masterly master lee

a home for forgotten and famous korean pulp, its heroes, its heroines, and its pulpeteers

No time for watches? 시계위한 시간이 없나?

Master Lee has wondered why most of his opponents in Korea are seriously 빨리빨리 about most things — like hitting the canvas — and yet Korea does not have a watch culture. At least, it doesn’t any more. During the colonial period, both Japanese (Seiko) and American watch manufacturers like Waltham (in the first ad here transliterated in jolly Japanese as “wa-o-ru-sa-mu”) and Elgin (see second insert from Tonga ilbo [Tonga Daily] 21/12/1937) successfully marketed many of their products, primarily pocket watches, to the urban, corporate Korean and Japanese. Read the rest of this entry »

Manchurian Tiger 龍虎對鍊 (1974) review

A title like this sure gets the Master going. Manchurian Tiger… with Han Yongcheol 한용철 aka Charlie Han, the guy who packs a punch and a kick or two. And directed by the dean of Korean action Lee Doo Yong 이두용.  The movie starts out great with Han extorting money from a dubious-looking character. We know we’re in Manchuria because the dubious-looking character is dressed in Chinese-style clothes (let the Master rephrase: cinema Chinese-style clothes). Action then switches to the bad guys (same clothes, mixed with Japanese-style clothes to conveniently identify who’s bad) who are kicking, punching and whipping the bejeezus out of a Read the rest of this entry »

Sunny 님은 먼 곳에 (2008) review

This could not go wrong: here we have the story of a wimun (“consolation visit”) troupe of entertainers traveling to Vietnam, scenes of seedy bars in Korea and Vietnam, 1970s fashion, the veteran actor Chŏng Chinyŏng – who must be credited for one of the best police car pursuit scenes in cinema history (in Green Fish) – director Yi Jun-ik of former The King and the Clown fame, and Su Ae, an actress with a uniquely, stunning natural beauty. At the start of the movie we see Su Ae play a young woman by the name of Suni who finds herself in a very uncomfortable arranged marriage situation. Read the rest of this entry »

Pullip, Dal and Byul to the rescue!

Shopping for nunchucks in Hong Kong in June 2010, Master Lee noted some rather overdressed but cute birds (dare we say wannabe Thunderbirds?) at a shopping mall. Practically preceding the success of limited edition vinyl toys, back in 2003 the Cheonsang Cheonha company launched a line of more exclusive and therefore more collectable alternatives for doll-totin’ toddlers, girlies and geeks, the Pullip. Read the rest of this entry »

Ouip, Derby Cat, Dunny or Qee?

Vinyl/designer toys are limited edition collectible toys usually with humanoid shapes that are most commonly produced in sizes 2.5~3″ or 6~8″. They often constitute customized variations of a given standard, with a sense of pseudo-individualism that would make Adorno proud. In many ways all forms of art rely on conventions, of course, but one could argue that as with manga, in the realm of vinyl art creation through imitation is the rule.  Read the rest of this entry »

When Taekwondo Strikes 跆拳震九州 (1973)

Classic Taekwondo movie starring the great Jhoon Rhee (李俊九) and Angela Mao. Set during the colonial period, it tells of the tribulations Koreans went through at the hands of the merciless Japanese occupier. Some, however, fight back using Taekwondo. Now, for those who grew up watching Olympic Taekwondo, this may sound like a lost cause, but proper Taekwondo Read the rest of this entry »

The Jaws Of The Dragon aka The Fierce One (1976) review

Master Lee likes movies with James Nam because he’s such a good bad guy. So, what to think of a movie which he not only directed, but also stars in as the main good guy? Well, fortunately, the good guy here is a criminal, so James Nam can be as bad ass as he wants to be while staying in character. Read the rest of this entry »

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