Asian Movie Week

SIFF 2002 is almost upon us, and since my current to-watch list is mostly comprised of Asian flicks, I decided to get into the mood with some DVDs.

Jakarta (자카르타, Korea) - This I’d seen before, a light-hearted heist picture involving three separate groups of criminals who hit the same bank on the same morning. It starts off as a rather routine story that doesn’t know whether to be humorous or vicious, and then rolls into a second half flashback sequence that actually ties things up rather ingeniously, and really puts the first half into a completely different light (with more than a few twists along the way). Not perfect, but really entertaining.

My Wife is a Gangster (조폭 마누라, Korea) - A silly gangster flick in which a female mafia boss marries a workaday salaryman in order to fulfill her sister’s dying wish. Nothing deep, but it has some genuine laugh-out-loud moments in addition to a few decent hand-to-hand combat scenes. Probably the first mafia movie I’ve ever seen without a single gun to be seen.

My Sassy Girl (엽기적인그녀, Korea) - This romantic comedy was a huge hit in Korea last year, and apparently based on an actual Korean college student’s blog. It details the romance between said student and a fiery-tempered girl who orders him around and shames him into doing humiliating things. Though this could easily have been painful to watch given the premise, it treats its characters with a sensitive hand and the result is one of the better films I’ve seen in recent memory. I hear Hollywood has acquired remake rights — I can’t imagine what kind of disaster they’ll manage to make out of this one. It doesn’t seem particularly suited to transplantation, and studios aren’t exactly known for sensitivity.

Samurai Fiction (Japan) - A rock ‘n roll/cowboy/samurai flick, if you can believe it, which ended up being much slower than I expected given the box’s claims of Pulp Fiction-inspired direction. The late hour I started watching probably didn’t help; I would like to give it another viewing but I probably won’t be able to before the disc comes due at Scarecrow.

There you have it, my first post in months! We’ll see how long ‘til the next one.

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