Lee Yu-jin

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A Bittersweet Life Review


Excellent
If I ever need to hire some gangsters to do a job for me, I'll head to Seoul. Those Koreans are tough, and they've never been as tough as they are in A Bittersweet Life, a crazily violent revenge flick that somehow manages to be a fascinating character study as well. Not since The Godfather have I been in the company of such complex hoodlums.

The action here centers on the handsome Kim Seon-woo (Lee Byeong-heon), a loyal henchman who has served Boss Kang (Kim Yeong-cheol) for seven years and is currently working as the manager of an ultra-luxe hotel bar called "La Dolce Vita." (The movie's English title is a slightly off-the-mark translation.) Coolly cruising around Seoul in his black sedan and nice suit, Kim does whatever his boss asks, and he's especially good at dispatching four to six enemies simultaneously with some gorgeous foot-fist fury. In fact, his attack on a rival boss's gang gets him put on a hit list.

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Phone Review


OK
It's hard to underestimate what Ringu did to the Asian horror market. Today, dozens of knockoffs can be found on import video shelves, American remakes are legion, and more of these foreign flicks are finding their way into broad DVD release on our shores.

Phone is as close a knockoff to Ringu that I've seen to date. There's no videotape, but -- of course -- there's a phone. Only this one doesn't make you die. It makes you go insane.

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Lee Yu-jin

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