masterly master lee

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

Anarchists 아나키스트 2000

anarchists1.jpgAs opposed to Korean- Japanese co-productions, Korean-Chinese productions usually work out. The first such co-production ever, Anarchists is a typical coming-of-age gangster movie, but with anarchists instead of gangsters. Set in 1920’s Shanghai it tells the story of a tightly knit group of übercool Korean anarchists who have joined countless other Koreans in exile in China. There they continue their struggle against the Japanese colonizers. And boy, do they do so in style! Connoisseurs of the gangster movie, in particular the Korean gangster movie, will recognize the group’s internal dynamics, the background stories of the individual members, the betrayal rampant everywhere and the predilection for the use of the knife in one-on-one fights. The story is told by the young Sanggu, played by Kim In-kwon 김인권, who is despite his young age a regular in gangster flicks. The other actors also have highly respectable pedigrees as movie gangsters. Nihilistic and cool Jang Dong-gun 장동근, invincible fighter Lee Beom-soo 이범수, cool and consumptive mastermind Kim Sang-joong 김상중 and even romantic Jeong Jun-ho 정준호 convincingly portray four very different anarchists who are only in their element while hatching and executing nefarious plots involving lots of bombs, machine guns and knives. Sanggu has fled Korea after the murder of his family and is determined to avenge them by killing Japanese. In the group of anarchists he meets he has found the right persons to guide and teach him just how to knife or bomb an enemy effectively and silently. Together the five anarchists try to survive the treacherous world of illegal activities and decide to assassinate a high-ranking Japanese, while the young Sanggu acts as their chronicler and provides us with an omniscient voice-over.

anarchists.jpgAnarchists is plain and simple very good pulp. Higher than usual production values (the team responsible for Chen Kaige’s Temptress Moon set in the same period in Shanghai was responsible for the sets and decors), very cool and interestingly evolving characters, a beautiful nightclub singer, great action that’s slightly over-the-top but never too much and a script that entertains but doesn’t get in the way of the characters: it’s fun from the beginning to the end. Don’t look for any real emotional depth or historical truth: everything in the movie serves the characters and their cool styles of fighting, bombing and robbing. But these amply suffice. Master Lee was entertained.

No comments yet»

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: