WARTIME THRILLER

South Korean di­rec­tor cap­tures his­tor­i­cal tragedy while pro­duc­ing epic en­ter­tain­ment, Xu Fan re­ports.

China Daily (Canada) - - TORONTO -

China’s screens have been flooded by pro­duc­tions on the war against Ja­panese in­vaders in re­cent months. Many view­ers com­plain such films can be­come stereo­typed, and they will feel de­lighted to see an un­likely epic from neigh­bor­ing South Korea.

As­sas­si­na­tion, the high­est-gross­ing movie so far in the South Korean mar­ket this year, will be re­leased across the Chi­nese main­land’s the­aters on Sept 17, about two months later than its home­land pre­miere. The ac­tion thriller will set a record on be­com­ing the fastest South Korean ti­tle to reach the Chi­nese mar­ket.

Set in 1933, dur­ing Ja­pan’s 191045 colo­nial rule of theKorean Penin­sula, the tale fic­tion­al­izes three tal­ented pris­on­ers dis­patched by the ex­iled pro­vi­sional Korean gov­ern­ment to as­sas­si­nate a Ja­panese com­man­der and a trai­tor­ous Korean ty­coon.

High praise pre­vailed af­ter sneak pre­views on Mon­day. View­ers say it’s re­fresh­ing to see a wartime ti­tle, which are usu­ally se­ri­ous in China, pro­duced like a Hol­ly­wood ac­tion thriller, thanks to many plot twists and oc­ca­sional hu­mor­ous lines to ease the ten­sion in sev­eral cru­cial scenes.

“I heard that,” di­rec­tor Choi Dong-hoon said, smil­ing, at a Bei­jing media event.

He gave a one-hour in­ter­view along­side the two lead ac­tors, Lee Jung-jae and Ha Jung-woo, with Chi­nese news­pa­pers on Tues­day.

“In South Korea, few movies fea­tur­ing this sub­ject (Kore­ans’ fight against Ja­panese colonists) have earned com­mer­cial suc­cess be­fore,” he says.

The vet­eran di­rec­tor ex­plains that As­sas­si­na­tion is not a pro­pa­ganda ti­tle push­ing pa­tri­o­tism, but one in which he hopes its au­di­ences can sense “some­thing un­usual”.

“South Korea had been colo­nially ruled by Ja­pan for 35 years. It was quite a long time and be­came a

The char­ac­ters de­picted in my movie want to con­vey that we never stopped fight­ing for free­dom.”

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