ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – S – Seoul Station (2016)

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Writer: Sang-ho Yeon (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Seung-Ryong Ryu, Fanciska Friede, Joon Lee, Sand-hee Lee

 

Plot: Several groups of people try to survive a zombie pandemic that unleashes itself in downtown Seoul.


Tagline – The animated prequel to TRAIN TO BUSAN

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Prequel

 

Story: Seoul Station starts as we see a homeless man injured and ignored around the station, we move off to see Hye-Sun who along with her boyfriend Ki-woong have been struggling for rent, forcing him into attempting to pimp her out, when her father Suk-gyu discovers this, he heads to Seoul to save his daughter.

Soon the homeless dies, but he doesn’t stay dead, turning into a zombie, it isn’t long before the zombie plague hits Seoul and Suk-gyu must work with Ki-woong to locate his missing daughter and escape the city before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Seoul Station

 

Characters – Suk-gyu is the father searching for his lost daughter, he knew she ran away and now he gets the chance to come and save her from the seedy underworld her boyfriend wants to put her in, only to become the real saviour against the zombies. Hye-Sun is the runaway daughter, she struggles to keep the rent coming and after her argument with her boyfriend wanders the streets alone just as the zombie outbreak starts. Ki-woong is the boyfriend who seems to be a slacker spending more time in the internet cafes over supporting his girlfriend, he is forced to work with Suk-gyu to find Hye-Sun.

StoryThe story here follows three main characters who are trying to survive a zombie outbreak in the big city of Seoul, this is a prequel to Train to Busan and shows us how the outbreak started to spread. The story keeps the attempts of a father trying to save his daughter the focal point in this film, this gives us two main characters to support and hope see get reconnected after she had run away from home at a young age. We also get to see a father and new boyfriend interact with the tension you would expect from this. This isn’t anything ground breaking for the zombie genre and by being animated we get to increase the scale of everything which does help show how a big city would cope with the panic of a sudden outbreak.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the zombie outbreak, the zombie behaviour will always work for horror and the idea that nowhere is as safe as it should be only adds to the horror in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Seoul which is one of the locations the train goes through in Train to Busan, the scale of the city shows us just how a big population would react to an outbreak.

AnimationThe animation used in the film is great to see, we get to see each bloody wound suffered through the outbreak.


Scene of the Movie –
Third act twist is shocking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Shut the bloody doors.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great prequel to put us in the world of Train to Busan, we get to see just how conflicted people can become and just follow one small story in the bigger picture makes us interested to learn more.

 

Overall: Great fun animation.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – P – The Piper (2015)

Director: Kim Kwang-Tae

Writer: Kim Kwang-Tae (Screenplay)

Starring: Goo Seung-Hyeon, Seung-ryong Ryu, Woo-hee Chun, Joon Lee, Sung-min Lee

 

Plot: Shortly after the Korean war, a father and a son are wandering through the country and make a stop in a remote village, where strange and dangerous happenings occur.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Keeps Getting Better

 

Story: The Piper starts with the father (Seung-ryong) and his son Yeong-nam (Seung-Hyeon) travelling through the mountains in the aftermath of the Korean war. With the father being a musician and his son being sick, they are looking for a new home, they come across a remote village where Village Head (Sung-min Lee) lets them stay th night.

As the night unfold the Father learns of a rat problem in the town and offers to use his musical talent to lead them away, but soon he learns about the superstitions mindset of the people in the village which puts both him and his son in danger.

 

Thoughts on

 

Characters – The father is doing everything he can to keep his son alive, he will work on any job which the village offers him, he has a musical side which helps him become welcoming to strangers as well as offering an escape for the rats and other animals. He believes he is doing good, but soon learns the danger he has put his son in. Yeong-nam is the son of the Father, he is sick with a lung disease, he wants to help his dad the best he can, which does involve getting into trouble. The Village Head offers him a place to stay while he son can be saved, he makes a deal, he has power over the rest of the village which becomes the weakness that the Father fails to see. Mi-sook is the single woman in the village, blessed with spirit coming to save her, she starts helping the Father who see the danger coming.

