fantastic.

There are some freaking great aspects to this movie. First of all, the mind game that’s created echoes another film that Min-sik Choi starred in, Oldboy. Without a rhyme or reason to this menacing, violent game, people are killed left and right in pursuit of justice and cold-blooded revenge. What’s nice though, is that there’s a clearly defined line between good and evil. You know for certain that Kyung-Chul is evil and Soo-hyeon is good. What changes is the blurred line between the two and who becomes more evil in the end, and also, more importantly, who has the last laugh.

With the pain and emotion behind the actors, both for different purposes, the hidden killer inside

Thank you for a fantastic movie, Jee-Woon Kim.

everyone is unleashed and survival becomes a determining factor after all. With sick and subtle gory scenes, an occasional bare hands brawl, and even some hack and slash action, this movie goes places where normal cops can’t go. To bring in the bad guy and exact your revenge, just how far would you go to do the deed? A definite 10 out of 10.


Neon Genesis Evangelion

I need to say this right now about the original Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is hard to watch. It’s harder to watch dubbed, at least, from my experience it is. I feel the director/writer Hideaki Anno said it best about the show. “It’s strange that ‘Evangelion’ has become such a hit – all the characters are so sick!” And to me, that’s not “sick” in a good way. These characters, to put it better, suck. The main characters of this anime somehow don’t develop as the show progresses. And their back stories and personalities are just as bad. I don’t mean to put down a classic anime, but this show had problems from its inception.

Okay, basic plot. Shinji Ikari, in the first episode, comes to Tokyo-3. He’s there because his father asked him

Shinji. Pouting and whining with no comfort from Rei.

to come. This sounds odd you say? Well it is. Shinji has not seen his father for years, basically they became estranged after his mother’s death. (And Shinji’s father was implicated… sort of… not really… I’m not sure…) His father, one of the creators of N.E.R.V., ¬†has created these “machines” known as Evangelions. EVA’s for short. And these machine’s soul purpose are to destroy Angels. These Angels have been hitting the Earth for the past 15 years. Known as 2nd impact, this Angel that comes to Earth is defeated, but not before major devastation is wrought. And because of the 2nd impact, Earth has been changed and N.E.R.V. and a coalition of countries have been tasked with defending the Earth.

Evangelion. A cast to hate due to their "sick"ness.

And it doesn’t stop there. Just wait til the last 2 episodes. Either it will bore you or fascinate you. Either/or, it will confuse you. In typical mecha WTF fashion, this show will confuse you. And/or frustrate you with its characters. First of all, scum of the Earth #1 is Shinji’s father, Gendo Ikari. He neglects his son, and then doesn’t care if he lives or dies. Quite the father figure. There’s Asuka Langley Soryu, the most annoying German/Japanese girl on the planet. If she’s not berating Shinji with insults and back-handed comments, she’s most likely speaking terrible German (That voice actress has no idea what German is.) And she hates her life. Basically. So that’s another strike against her, among countless strikes. Rei Ayanami is another classically boring character that is hard to comprehend. Her monotone voice (it’s explained) mixed with emotionless conversation makes her scenes hard to watch. Misato Katsuragi is a whorish female major with nothing more to do than worry about others and become promiscuously unsavory. Quite the combo, including a ridiculously sloppy apartment.

And those are just to name a few. And, as I said, the one bane of this show is that none of these characters change throughout the entire anime. Not a one. They all remain in their own worlds of self pity and pettiness until the end. And if that’s what other people got from this show, I’m sure that is also portrayed across the board, subbed or dubbed. I watched the dubbed and pretty much regretted it. It being a 1995 anime, precursor to the golden age of voice actors going on now, these voice actors are hired more for their voices than their acting skills. I will give credit to 2 though. Kyle Sturdivant does a great Greg Ayres impression without even knowing it as Kaworu Nagisa (can’t explain, too far in). And Aaron Krohn does a great job as Ryoji Kagi, Misato’s love interest and all around stud. Everyone else was most likely just in it for the chance to “attempt” to voice act. I’m not quite sure.

The EVAs are cool, I just don't know what to say about the show...

Other than that, I would give the show in total a 5.2 out of 10. The concept, above all, is actually very interesting. I have a soft spot for mecha anime, and this is considered one of the best and most original. It is a classic. But I’m not sure it suits everyone’s taste. And that’s why they re-did the ending and added the movies for a different perspective on Neon Genesis Evangelion. The comments on symbolism and religion are quite prominent. But not until the end. The psychological/philosophical musings became redundant, as it seemed they were just lines to fill time more than actual reevaluations of the meaning of life. But I am interested to see the takes that were made after the original. So we’ll just have to wait a while and see what’s in store. And I’ll make sure to make a review to fill in all my “fans” with. But seriously, if you view my blog weekly/daily, why not subsribe? It’d let me know what people wanna see me review and what people’s interests are. Thanks for reading always, it’s a real treat inviting you to The Abyss.


The Adjustment Bureau

Wow.

It’s been a solid week since the last post and I’m ready to get back into it after a great spring break. Speaking of spring break, I saw The Adjustment Bureau over break. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

This movie is coming from first time director, second time producer, and fifth time screenplay, George Nolfi. Not familiar? Well, this guy is a pro with Matt Damon. He’s written the screenplay for three of Damon’s movies now. (Besides Adjustment, he’s done Ocean’s Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum. Great stuff.) With all this work with Matt Damon, why wouldn’t Nolfi choose Damon for this movie? Besides Matt Damon’s acting chops, he can pull off the occasional (more than that) move in any of his movies nowadays.

This movie is quite great. If I had to compare it to anything, I would call it a more realistic version of Inception, with quite the romance on our hands. David Norris (Matt Damon) is a hood thug turned politician running for senate and seemingly winning. After a scandal, Norris decides to throw in the towel and take a job at a big company instead. And all this after meeting a girl, Elise (Emily Blunt). Months pass and Norris and Elise happen to run into each other on a bus. But was it just chance? Or are there bigger powers at work here?

David and Elise are tossed into a wild chase involving the aptly named “Adjustment Bureau,” giving rise to the question of whether or not we’re actually in control of our own lives. I would beg to differ and argue that some people are destroyed by their fate, but that’s a whole different story.

Okay, so what stood out to me in this movie is the tastefully done special effects, intermingled with great cinematography. The effects aren’t too flashy and all up in yo’ face, they stand respectfully¬† behind the cinematography, as should be expected. With this base, we have on top of that some great acting. Of course, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt. But the two who really sold it for me was Anthony Mackie and John Slattery. Slattery of course gets his acting chops from Mad Men, but what surprised me in this movie is how y0u’re not really supposed to like him, but he still comes off as that cool customer you wish you could be. In direct opposition to him is Anthony Mackie, another Adjustment Bureau agent who has followed Damon throughout his life. Looking back on his career, I’m surprised I’ve missed Mackie, but now I’m sure I’m going to go back and check him out. (i.e. Notorious as Tupac, The Hurt Locker, Freedomland, and Half Nelson.) He’s been doing great work since about 2002, and it’s always great to find those actors who fly below the radar.

Only problem with this movie? TERENCE STAMP. Hollywood has got to stop letting this guy act. Seriously? He takes the most random roles that forces me not to be able to take him seriously. Come on. Yes Man? No sir.

This movie is a good one. With a great script, good direction, and great acting, this movie was made to do well. It leaves you with a great message in a not so familiar way. But you do have to ask yourself, would I change my fate for love? 7.7 out of 10.