"I've seen nearly 40 Korean films at this point in time, and it definitely left me with a wave of nostalgia after watching it. It is a great movie."
Funny Movie (2002)
AKA: Fun Movie
Director: Jang Kyu-Sung
Producer: Kim Min-Hi, Ahn Young-Jun, Han Ji-Sung
Writer: Son Jae-Gon
Cast: Im Won-Hee, Kim Jeong-Eun, Kim Su-Ro, Seo Tae-Hwa, Park Gyeong-Lim
Running Time: 122 min.
Plot: The 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup is not far ahead. But JapanÕs ultra right-wing group, the Million Men Patriots, are setting up a plot to disrupt the historic soccer match. After going through severely harsh training, the Million Men Patriots finally selects Murakami and a cold-hearted sharp-shooter named Hanako as leaders of the World Cup sabotage team. To carry out their dangerous goal, the clandestine group is dispatched to Seoul. But later on, while pursuing their objective, they keep running into mistakes and even run out of sabotage money. Little by little, they face difficulties in their top-secret mission.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MLINDBER'S REVIEW: Korea's first parody film, Funny Movie, takes all what is great about the genre of parody, and uses it on what is arguably the most robust "new" cinema of the 21st century. Parodies have always shown that a film industry is not only healthy, but has a certain sense of history and nostalgia. While watching Funny Movie, every shot I recognized from another film and every character muddled and mixed together reminded me just how strong the Korean film industry is and of just how much enjoyment I've had since I discovered Korean films two years ago. Be warned, however, that a healthy dose of Korean films is a MUST to enjoy this film.
The film is structured like any other parody film, with a large reliance on sight gags and verbal repartee. The best part about the movie is that nearly every joke plays perfectly, even when the audience is hit over and over again. There are vast amounts of movie references, although the plot is mostly based on a setup similar to Shiri. This time, it is the Japanese that are bent on keeping the Koreas apart, which leads to a number of funny arguments in the film that probably work better if you know some Korean/Japanese history (these jokes play by themselves fairly well, but historical context gives them another level). There are a few slow parts in the movie, but overall, the film juggled the many parts it had to deal with very well.
First-time director Jang Gyu-seong shows that he knows his stuff, as the film is very well put together and the performances are on the mark. Like most Korean films, the production value seems a lot higher than it actually was, which makes the films very nice to watch. There are a number of great scenes, one of my favorites being the conversations and relationship of now former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il. It is so innocent and yet so rewardingly funny at the same time.
I really enjoyed Funny Movie. I've seen nearly 40 Korean films at this point in time, and it definitely left me with a wave of nostalgia after watching it. It is a great movie.
MLINDBER'S RATING: 9/10