PerformancesThe cast do give us good performances through the film, the lead shows the heart and desperation he needs, while the villain shows his plans as they could bring down everything.

StoryThe story here starts of pretty routine, a father trying to keep his son safe and healthy, it turns into a good deed before a hell breaks loose and it turns into a twisted horror movie. The pace of the movie is strange because it is slow to start with as most of the first hour is calm with an air of tension, the second half of the film we learn secrets and twists come thick and fast to make this a wonderful story to see unfold in the second half of the film. it gets dark which helps save the slow start too.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is brilliant in the second half of the film we have gore and tension blending together wonderfully, the mystery comes from just what is meant to be going on in the village as we learn early there is some form of secret behind everything.

SettingsThe settings keep us in this remote village which shows how superstition can grab hold off villagers making them make bad decisions.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are strong through the film as we see effects of different events, but at times the number of rats we see does feel CGI heavy.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too low of a start.

Final ThoughtsThis is another enjoyable Korean horror, sure it doesn’t reach the levels of others, but it gets the horror down to the level we want to for a final showdown.

 

Overall: Good horror throughout

Rating

 

 

Psychokinesis (2018)

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Writer: Sang-ho Yeon (Screenplay)

Starring: Seung-ryong Ryu, Eun-kyung Shim, Jung-min Park, Yu-mi Jung, Yeong-gi Jeong, Do-yoon Kim

 

Plot: After drinking water from a mountain spring, a bank security guard gains telekinetic superpowers, which he must use to save his estranged daughter from an evil construction company, as a superhero.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Spin on Superpower Movie

 

Story: Psychokinesis starts when entrepreneur chef Roo-mi (Shim) loses her mother in an attack by construction workers, her only family is her estranged father Seok-hyeon (Ryu) a bank security guard. When the two are united Seok-hyeon learns the struggles Roo-mi is facing and wants to help, only to discover he has gain psychokinetic abilities from drinking spring water.

Lawyer Kim Jeong-hyeon (Park) is trying t battle the company on the legal front and Seok-hyeon is going to start using his abilities to fight the construction company led by the evil Min (Kim), how far can his new superpower take him.

 

Thoughts on Psychokinesis

 

Characters – Seok-hyeon is a bank security guard, he isn’t a good example as he steals work supplies, arrives late for work and drinks heavily. He must face his past when his estranged daughter calls him, while dealing with this new ability he has gained. This does give him a chance to reconnect and make amends for his past errors. Roo-mi is entrepreneur chef that has made her own business that has made national news, she however is targeted by a construction firm that want her property which leads to her needing to reconnect with her father. She doesn’t easily accept him back after walking out on the family and wants to solve the problem herself. Kim Jeong-hyeon is a young lawyer trying to help Roo-mi with her problem and the people in the local area, he wants to keep the case clean while also look at a love interest in Roo-mi.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good throughout, Seung-Ryong Ryu in the leading role does make us understand the heartache he felt and will live with even before the battle, Eun-kyung Shim is good too showing us a strong young woman character with the rest of the cast getting their moments in the spotlight when required.

StoryThe story here shows the battle between a construction company and the people’s whose home and businesses they want to take. This is the core of the film, but we do have another element thrown into the mix, a man that has gained superpowers that needs to make amends for walking out on his daughter. The story gives us part origin story, part family rebuilding and part greed of the businesses.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action isn’t as heavy as you would imagine with most of the best sequences being saved for the final act, the fantasy side of the film uses the idea of first discovering superpowers in the origin style we know from the comic book movies.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different worlds the characters are living in, the struggles of the ones about to get evicted, the one Seok-hyeon comes from and the construction team that want to develop on the land.

Special EffectsThe effects seem good for the most part and then the final act happens and we get the full powers being shown which doesn’t come off looking that great.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy side to the ability doesn’t work.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good spin on the superpower movie, we have seen countless comic book movies, but this one keeps the idea based in reality, which is a nice thing to see.

 

Overall: Superpower movie tipped upside down.

Rating