New World, A Company Man – Rich Korean Rewards For Crime Movie Buffs

As the vast army of Indian movie directors extend their long-standing love affair with raw sewage, the tiny crop of Korean film-makers continue to make great strides.

My uncontainable passion for all things Korean led me recently to two gangster movies, New World (original title: Sin-se-gae, 2013) and A Company Man (original title: Hoi-sa-won, 2012).

I’m happy to report that both are gripping crime dramas, well worth your time.

New World is easily the better of the two with a more riveting story, a better cast and a superior director.

Now if you believe media reports, a Hollywood version of New World is in the works with Sony having purchased remake rights for the English version.

New World – Bloody Triumph

When the Goldmoon crime syndicate’s top boss Seok Dong-Chul meets his end in a car crash while returning from his young mistress, the group is thrown into a succession struggle.

Seok’s two key chieftains, Jung Chung (Hwang Jung-min) and Lee Joong-gu (Park Sung-woong), who loath each other are vying for the top job.

Unbeknownst to either Jung Chung or Lee Joong-gu, an undercover police officer has infiltrated the Goldmoon criminal gang for the last eight years.

Trapped between the insanely violent devil (gangsters) and the deceptively smooth waves of the deep sea (police), the undercover cop finds his balls in a vice.

Fearful of being exposed and completely stressed out, the undercover agent finds himself unable to get out of his dangerous assignment despite earlier promises by his police bosses.

For those who still fantasize that the law is always on the right side, New World should be an eyeopener.

The movie ends with a brilliant twist after a series of violent battles and betrayals.

New World is an extremely well crafted movie with remarkable acting, a script that keeps you glued to the screen and twists that jolt you upright.

Easily one of the finest, classiest crime dramas I’ve seen in recent years.

New World director Park Hoon-jung comes with impressive credentials.

He wrote the screenplay for one of my favorite Korean films – I Saw the Devil (2010), a bloody film featuring the sui generis Korean actor Min-sik Choi of Oldboy fame.

And to my immense delight, Min-sik Choi has a key role in New World.

With his customary elan, Min-sik Choi plays the senior police officer who’s been squeezing the undercover cop’s nuts without respite by reneging on his promises.

New World is a remarkable crime thriller and I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

A Company Man

Although not a richly nuanced, layered crime movie like New World, the hitman focused A Company Man (directed by Sang-yoon Lim ) is not a bad watch.

The focus here is almost entirely on contract killer Ji Hyeong-do (So Ji-sub), a ‘white collar employee’ at a ‘metal company.’

As with all criminal outfits, there’s no safe way out for wannabe quitters.

The way out for gangsters is either to be caught by the cops or meet a violent end on a deadly assignment. There’s no third way.

But for our assassin Ji Hyeong-do, either option is a non-no.

More so after he meets a single mother and his cold heart starts to soften.

So when the hit man signals his intention to quit the company the massive counterforce against him is only to be expected.

I had no issues with the acting of or main character So Ji-sub or the others, or the photography.

But unlike with New World, the violence in A Company Man tends to get tedious, particularly toward the end.

Violence, off-screen or on-screen, can chill and thrill only with the ballast of a brilliant narrative.

New World and A Company Man are available on Netflix Instant for streaming.

6 Responses to "New World, A Company Man – Rich Korean Rewards For Crime Movie Buffs"

  1. fotobirajesh   February 20, 2014 at 6:01 am

    A lot of movies from Korea, China and Japan are brilliant. They dont get the credit they deserve.

    Look for the movies by Kim Ki Duk, from Korea, please.

    If possible, start from his first movie. Ignore this, if you have seen them already. Responds:

    You write: A lot of movies from Korea, China and Japan are brilliant. They dont get the credit they deserve.

    Not so. Maybe in India, they’re ignored because movie fans have their mouths wrapped around the dicks of Bollywood Khans or their southern counterparts.

    In the U.S., Korean movies release in mainstream theatres (like AMC 25 in New York’s Times Square and elsewhere), are remade in English (oldboy by Spike Lee) and featured promptly on the popular Netflix Instant streaming service.

    Korean movies have eclipsed Chinese and Japanese films over the last few years in quality.

    I will look for Kim Ki Duk’s films. Netflix has several of them either on DVD or streaming. I’ll start with his 2012 film Pietà (older films are on DVD and I’m currently subscribing to the streaming service).

  2. guruji   February 20, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Thanks for the recommendations.

    I need to wash off the bad taste left after Spike Lee FUBAR-ed Old Boy.

  3. Vinith   February 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you. I’ve added some Korean movies to my Netflix queue.

    1) Yellow Sea
    2) New World
    3) The Chaser
    4) I Saw the Devil
    5)A Company Man

    I wish Infernal Affairs was available for streaming. Responds:

    You may wish to add the Korean film The Berlin File to the list. It may not have come to NFLX yet. Saw it in the theatre in NYC last year. Yellow Sea too I saw in the theater in NJ or Philly.

  4. Vinith   February 20, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    The Berlin File is not available on NFLX.

    Btw, I recommend Ustad Hotel, another delightful Malayalam movie. I heard it’s going to be remade in Tamil with Rajkiran and Vikram Prabhu, although I doubt it would be as good as the original. Responds:

    I’ve seen bits and pieces of Ustad Hotel. Looked interesting!

  5. msveda   February 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Vikranth Prabhu is a bad choice for Ustad Hotel Remake. He is a wooden actor and doesn’t have any expressions on his face, contrary to his grandfather who is over expressive.

    Another young actor, Gowtham Karthik is too a monotonous actor. It is better to leave Malayalam movie untouched for any remake.

    • Vinith   February 21, 2014 at 12:31 am


      That’s exactly what I felt. Let’s wait and see how the remake turns out to be, although it’s unlikely to be as good as the original.

      I just hope they don’t cast Santhanam or Suri to provide comedy. That’ll ruin the whole movie.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login