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Guest Daisho2004

A Bittersweet Life (2005)

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Guest Daisho2004

Has anyone heard of this movie? It is new from Korea, sounds really good, I ordered my copy off ebay so I will post a review after I got a chance to watch it.

A Bittersweet Life,’’ starring Lee Byung-hun from ``Everybody Has a Little Secret’’ and Shin Mina from ``Madeleine,’’ portrays the desperate and brutal revenge of Sun-woo (played by Lee) after he is expelled from his gang and comes close to being killed by his boss.

Lee Byung-hun is a hitman who falls for the girlfriend of his boss in the stylishly violent “A Bittersweet Life.†Conventional ideas of causation are put into doubt in director Kim Jee-woon's twist on film noire. ``A Bittersweet Life (Talkomhan Insaeng)'' is what Korean critics are describing as ``Action Noire.'' In it, he tweaks the traditional Korean gangster story line, presenting a work with film noire undertones and stylish cinematography.

Sun-woo (Lee Byung-hun) is a revenging dark angel dressed in black. Gang leader Kang (Kim Young-cheol) assigns Sun-woo, his right-hand man, to watch after his nubile girlfriend/professional cellist Hee-soo (Shin Mina) while he is away and find out about the other guy with whom he suspects she is messing around.

The plot is complicated by Sun-woo's existential decision to stray from the explicit instructions with which he is charged. He is cryptically told time and again to make good on a promise, but he never exactly know what that is.

Much of the action occurs in the long shadows the sprawling megapolis Seoul casts. Here, the gangsters wish they were too cool to be killed. No friend can really be trusted as the good guys are not so good and the bad guys can be down right evil. Importantly, the motivation of his tormentors is shrouded in mystery.

But the movie has been labeled ``action noire'' for a good reason. The stylistic ultra-violence of director Kim is superb. The creepy fisherman killer represents a unique Korean twist on the classic film noire villain. Our hero is not a good, good guy either, and I loved that about him. He is not only tough, but also a stone-face killer _ a tribute to both the director and actor's character interpretation.

After all, gangsters should fight to kill, and that means sometimes going for the knees and other joints, hitting low and dirty to take the guy out quick. In general, the fight scenes were creative. Watch for the face-dragged-across-the-cinderblock-wall scene, perhaps a first for cinematic violence.

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Guest 1budz4u

This movie played at last years Hawaii Film Festival with Lee Byung Hun making a appearance after the movie. I won't be a spoiler but I'd be curious to see your interpetation of the movie. A friend of mine had a different view on the movie compared to me.

This movie is bloody and violent so it does fall correctly into the category of gangster movies. I'm sure you'll enjoy this film. :D

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Guest Daisho2004

OK I got to watch this movie tonight and all I can say is it was Great. This is a must have to add to any collection of Gangster movies, with Revenge in mind.

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Guest Tosh

I very muched liked this movie, it's very violent and unforgiving, the score is perfect, and Lee Byung-hun gives an oscar winning preformance, right now the Koreans are showing the world how to make a good gangster/revenge movie.

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Guest Daisho2004

Yakuza954, you need to pick this movie up, you'll really like it if you like Gangster movies.

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Guest Yakuza954

lol, I was just messing around. I think I saw it 1 day after it was originally released on Korean DVD. One of the best Korean films.

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Honestly i thought this was painfully pretentious with a cliche plot that i've seen in a million or so straight to hbo movies. Some decent action surely, but i don't understand why everybody goes so crazy over it. A stoic hitman/gangster feels sympathy/love for his target, disobeys his boss' orders and subsequently is in odds with his own employers - for christ sake this is so redundant it was used as a plot for an r.kelly video in 1996. Don't get me started on the random shots of branches in the wind, right up there with the floating shopping bag from American Beauty.

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I thought it was wonderful - it had great action, comedic moments, and I loved how it tied into the Buddhist parable that was narrarated in the beginning and end of the movie. I hope to get a copy of this soon...

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The story wasn't all that but the style was appreciative and so was the acting and violence (brawls, guns). Overall, a good but not great imo.

