Thursday, July 7, 2016

Inside Men
Released November 19, 2015 (South Korea); July 5th, 2016 (US - NYAFF 2016)
2 hr 10 mins
Not Rated
Crime, Drama, Thriller
Language: Korean w/ English subtitles


Director: Min-ho Woo
Writer: Min-ho Woo (Screenplay) based on web comic by Tae-Ho Yoon

Lee Byung-hun as Ahn Sang-goo
Jo Seung-woo as Woo Jang-hoon
Baek Yoon-sik as Lee Kang-hee
Lee Geung-young as Jang Pil- woo
Kim Hong-pa as Oh Hyun-soo
Bae Seong-woo as Park Jong-pal
Jo Jae-yoon as Section chief Bang
Kim Dae-myung as Go Sang-chul
Jo Woo-jin as Managing director Jo
Lee El as Joo Eun-hye
Jung Man-sik as Choi Choong-sik, Chief prosecutor in Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office
Kim Byeong-ok as Oh Myung-hwan, Secretary for civil affairs in the Blue House
Kim Eui-sung as Editor-in-chief in Joguk Ilbo
Park Jin-woo as Department head Lee
Nam Il-woo as Woo Jang-hoon's father


Lee Kang-hee is an editorialist of a influential newspaper in South Korea. With the power of the press, he makes the congressman Jang Pil-woo to one of the candidates of the next presidential election. That is the result of a secret deal between Lee and Ahn Sang-goo, a political henchman of Jang Pil-woo. But Ahn makes an almost fatal error, when he gets caught pocketing the record on the Jang's slush fund. The prosecutor Woo Jang-hoon is about to investigate and becomes absolutely determined, because the case would help him making big steps in his career. Ahn gets in real trouble, when he gets dropped by Jang and should have been killed, but is able to flee. Now a bitter war starts between one who is lusting for power, the one who wants vengeance and the one who is eager for success.

Review by Stephen M.

Inside Men is a political/crime drama that will have you on your feet as various pawns try to one up the other for different motiffs.  We have Lee Byung-hun as Ahn Sang-goo, a gangster that tries to bite off more than he can chew and is out for revenge.  We have Jo Seung-woo as Woo Jang-hoon a prosecutor with no connections whose only hope of rising to the top in a monstrous case that brings him into the path of Ahn Sang-goo.  Together they take on cronyism in the form of editor Lee Kang-hee (Baek Yoon-sik) and politician Jang Pil-woo (Lee Geung-young).

I have watch Lee Byung-hun in American films, and for the most part, he is usually as a supporting roles where the character has very few lines such as Storm Shadow in GI Joe or his character in Red 2 or even Terminator Genysis.  It is a bit odd to see him as a leading man showing off his charm that has made him one of South Korea's most popular actors.  His character is the complete opposite of what we are use to seeing out of him.  His character has a mouth on  him and cannot fight a lick.  This role truly allows us to see the talent he has especially when working with Jo Seung-woo.  Jo Seung-woo also puts on a marvelous performance as the strict by the rules, honest prosecutor.  Together there is great chemistry between the polar opposite characters.

Well written with a lot of suspense, the only negative may be unabashed needless nudity at times.  The story is a bit convoluted especially in the beginning.  But comes together nicely by the time Ahn and Woo meets.  The movie has already shown at the New York Asian Film Festival.  If you have a chance to catch it and love thrillers, then don't miss your opportunity.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

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