- FILM & PEOPLE
- K-Cinema Library
Feb 10, 2020
- Writerby Pierce Conran
2013｜134 MIN | Crime, Action
DIRECTOR PARK Hoon-Jung
CAST LEE Jung-jae, CHOI Min-shik, HWANG Jung-min, PARK Sung-woong
RELEASE DATE February 21, 2013
CONTACT Contents Panda
Tel +82 2 3490 9300
Fax +82 2 6902 0286
Two years after his little-seen period chamber piece The Showdown (2011), Director PARK Hoon-jung, who had drawn a lot of attention for the scripts he penned for KIM Jee-woon’s I Saw The Devil (2010) and RYOO Seung-wan’s The Unjust (2010), truly cemented his place in the industry with his sophomore film New World (2013), a star-studded and electric gangster drama that gleefully wears its local and foreign influences on its sleeve.
Korea’s top crime syndicate, named Goldmoon, falls into chaos when its chairman Seok dies in a suspicious car accident. A secret police operation code-named New World comes into play, looking to intervene in the group’s sudden heated election process. The two main contenders are the number three Jung Chung (HWANG Jung-min) and the number four Jung-gu (PARK Sung-woong), bitter rivals who will stop at nothing to assume the throne. But little do they know that Jung Chung’s influential right-hand man Ja-sung (LEE Jung-jae) is in fact a deep-cover officer for the police, whose identity is known only by two people, including the Detective Gwa-jang (CHOI Min-shik), who will stop at nothing to bring Goldmoon under control.
With slick visuals, colorful dialects and endless backstabbing, New World (2013) follows a proud line of explosive and twisty Korean gangster films, including IM Kwon-taek’s The General’s Son trilogy from the early 1990s, KIM Jee-woon’s A Bittersweet Life (2005) and YOO Ha’s A Dirty Carnival (2006), which is clearly referenced early on with the night time, crossroads incident that sets the plot in motion. But while the DNA of many other prior Korean films can also be felt in Director PARK’s film, PARK Chan-wook’s Old Boy (2003) and I Saw The Devil (2010), the film’s strongest influences stem from foreign genre classics. The mark of Hong Kong cinema in particular, namely Johnny TO’s Election films and the Infernal Affairs series from Andrew LAU and Alan MAK, is unmistakable.
While the interplay between LEE Jung-jae’s bitter and conflicted undercover cop and CHOI Min-shik’s demanding handler form the core of the narrative, the most memorably performances come from the warring Goldmoon chairman candidates, particularly HWANG Jung-min’s larger-than-life Jung Chung, an elastic, dangerous and altogether exhilarating creation. As his rival, PARK Sung-woong put himself on the map with his seething and imposing Jung-gu.
PARK went on to make his most ambitious next, the epic period adventure drama The Tiger (2015), once again with CHOI Min-shik, but following that film’s disappointing result, he returned to more straightforward genre territory for the North Korea-themed serial killer thriller V.I.P. (2017) and scored a major hit in 2018 with the female-led action-drama The Witch : Part 1. The Subversion.