Two films, one producer, a box office fight
“Quick” and “Sector 7” may have many things in common, including the same budget of 10 billion won ($9.1 million) - nearly five times the average - and plots that touch upon issues rarely broached in Korean cinema, but they also share the same producer.
Yoon Je-kyun, the man behind both of the summer blockbusters, is the famed producer and director most well known for his 2009 hit “Haeundae.”
And despite their many shared characteristics, the two films are likely to duke it out this summer to attract more audiences.
“Quick” is an action-packed film about a motorcycle courier who becomes entangled in a plot to deliver bombs and “Sector 7” depicts the crew of an oil drillship that battles a sea monster that has been transformed by a virus.
Released last week, “Quick” was third at the box office as of Wednesday, lifted by its balanced mix of humor, heart-pounding explosions and motorcycle chases.
Despite its rave reviews, “Quick” was initially not a welcomed project by producers, filmmakers or other relevant film industry experts, including special effects and martial arts directors. Most of them believed that it would be impossible to make such a large-scale action film in Korea.
“The film was turned down by Oh Se-young [martial arts director] and Hong Jang-pyo [special effects director] at first,” said Park So-yeon, who promotes the film.
“We kept looking for people who could work with us and Oh and Hong eventually accepted our offer,” Park added.
To make the thrilling crash-and-burn scenes, about a hundred motorcycles and cars were destroyed.
Other than these difficult scenes, the two leading actors of the film also raised eyebrows in the film industry. Lee Min-ki, who plays the role of the motorcycle deliveryman, and Gang Ye-won, who plays a K-pop singer who ends up joining Lee on the mission, are rising stars.
But Lee, who says he enjoys going fast in real life, drives the motorcycle in most scenes by himself without a stunt double, making the movie more realistic.
If “Quick” broadens the scope of motorcycle films in Korea, the release of “Sector 7” is meaningful in Korean film history. Three-dimensional films have become a dime a dozen in Hollywood, but they are still untapped territory in Korea.
The first 3-D attempt in Korea was an erotic film, “Natalie,” last year, but it received harsh criticism for its weird combination of shoddy 3-D effects and erotic plot line.
It took five years including pre-production to complete “Sector 7.” The actors, who had no previous experience in 3-D films, had trouble finishing each scene. In addition, the monster movie genre is still new in Korea.
“I had to explain the monster to the actors because it doesn’t exist on the set. It was the most difficult part for me,” said director Kim Ji-hun at a recent press screening of the film.
“But I believe this film will pave the way for upcoming 3-D Korean films in the future,” Kim added.
Kim is well known for his 2007 hit “May 18.”
A majority of scenes in the film were shot in a studio located in Paju, Gyeonggi, and they were later completed with heavy computer graphics.
“Sector 7” is also unique in that it features a female warrior as the lead, which is hard to find in most Korean films. Actress Ha Ji-won, who played a stunt woman in the drama series “Secret Garden” earlier this year, goes further than that in “Sector 7.”
Ha learned to scuba dive and got a motorcycle license to better express her character, Hae-jun, who spends most of her time at sea.
“I thought it would be awesome if an actress could drive a motorcycle [without a stunt double],” Ha told reporters. “One sure thing is this is the most challenging work I’ve ever done.”
While Ha’s biceps and muscular body even garnered her a new nickname - the Korean Angelina Jolie - Ha also showed a more sensitive side, becoming emotional as she answered questions at the press screening.
Unlike “Quick,” “Sector 7” has established actors including Ahn Sung-ki, Ha Ji-won and Oh Ji-ho.
Both “Quick” and “Sector 7” are available with English subtitles at Myeongdong Station, Guro, Gangnam and Yongsan CGVs.
By Sung So-young [email@example.com]
한글 관련 기사 [일간스포츠]
‘퀵’ ‘고지전’ ‘7광구’ 등 올 여름 한국영화 ‘400억원의 전쟁’
'퀵' '고지전' '7광구' 등 100억원대 한국형 블록버스터들이 베일을 벗으면서 올 여름 한국영화 흥행 기상도가 속속 윤곽을 드러내고 있다.
지난 20일 개봉한 '퀵'과 '고지전'은 26일 하루동안 각각 8만1585명, 8만917명(영화진흥위원회 집계)을 끌어모으며 드디어 일일 관객동원수에서 '해리포터와 죽음의 성물-2부'(7만8910명)를 넘어섰다.
개봉 첫 주였던 지난 주말 박스오피스에서 '해리포터'에 눌려 2~3위에 머물렀던 것에 비하면 고무적인 성적이다. 마치 '써니'의 흥행곡선을 연상시킨다. 각각 총제작비가 100억원과 140억원이 들어간 대작이어서 서서히 꿈틀거리기 시작한 흥행 뒷심이 반갑다.
'퀵'의 투자·배급을 맡은 CJ E&M의 이상무 본부장은 "첫 주에는 다소 기대에 못 미쳤으나 26일부터 매우 고무적인 수치를 보이고 있다"며 "코미디에 긍정적인 10~20대 관객들이 더 많이 극장으로 유입되면서 일일 관객수가 1위로 올라섰다"고 설명했다.
하지원 주연의 3D 액션 '7광구'(8월 4일 개봉)도 26일 시사회를 통해 처음 공개됐다. 이 작품 역시 110억원 가량의 제작비가 투입된 작품이다.
하지만 당초 기대에 비해 아쉬운 대목이 많다는 평가다. 싸움이 진행되는 과정에서 괴물이 서서히 변화하는 모습에선 차별화를 꾀하려는 감독의 노력이 엿보였으나 대체로 평이했다. 드라마도 단조로워서 긴장감을 떨어뜨렸다. 관객들의 호응 여부가 미지수로 남았다. 그나마 주연 여배우 하지원의 활약이 돋보였다. 엔딩 30분 가량을 '나홀로' 이끌며 최고의 여전사 이미지를 보여줬다.
90억원이 투입된 '최종병기 활'(8월 11일 개봉)은 올 여름 마지막 흥행신화를 노린다. 인기 드라마 '추노'의 천성일 작가가 각색에 참여한 것으로 알려져 스크린의 '추노' 탄생을 예고하고 있다.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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