Korean Movie Night NY: “Veteran”

 

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“Veteran” is an action comedy film directed by Ryoo Seung-wan and produced by Kang Hye-jung and Kim Jung-min. Known for his socio-political action films such as “Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance” and “The Berlin Files”,  Ryoo Seung-wan’s “Veteran” is his first film in the cop thriller genre. Humorous and intricate, there is still the socio-political theme incorporated in the plot with a good balance of drama and comedy. The film begins with a undercover cop operation of a international auto theft, then escalating into a battle against the Sun Jin Group corporation already under public scrutiny.

The conflict begins when Detective Seo Do-cheol (Hwang Jung-min) meets Tae-oh (Yoo Ah-in), the son of the executive of the Sun Jin Group, during a friend’s party. After the awkward confrontation, Detective Seo Do-cheol begins to suspect Tae-oh when he receives a call from Mr. Bae’s son, a truck driver who assisted during the auto theft investigation. Mr. Bae had suffered life threatening injuries and is in a coma due to mysterious circumstances. Detective Seo Do-cheol takes it upon himself to find the truth and justice for his friend. Mr. Bae’s son account gives Seo Do-cheol the first tip to investigating the corporation. However, Tae-oh’s middleman, Managing Director Choi (Yoo Hae-jin) keeps hindering his investigation.

With a balanced amount of humourous cliches, intense action and an intricate web of characters, the director is able to show the perspectives of both sides of the case with enough information to understand the backstory of the main characters. The director is also able to portray everyone’s state of mind, gambling their reputations and lives. It is a thought provoking film just like his previous works. This time, he portrays the facilitation of corruption in society where powerful influences overwhelm the importance of morality and justice. It’s thought provoking because he is able to show how these influences can impact anyone in society directly or indirectly regardless of socioeconomic class. The difference from his previous work is that he adds humour rather than making it a psychological horror or tragedy. He still maintains the psychological aspect for certain characters to add persona and to demonstrate how these situations can occur in reality. The action itself is full car chases and high flying kicks with fantastic acting, making the film emotionally intense, invigorating and intriguing.

“Veteran” debuted in NYC’s AMC Theater on September 21st and premiered at the Asia Society’s “Free Korean Movie Night” November 03rd. “Veteran” will also be screened at the 13th Annual Korean Film Festival featuring the director himself!

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