Here is your Korean word for today: 천만 영화 /cheonman yeonghwa/. The word means movies that sold more than ten million tickets in South Korea. The total population of South Korea is a little shy of 52 million, which means 1 out of 5 Koreans has seen these movies. There are only 20 Korean movies on the list throughout the whole Korean movie history.
Koreans have been thirsty for watching movies in theaters for a long time due to COVID-19. This summer four Korean movies with high expectations coming and moviegoers are waiting for them anxiously. Here they are.
1. Alienoid (외계+인 1부 /oegye+in ilbu/)
Alienoid is a sci-fi action fantasy directed by Choi Dong-hoon, who also directed two other ten-million-ticket movies, ‘The Thieves’ and ‘Assassination’.
The movie rollercoasters in chaotic situations that start when the door of time opens between the Goryeo Dynasty and the present 2022. Two groups from different times meet because of this time travel; The guards from the present hunt down an alien prisoner imprisoned in a human body. And the magicians with super talents, called “dosa,” from the Goryeo Dynasty chase the magical sword.
Alienoid is the first half and the series has one more part to come. It took over 13 months to film the complete series. The movie is full of Korean movie stars including Kim Tae-ri, Kim Woo-bin, So Ji-sub, and Ryu Jun-yeol. The movie will be released in South Korea on July 20, 2022.
2. Hansan: Rising Dragon (original title: 한산: 용의 출현 /hansan: yongui chulhyeon/)
Hansan: Rising Dragon is the second film of the trilogy about the major battles won by Admiral Yi Sun-sin. This is a prequel to The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량), which is the most-watched film in Korean film history with over 17 million tickets.
This war action film depicts the historic Battle of Hansan Island. Historically, this battle took place five years before the Battle of Myeongnyang in the first film.
In 1592, Japan invades Joseon, and Joseon is apparently unprepared. While the fate of Joseon looks ominous, Admiral Yi Sun-sin and his fleet prepare a battle that they must win. The Admiral’s warship, Geobukseon, appears and the tide starts to change.
This Korean movie will hit local theaters in South Korea on July 27, 2022.
By the way, Kim Yoon-seok (‘Escape From Mogadishu’ and ‘Thieves’) will play Admiral Yi Sun-sin in the last one, Noryang: Sea of Death.
3. Emergency Declaration (original title: 비상선언 /bisangseoneon/)
Emergency Declaration is a disaster-thriller about a terror-related accident in an airplane. This movie was originally filmed and finished in 2020, but ironically it was delayed to be released because of another disaster, COVID-19.
The movie got huge attention even before starting to film because of the impressive list of starring actors and actresses. Song Kang-ho, who recently won the best actor at Cannes Film Festival, plays a veteran detective who tries to solve the problem on the ground. Another Cannes winner, Jeon Do-yeon is also in this film. Lee Byung-hun (‘Mr. Sunshine’, ‘Masquerade’, and ‘Squid Game’) plays a devoted father and a passenger on the troubled plane. Kim Nam-gil and Yim Si-wan add their names to the credit of the cast.
Veteran detective In-ho (Song Kang-ho) receives a tip from an unknown man about a terrorist attack on an airplane. He finds out that the suspect is already onboard, the KI501 from Incheon to Honolulu. In the airplane, Jae-hyuk (Lee Byung-hun) goes to Hawaii in spite of his aerophobia for his daughter’s treatment. Not too long after its departure, a passenger dies for an unknown reason, and the situation starts to get chaotic. Upon hearing the news, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, Sook-hee (Jeon Do-yeon) forms a counter-terrorism team and tries to find a way to land the KI501.
The director brought an actual Boeing-777 airplane from Hollywood to South Korea for a realistic-looking movie set. They used a giant gimbal to move around the airplane in order to create a realistic situation instead of using camera effects.
Emergency Declaration was first screened at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in 2021. It will be released in South Korea on August 3, 2022.
4. Hunt (original title: 헌트)
Hunt is an espionage thriller with lots of action and political twists. The movie sets in the turbulent 1980s in South Korea. The film has received much attention because this is Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae’s directorial debut.
Agency for National Security Planning’s Foreign Unit chief Park Pyeng-ho (Lee Jung-jae) and Domestic Unit chief Kim Jung-do (Jung Woo-sung) are not in a good relationship with each other. Park is a veteran agent at the agency, on the other hand, Kim is from Korean Army. Two have different styles to run their teams and tasks.
While the hostility to each other grows, a North Korean spy leaks top secret that could jeopardize national security. Each unit now has the assignment to investigate each other to find the spy, Donglim. As their investigation goes deeper, they start to uncover the twists they didn’t expect.
The 2022 Cannes Film Festival invites the film to its non-competitive Midnight Screening section. Its premiere date in South Korea is August 10, 2022.
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