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'A Bittersweet Life' has been my favorite Korean movie pretty much since I first saw it in a UK cinema way back in 2006. Now 7 years later, it was shown as part of the Korean Culture Office's 'Cinema on the Park' weekly movie screening here in Sydney, of which this month is 'Gangpae Life' month! I was also lucky enough to be asked to introduce it, so I was happy to oblige! I've never actually reviewed it before, so I thought it's about time to post my thoughts, check them out here -

http://koreanfilmfestivalinaustralia.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/review-bittersweet-life-2005.html

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'A Bittersweet Life' has been my favorite Korean movie pretty much since I first saw it in a UK cinema way back in 2006. Now 7 years later, it was shown as part of the Korean Culture Office's 'Cinema on the Park' weekly movie screening here in Sydney, of which this month is 'Gangpae Life' month! I was also lucky enough to be asked to introduce it, so I was happy to oblige! I've never actually reviewed it before, so I thought it's about time to post my thoughts, check them out here -

http://koreanfilmfestivalinaustralia.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/review-bittersweet-life-2005.html

That's fantastic. Is there video footage of your introduction?

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That's fantastic. Is there video footage of your introduction?

Thanks gwailosforever....sadly no footage of the presentation, just the photo included in the blog link...but I pretty much covered everything which I spoke about in the blog itself, it's quite cool to be able to introduce one of your favorite movies to a new audience!

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'A Bittersweet Life' has been my favorite Korean movie pretty much since I first saw it in a UK cinema way back in 2006. Now 7 years later, it was shown as part of the Korean Culture Office's 'Cinema on the Park' weekly movie screening here in Sydney, of which this month is 'Gangpae Life' month! I was also lucky enough to be asked to introduce it, so I was happy to oblige! I've never actually reviewed it before, so I thought it's about time to post my thoughts, check them out here -

http://koreanfilmfestivalinaustralia.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/review-bittersweet-life-2005.html

Great blog entries man! I recommend reading these to those that haven't already. :nerd:

How did the director go from Bittersweet Life to Last Stand??? Last Stand was such a mediocre mundane action movie that was incredibly boring.

He was a "man-for-hire" on THE LAST STAND. It wasn't his baby.

Imagine Martin Scrosese's path gone from Taxi Driver to Dude Where's my Car?? Do you see the direction I went here, please tell me the Last Stand didnt' meet your expectation??? Anyone???

LOL Come on! :tongue: That's not a fair comparison. LOL

The Last Stand wasn't that good but it wasn't THAT bad either. It was just a ok movie for my liking.

I enjoyed THE LAST STAND. I thought Arnold was really good in it, the action was good, and it entertained me from start to finish. It is certainly not in the same league as A BITTERSWEET LIFE! But did you really expect that it would be? Take a look at the other foreign director crosses over to Hollywood debuts... The genius that made HARD-BOILED and BULLET IN THE HEAD made HARD TARGET- easily one of JCVD's best, but not on par with Woo's classics. Tsui Hark went from PEKING OPERA BLUES and ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA to DOUBLE TEAM with JCVD and Dennis Rodman! Ringo Lam went from SCHOOL ON FIRE to MAXIMUM RISK! Park Chan-Wook went from OLDBOY to STOKER!

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OK I got to watch this movie tonight and all I can say is it was Great. This is a must have to add to any collection of Gangster movies, with Revenge in mind.

I bought this off of Ebay too because it was impossible to find anywhere else. Back in the day when I was able to rent Hong Kong films through the mail, I saw this and absolutely fell in love with it. It's still one of my favorites in my collection.

Laura

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I watched it fourteen years ago and I watched it two days ago. I’m still not into it.

First, it’s a good movie, good directing, excellent script, brilliant acting...

But you have to like that kind of action scene, realistic hence hence kind of goofy, with a badass character who can’t handle a gun with style. That’s one paradox of the movie, at first we have a strong, silent and badass character then we have a poor guy who can’t handle a gun in the second part.

So if you like realistic psychological stuff, go for it, if you don’t, like myself, that’s probably not a good choice.

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