A CADAVER CAPER
I apologize for the lack of posts this week. Been enjoying some vacay time. However, I’m back and here’s an interesting comedy caper with Lee Bum Soo. Aww, I may not be interested in watching Dr. Jin but at least I’ve had this movie stored in my to-do pile to fill some of that Yoo Bang gap.
Just a note: the literal translation of the title is actually Return of the Corpse but here’s a case where the official English title sounds way better than the translation. Return of the Corpse sounds like a zombie movie à la Return of the Living Dead. It sounds fine in Korean but the English version just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
A science researcher Baek Hyun Chul (Lee Bum Soo) protests against a corrupt CEO who is hiding an important semiconductor chip. He’s planning to escape to the US with it and cuts a wound in his arm in order to implant it under his skin to prevent it being seized by the authorities.
On their way home one night, Hyun Chul and his co-worker, Han Jin Soo (Jung In Ki), separate ways only to have Jin Soo run over by a car. Hyun Chul doesn’t believe this was a mere accident and contacts Jin Soo’s daughter, Dong Hwa (Kim Ok Bin). At the same time, the CEO’s trusted associate, Steve Jung (Jung Man Shik) double crosses him and kills him in order to obtain the chip for himself.
While Dong Hwa worries over how she’s going to pay the hospital bill for her father, she and Hyun Chul learns about the death of the CEO. Hyun Chul plots to steal the body for ransom but winds up stealing a live body of a con artist, Ahn Jin Oh (Ryu Seung Beom).
The movie is directed and written by Woo Sun Ho and this is his first feature-length film. I like the setup of the film and for his first time out Woo Sun Ho weaves this tale well. First, we get right into the plot of the film and establish the antagonists. Then, Hyun Chul and Dong Hwa set out to steal the corpse.
Next, we’re introduced to Jin Oh and his morgue buddy, Myung Kwan.
Lastly, there are the detectives who are tailing these subjects in order to expose the corruption within the company.
All these characters from different walks of life figure into the comedy of errors that makes up the film. With each scene or twist, we’re given new information and there is never a dull moment as Hyun Chul goes about his plan and yet an upright citizen like him needs the help of Jin Oh who knows the tricks of the trade of conning.
Oh, Lee Bum Soo. He’s such a great blend of dramatic actor and comic actor. He really leads this film as you believe in his cause before he even has to explain it and even if the scheme is kooky.
While I like Kim Ok Bin’s punk rock style (See: OK PUNK!), she’s definitely better at the acting than she is at the singing. I kinda think she should keep the pink hair because it really suits her. She’s often great at being that cool, angsty chick that doesn’t have many lines but her stoic expressions adds a great layer of depth to her characters. You may not always know what she’s thinking but that’s the point of her aloof characters. There is always that movie in one of her movies where you get a peek at her heart.
Ryu Seung Beom rounds out the cast as the con artist and I just found it hilarious that he struts through half the movie wearing a yellow onesie. At times, he’s crazy and at other times he’s pretty savvy but he always keeps people on their toes.
Jin Oh is in trouble with a loan shark (Go Chang Seok) and it’s a lot of fun to see the two actors playing off each other.
There is a decidedly Ocean’s Eleven feel to the end of this movie where we’re given new details about how the con unfolds. I have to admit that apart from the rest of the film this needed a little more work. In this day in age with savvy audiences, people look forward to a good twist and this just didn’t live up to the build up of the rest of the film. Looking forward to see what Thieves offers up instead. Despite that, it’s a hilariously funny ride with 3 actors who bring their A-game to the plot and pacing.