Audience's Choice

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Film info

Director: Kim Jee-woon
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-sung
139mins, 2008

In the course of his ‘normal’ thieving activities in ancient Manchuria, The Weird / Yoon Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho) comes into possession of a mysterious map while robbing a train. The map in question has been sold by an underworld crime boss who has employed a ruthless, vain and insecure bandit, The Bad / Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun), to steal it back, thereby securing both the cash and said map. Tae-goo quickly becomes convinced that the map gives the details of a buried treasure site and excitedly heads off the find the "gold". However, before he can get far he stumbles across The Good / Park Do-won (Jung Woo-sung), a sharpshooter who is in pursuit of Chang-yi to catch him and get the bounty on his head. Unsure of each other’s motivations, the two men grudgingly agree to help each other by catching Chang-yi and finding the treasure before either he or the imperialist Japanese can get to it. And so begins a thrilling, action packed roller coaster ride across Manchuria, complete with motorcycles, where hunter becomes hunted at the drop of a map.

By Paul Quinn

The Man from Nowhere

Film info

Director: Lee Jeong-beom
Cast: Won Bin, Kim Sae-ron
119mins, 2010

Tae-shik (Won Bin) is a mysterious, monosyllabic individual who has been a virtual recluse since the death of his wife. Running a dilapidated pawnshop, Tae-shik’s only real friend is So-mi (Kim Sae-ron), a little girl whose mother is an exotic dancer and heroin addict. When the mother pawns a camera bag in his shop, Tae-shik is totally unaware that it contains heroin that she stole during a drug deal at the nightclub where she works. However, the truth of the situation quickly becomes clear as mobsters come searching for their missing drugs, kidnapping So-mi and her mother in the process. Enraged, and without hesitation, he sets out to make the gangsters pay and save So-mi, the only true friend he has. As poignant as it is thrilling, comes from director Lee Jeong-beom, known for both (2006) and his more recent film (2014).

By Paul Quinn

The Thieves

Film info

Director: Choi Dong-hoon
Cast: Kim Yun-seok, Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Gianna Jun
135mins, 2012

Popie (Lee Jung-jae) and his infamous band of thieves – sexy acrobat Yenicall (Gianna Jun), beautiful safe cracker Pepsee (Kim Hye-soo), muscle man Zampano (Kim Soo-hyun) and long-time thief Chewingum (Kim Hae-sook) – are offered the chance by master criminal Macao Park (Kim Yoon-seok) to travel to Hong Kong to steal the Tear of the Sun diamond from a notorious crime boss. As preparations get underway and the day of the heist approaches, personal histories and animosities begin to surface, too, leaving the success of the entire project hanging in the balance. With an all-star cast and a pulse-pounding plot, was the second highest grossing film of all time in Korea in 2013.

By Paul Quinn