Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kyun-dong Yeo's The Accidental Gangster and the Mistaken Courtesan (2008)

Kyun-dong Yeo's The Accidental Gangster and the Mistaken Courtesan (2008) is set in 1724, based upon an actual event. The film is about Thunder (Jung-jae Lee), a layabout fighter, past his prime, residing in a local brothel. Thunder is immediately besmirched by Dishy (Ok-bin Kim) (as in dish washing, Thunder's given nickname), a beautiful and sassy courtesan. Dishy's time with Thunder is brief: her real destination is with local crime boss, Man-deuk (Suk-hoon Kim), but it's too late for Thunder. Mistake or not, he's not forgetting about her. Man-deuk's rival crime boss, Odd Ears, arrives in the area and challenges Thunder to a fight. Thunder may be crude and absent-minded but he's a helluva street brawler and wins. Now Thunder's journey begins: become the new crime boss, bring down Man-deuk, and win the heart of Dishy. Lickety-split.
Jung-jae Lee is a wonderful actor with a very expressionistic face. He plays Thunder as a reluctant leader who doesn't think before he speaks. Although he's a great fighter, trash talking is about ninety percent of his game. "Don't call Big Gun, Man-deuk," Thunder is told, "or there will be bloodshed." At a meeting of the crime bosses, Thunder drops Man-deuk's name, not once but twice. Suk-hoon Kim is stellar as the flamboyant Man-deuk and his comedy is a terrific foil to Jung-jae Lee's performance. Not least of all Ok-bin Kim, as Dishy, steals nearly every scene that she's in and her performance runs the dramatic range, from sexy to funny to quiet to sad. She performs a dance at the crime boss meeting where she dips her soles in paint and steps on to a white tarp. With lithe, balletic movements, her dance is beautiful to watch, and the painting it produces is beautiful as well. The Accidental Gangster and the Mistaken Courtesan is a light film. Although, there is some bloodshed towards the end, it's overall very funny and exciting. Accidental Gangster is sentimental, escapist cinema, which is always welcome. The visuals are incredible: Kyun-dong Yeo's film is totally slick and well-paced. The few fight scenes are brilliant, especially the fight at the end (two guesses and you'll know the participants). I thought this film was total fun and pure popcorn.


Matt-suzaka said...

Sounds very cool. Those last two photos you put up are quite beautiful, the top down table shot, and that shot of the fight with the glaring orange sun make me wanna see the film.

Mr.LargePackage said...

Residing in a brothel is large and in charge. Also, I know someone else whose trash-talking is ninety percent of their game.