Classic horror theme and martial arts collaboration“Arang” uses a classic theme of the horror genre ― a serial murder.
So-young (Song Yu-Ah), a female detective who has just returned from a suspension, teams up with Hyun-gi (Lee Dong-uk) for a multiple homicide investigation.
The two find that all the murder victims had known a girl who went missing 10 years earlier from a seaside village. When So-young visits the village, she hears a bizarre rumor of a female ghost that appears in a salt store in the village.
The murders continue and So-young suffers nightmares.
“Arang” is the debut film by director Ahn Sang-hun yet it shows the essence of a classic horror flick.
Song’s performance as the film’s female lead, following her bitter horror debut in “Face,” for which she earned bad reviews, has progressed noticeably in the role of the female detective. Lee’s film debut is also moderately successful.
The DVD’s special features, which take the entire running time to 242 minutes, takes advantage of the horror genre by including interviews in which the cast share their favorite ghost stories.
The special feature also includes “Face Over” ― Ahn’s short thriller which won Korea’s Multi-media Award.
It’s somewhat curious how two action gurus came to agree on their combat philosophy for their first film together. Did they decide by imitating Jackie Chan’s acrobatic action or Bruce Lee’s unique style of martial arts. Or did they fight face to face, fist to fist? It’s hard to tell who would have won.
On one hand, Jeong Du-hong, a martial arts choreographer for numerous Korean films, might have won because he’s a natural action man. On the other hand, Ryu Seung-wan, the film’s director and actor, has been directing action films since his debut.
Watching “The City of Violence” by the two actors, these banal questions come to mind. After all the two have distinct characters and tastes of their own when it comes to their action philosophy.
The film begins when Tae-su (Jeong Du-hong), a detective in Seoul, visits his hometown after hearing the news that his old friend has died. As he secretly investigates the death, he is attacked by an enemy. With the help of Seok-hwan (Ryu Seung-wan), he escapes from danger. The two slowly become partners and declare war against their silent enemies.
The film is like an anecdote about the two actors. For those who wonder about the outcome of the film, the film’s special features should be kept a secret. But don’t miss it.
by Park Sang-jun
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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