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The Pirates (2014)

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Movie: The Pirates (해적: 바다로 간 산적)
Release Date: August 6, 2014
Runtime: 130 min.
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Country: South Korea

Plot
Set during the time when Korea is being founded as a country, this movie is an epic swashbuckling adventure of pirates and bandits trying to retrieve the Royal Seal from a giant whale.

Main Cast:
Kim Nam Gil – Jang Sa Jung
Son Ye Jin – Yeo Wol
Yu Hae Jin – Chul Bong
Lee Kyoung Young – So Ma
Kim Tae Woo – Mo Hong Gab

Review
Never thought to see a pirates movie from Korea and it somehow worked. I think it took a lot of inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean but still distinctively Korean. However, with the ridiculous premise of the royal seal getting swallowed by a whale, I was expecting more comedy action than serious action. With Kim Nam Gil, Yu Hae Jin, Kim Won Hae in the cast, they could have used their comedic skills to put some fun in this drama. Like Robin Williams’ Hook.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this immensely, even with the silly plot. I have watched more Son Ye Jin dramas and movies where she is crying or getting romantic so it’s a nice change for me to see her to action (I know she can do action, just haven’t watched them). This movie is made up of a stellar cast, I didn’t name them all in the main cast section, just the main leads and the baddies.

The movie is quite long, the first part gave a background to set the expectations and motives of the story, the second part is how the two separate lives of Sa Jung and Yeo Wol get entangled together, and the third act is where everyone comes together to have an epic battle on the high seas. There was also a mini romance between Sa Jung and Yeo Wol which was inserted in and which I loved.

Overall, fun adventure movie good for a rainy Friday night!

Rating: 8/10

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Always (2011)

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Movie: Always (오직 그대만)
Release Date: October 20, 2011
Runtime: 108 min.
Distributor: Showbox
Country: South Korea

Plot
A love story between a struggling boxer and a blind woman. Can they beat the odds and have a happy ever after or are they destined to have a tragic ending?

Main Cast
So Ji Sub – Cheol Min
Han Hyo Joo – Jung Hwa

Review
So Ji Sub really makes sad tortured souls with a heart of gold look so dreamy. or maybe I am just a big fan of him. I couldn’t stop staring at his eyes, brushing his messy hair and hug him and say “It’s alright”.

Jung Hwa is lucky she meet a decent guy who didn’t care if she was blind, and didn’t take advantage of her. It was just a bonus that Cheol Min was handsome and sexy.

I actually didn’t expect a happy ending since Korean movies tend to go darker than Kdramas. I really thought Cheol Min will sacrifice himself by donating his own eyes to Jung Hwa because he felt guilty that he indirectly caused the accident that made her blind. Maybe because I just recently re-watched this super classic music video of Kiss – Because I’m a Woman. LOL.

I can’t say I agree with Cheol Min’s idea to pay for Jung Hwa’s surgery but I guess that’s the best that he could do given the situation. And him not contacting Jung Hwa after was understandable since he was also in pain and needed to recover.

That scene when Jung Hwa finally recognized Cheol Min made me also cry and I’m so happy when they met again!! Cheol Min accepted Jung Hwa as she were, and likewise, Jung Hwa is there to support Cheol Min too. I believe they are still together now, and still very happy!

Rating: 8.5/10

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New Year Blues (2021)

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Movie: New Year Blues (새해전야)
Release Date: February 10, 2021
Runtime: 114 min.
Distributor: Acemaker Movie Works
Country: South Korea

This is a story of 4 different couples a week before New Year. The movie is quite long, clocking in at almost 2 hours. Halfway I was started to get a little bored because the story kept switching between the 4 couples. I think 4 was too much. This would have been better if there were only 3 couples that we needed to focus on.

My fave couple was Kim Kang Woo and Yoo Inna (or maybe I’m just biased towards Kangwoo 😊). I like the gruff bodyguard and sweet female couple.

My fave story/ending was Lee Dong Hwi and Chen Du Ling plus Yum Hye Ran as the sister. I also cried when Dong Hwi’s character was confessing to his fiance. and laughed when he came out of the drum.

The most romantic setting is Lee Yeon Hee and Yoo Yeon Seok in Argentina although their story seems out of place. (Sidenote: why does Yeonhee keeps going abroad when she gets heartbroken lol) and the funny cameo of Choi Siwon.

The one I was confused because I didn’t know why they were fighting in the first place was Yoo Teo and Choi Soo Young’s characters. They seemed to be okay, I think it was more on guilt from the guy’s side.

Overall it was a nice holiday film.

Rating: 8.5/10

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The Terror, Live (2013)

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Movie: The Terror Live (더 테러 라이브)
World Premiere: July 26, 2013 (PiFan)
Release Date: August 1, 2013
Runtime: 97 min.
Genre: Suspense-Thriller / Media
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Country: South Korea

Cast:
Ha Jung Woo – Yoon Yonghwa
Lee Kyung Young – Cha Dae Eun
Jeon Hye Jin – Park Jung Min
Kim So Jin – Lee Ji Soo

Review:
A gripping thriller from start to finish!! I was so tense, i didnt know how this would end. 🥺

A guy called up Yoon Yeonghwa’s radio program threatening to bomb the Mapo Bridge and he did! Instead of reporting to police, Yeonghwa instead tried to talk to the caller for an exclusive coverage. Will they be able to find the caller before he kills more people?

The whole movie takes place in Yeonghwa’s radio show. Ha Jung Woo is always amazing 🥰

Of course there are a lot of unbelievable events like how the terrorist was able to plant so many bombs everywhere, and even the twist of who it was, was.. not so surprising, but more on disbelief on my side. There also wasnt enough background about the terrorist to feel sympathy for him or understand how he planned everything. The voice was so familiar that i was surprised when the real culprit was shown. Turns out #KimDaeMyung was the voice actor!!

It also makes you think if you were Yeonghwa, what would you have done? How can you resolve the terror while minimizing the damage? I still think the terrorist was wrong but i can understand why he did it. And the last thing that Yoon Yeong Hwa did 🤯

Rating: 9/10

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The Call (2020)

Movie: The Call (콜)
Release Date: November 27, 2020
Runtime: 114 min.
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Main Cast:
Park Shin Hye – Kim So Yeon
Jun Jong Seo – Oh Young Suk
Kim Sung Ryung – So yeon’s mom
Park Ho San – So Yeon’s dad
Lee El – Young suk’s mom

Review:
Scary!! The movie is about a girl who is able to communicate to a girl who used to live in the same house using an old wireless phone. Just when she thought she saved her from being killed by her stepmom, turns out she unleashed a monster.

I was loving the movie until that gas explosion scene and the story went downhill very very fast.

I’d blame this with the main protagonist who I thought was dumb. Everything that happened to her happened because she made too many stupid decisions.

And the while parallel universe logic was too simple and unbelievable. Everything changes in the future but its only physical. She never gets the memories from the past and that knowledge to help her win against the girl.

And that final twist at the end was too much. I almost didn’t see it because I thought the movie was over and wasn’t paying attention. I’d say they should have scrapped it.

Rating: 7.5/10