Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨)

Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨) – ★☆☆☆☆

Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨)

Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨)

When brothers Jeok-san (Jeong Do-won (정도원) and Heuk-san (Park Geon-gyu (박건규) are caught betraying the mob, the gangsters seek bloody retribution. After beating the brothers to a pulp, the bloodthirsty enforcers decide to gouge out Heuk-san’s eyes before setting him on fire. What the gangsters don’t count on however, is older brother Jeok-san’s insatiable desire for revenge. Stealing an inordinate amount of dynamite Jeok-san targets everyone within the mob, saving those immediately responsible for his brother’s death for last.

Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨)

Dynamite Man is a noir-esque tale

A title such as Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨) conjures images of an entertaining grindhouse B-movie, a chance to exploit some of the more silly genre excesses in a fun, postmodern fashion. Unfortunately however, Dynamite Man is simply an awful, awful film. The revenge thriller is a woefully dull and plodding affair, bizarrely not even fulfilling the basic criteria of the genre by offering inventive scenes of violent catharsis. This is particularly odd given that Jeok-san’s modus operandi is to tie dynamite to the body of his target – begging the questions how, where and why he obtained it – yet rarely is it set off, depriving the audience of even that small spectacle. It is difficult to blame director  Jeong Hyuk-won (정혁원) for such an issue considering Dynamite Man clearly has an ultra-low budget, yet that being the case perhaps an alternative choice would have been more suitable as scenes of revenge are far from satisfactory, while the terrible characterisation make it extremely difficult to care either way.

Jeok-san consults his priest...for an incredibly inordinate amount of time

Jeok-san consults his priest…for an incredibly inordinate amount of time

What are in abundance however are talking heads scenes that go on for excruciating length. One such scene involves Jeok-san talking with his priest for over 20 minutes. With no change in camera shot. Worse still, the dialogue is appalling and laughably cliched. The conversation includes a ridiculously elementary discussion on the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ within a person’s soul as well as childhood memories, one of which involving swimming at a beach, that reduces Jeok-san – the cold-hard serial killer – to tears. Amazingly such sleep-inducing techniques are again employed when Jeok-san visits his brother in the hospital – again for over 20 minutes – as they discuss, amongst other things, their pet puppy. Luckily a few different camera shots are involved during those particular scenes, but the technical prowess is a serious issue throughout the entirety of the film.

The one area of Dynamite Man that is well-crafted are the flashback sequences. Shot in black and white, these scenes contain by far the most competently constructed shots within the film, while their insertion within the story at random junctures is on the right track. Yet even with the flashbacks, unfortunately there is no escaping how amateurish and lackluster Dynamite Man is.

Jeok-san the dynamite man spends time with his dying brother

Jeok-san the dynamite man spends time with his dying brother

Verdict:

A title such as Dynamite Man conjures images of a fun grindhouse B-movie. However the reality is a far cry from such hopes as the film is an utterly woeful attempt at a revenge thriller, one that is not only excruciatingly dull but also technically quite amateurish. While novice director Jeong Hyuk-won does well in constructing flashback sequences, taken as a whole Dynamite Man is a sleep-inducing film and one to be avoided.

★☆☆☆☆

Busan International Film Festival (제18회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Festivals 2013 Reviews
The 18th Busan International Film Festival

BIFF 2013: Korean Cinema Today – Vision

The 18th Busan International Film Festival

The 18th Busan International Film Festival

The Korean Cinema Today – Vision program at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) aims to highlight some of the independent film making talent emerging in 2013.

While the Panorama section explores big budget affairs (see here for the full profile), Vision is often a very exciting category due the fresh and distinctive approach new directors take, while the films themselves are often quite creative due to their low budget nature. Typically, there are a few gems to be found as talented film makers use Vision as a springboard for their careers.

For BIFF 2013, there are a number of interesting works on offer. Several directors make their respective debuts, while there are a surprising number of genre films including gangster, thriller, and comedy, present within. There are also a number of films that tackle challenging social issues such as surrogate mothers, teenage problems, and the experiences of foreign wives.

For profiles of all the films within Korean Cinema Today – Vision, please see below.

Korean Cinema Today – Vision

Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨)

Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨)

Dynamite Man (다이너마이트맨)

Director: Jeong Hyuk-won (정혁원)

Synopsis: Revenge thriller Dynamite Man is director Jeong’s debut film. When two brothers betray their gang, one is brutally tortured. Filled with rage the surviving brother targets those responsible – with dynamite.

Godsend (신의 선물)

Godsend (신의 선물)

Godsend (신의 선물)

Director: Moon Si-hyun (문시현)

Synopsis: Based on an idea by Kim Ki-duk, the film is a modern nativity of sorts. A young girl plans to exchange her baby with a couple, but complications arise from the men in their lives.

Guardian (보호자)

Guardian (보호자)

Guardian (보호자)

Director: Yoo Won-sang (유원상)

Synopsis: In his debut film, director Yoo tells the story of an ex-fireman whose daughter is kidnapped. For the girl to return unharmed, he must do the unthinkable and kidnap a boy for an exchange.

Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Director: Lee Su-jin (이수진)

Synopsis: Student Gong-ju starts a new school, making new friends and becoming involved in after school classes. However when a group of meddling parents discover Gong-ju’s whereabouts, her troubled past is revealed.

Intruders (조난자들)

Intruders (조난자들)

Intruders (조난자들)

Director: Noh Young-seok (노영석)

Synopsis: Receiving a world premiere at Toronto, director Noh’s (Daytime Drinking) Intruders follows a screenwriter who travels into the country to complete his screenplay. Yet when mysterious strangers arrive, violent events are set in motion.

The King of Jokgu (족구왕)

The King of Jokgu (족구왕)

The King of Jokgu (족구왕)

Director: Woo Moon-gi (우문기)

Synopsis: Sports comedy The King of Jokgu tells the story of a team passionate about foot volleyball, a popular past-time in Korea. When their request for a court is rejected, the team fight to make it happen.

Mot (못)

Mot (못)

Mot (못)

Director: Seo Ho-bin (서호빈)

Synopsis: Sung-pil tragically lost his younger sister in a motorcycle accident. Years later, Sung-pil meets the man responsible forcing painful emotions to resurface.

Shuttlecock (셔틀콕)

Shuttlecock (셔틀콕)

Shuttlecock (셔틀콕)

Director: Lee Yu-bin (이유빈)

Synopsis: Following the death of their parents, a huge insurance payout is given to Eun-ju, but when she disappears half-brother Min-jae attempts to find her.

The Stone (스톤)

The Stone (스톤)

The Stone (스톤)

Director: Cho Se-rae (조세래)

Synopsis: When a mob boss losses a game of baduk (Go) to a young prodigy, the two begin to form a relationship as they continue to play each other.

Thuy (안녕, 투이)

Thuy (안녕, 투이)

Thuy (안녕, 투이)

Director: Kim Jae-han (김재한)

Synopsis: Another debut film, Thuy depicts the life of a Vietnamese girl living in the country with her in-laws. When her husband fails to return home, Thuy’s enquiries attract the wrong kind of attention.

Busan International Film Festival (제18회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Festivals 2013