One of the key themes of 2013 already seems to be the mainstream (ie American) debuts of some of the coolest and most accomplished Korean directors. I’ve got mixed feelings about this, I’m not sure that ace films like Oldboy, I Saw The Devil, Memories Of Murder, The Host, Thirst or The Chaser would have been any better given more money, internationally known actors or the production erm, consultancy of the Weinstein company.
What I’d really like is for Korean cinema to get the recognition it deserves in the mainstream without having to bend and conform to find a bigger audience. However as we live in a world where most people would rather drink warm sick than contemplate reading subtitles, or sandpaper their eyes rather than enduring a film that features people that they have never heard of before – the chances of this are a bit slim. Being an eternal optimist, I’m hoping that the Korean directors that will be featuring in some of these ten posts won’t have their sensibilities blunted or their visons censored by the bland risk aversion of Hollywood.
First up we have genre maestro Kim Jee Woon, teaming up with veiny republican pensioner Arnold Schwartzenegger for what looks like a kind of neo-western action flick. If you’ve been lucky enough to see The Good, The Bad & The Weird, then you know that Kim can definitely produce something really special in this particular milieu However if you’ve seen the trailer you will also know that The Last Stand involves the comedic stylings of one J. Knoxville.
So lets hope that a really top notch supporting cast, including Forrest Whitaker and Eduardo Noriega, plus a fairly crazy sounding premise (involving a drugs kingpin fugitive trying to bludgeon his way to the Mexican border in an armour plated supercar) provide Kim with the opportunity for plenty of inventive and stylish action, needlessly outrageous violence and bizarrely inappropriate humour. Because thats what we’d get if this was a full-on Korean flick.
The Last Stand is out on January 25th – all details can be found on the IMDB page, and here is the trailer…