masterly master lee

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

Typhoon 태풍 2005

typhoon.jpgKwak Kyung-taek made millions of friends with his 2001 smash hit Friend 친구 which had all of South Korea imitating Pusan dialect for the next year. With Typhoon he probably lost them all. Allegedly 15 million dollars went into making this melodramatic tearjerker that can’t decide whether it’s going to be a slick action movie with great local backgrounds (Thailand, Russia) or a melodrama about a brother and a sister and a straight-as-lace Navy lieutenant. The result is a waste of the money. Yes, the production values are high and yes, I guess it is fun to see Jang Dong-gun play a formerly North Korean terrorist with emotional problems who turned into a Thai pirate to bomb the Korean peninsula into oblivion. But that’s about it. The script forgets to focus on the tension and excitement and instead chooses for hammed up declarations of frustration and faith by the lead actors. Lee Jeong-jae looks the part as a grown up Davy Crockett in a white starched Navy uniform and accompanying lack of imagination and abundance of nationalist righteousness. But in the end, it’s a very mediocre melodrama on a very high budget. Exactly the opposite of Friend, which was high melodrama and great action on a moderate budget. Typhoon just doesn’t convince and it’s all in the script. With a different emphasis it could have been a kick ass action movie (both leads are great action movie stars) or solid melodrama. Not both at the same time, though. Master Lee is disappointed.

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