Hong Kong Digital is sponsored by Poker Industries. Please see the Hong Kong Digital home page for a special offer from Poker Industries to Hong Kong Digital readers.

Issue #133 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES November 11th, 2002

(2001; Bear Entertainment)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Korean: Hyu meo ni seu teu

Ma Tae-ho (MY WIFE IS A GANGSTER's Ahn Jae-mo; click here for a still) is the layabout son of an affluent retired general (ATTACK THE GAS STATION!'s Park Young-kyu), a staunch Catholic who actually pays Tae-ho to attend church with him every Sunday. His only "friends" (who are more like paid hangers-on and have been since they met as children) are Euglena (ATTACK THE GAS STATION!'s Kang Seong-jin), a sadistic nutcase who lost his testicles when a ravenous wolf attacked him as a child, and Amoeba (THE FOUL KING's Park Sang-myeon), a brain-damaged manchild. While driving under the influence, Tae-ho accidentally kills a traffic cop who was trying to arrest him. Instead of hauling Tae-ho in, the dead man's partner decides to blackmail him for $300 million won (US$244,000). Tae-ho is unable to get the cash out of his father and concocts a plan to kidnap him, with the help of Euglena and Amoeba. Things immediately go awry, resulting in an additional hostage, a mutilated body, and murderous betrayals in the making.

This South Korean black comedy revels in the kind of excess that has become a regular feature of Takashi Miike's work but, ultimately, never approaches the same heights of deranged inventiveness. Co-writer/director Lee Moo-young (who also appears in the movie as a reporter) occasionally finds the right note but the parade of bad taste (a foul-smelling beggar with a rotting, maggot-filled leg, Amoeba drinking "Shit Water" to cure himself after a beating, characters graphically puking, a nun with a hick accent everyone makes fun of, etc) evokes few genuine laughs and the jabs at Korean society are either too obscure for a Western viewer or too obvious for the satire to really work.

Cover art courtesy Bear.

Park Sang-myeon (left) and Kang Seong-jin. Image courtesy Bear.
SRE/Bear (No Catalog #) (South Korea label)

Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0

Sync Sound Korean Language

Optional English Subtitles

24 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Stills

Letterboxed (1.70:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

NTSC Format

100 Minutes

Contains brutal violence, brief nudity, mild sexual content, coarse language, and crude content

DVD menu courtesy Bear.

South Korea: 18

The dual layer disc looks sharp and colorful and the stereo mix is strong, with excellent separations. Some mild distortion is evident in spots but is not a major distraction. Plenty of untranslated extras here: a trailer and two TV spots, cast and crew profiles, a music video, the 17 minute electronic press kit (which is just a few scenes from the movie strung together), and a 9 minute "Making Of..." featurette (consisting entirely of behind-the-scenes video footage). There are also trailers for KANZO SENSEI (aka DR. AKAGI), PONETTE, THREE WISHES (actually just an American TV spot), and A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT.

is available at Poker Industries.

Having problems printing this review with Netscape? Go to the File option in the Netscape Task Bar, click the Page Setup from the sub-menu and make sure that in the Page Options listings, the Black Text box is clicked. This should resolve the "no text" printing problem.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com