Set in the late 1920s, The Age of Shadows follows the cat-and-mouse game that unfolds between a group of resistance fighters led by Gong’s character, trying to bring in explosives from Shanghai to destroy key Japanese facilities in Seoul, and Japanese agents trying to stop them.
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Sumptuous cinematography which giftwraps a fairly conventional thriller into a spectacle-laced bow. It shows that South Korean mainstream cinema can compete with Hollywood for pop culture approval, Clancy worthy intrigue and aesthetic artistry.
Never decaying in pace, the film provides us with thrilling Hitchcockian sequences on a train, suspenseful ambushes, treacherous inside men working in the shadow, and incredible shootouts at the sound of Louis Armstrong.
Spy story set during the Japanese occupation that finds a traitorous Korean policeman working with the occupied forces in rooting out a revolutionary movement only to find a bond with the rebel's second in command operative. The game of trust is explicit and violent here and the scripting may of needed to be a bit sharper to keep it rolling. Performances are good especially Song Kang-Ho and Gong Yoo. Worth a watch
What is amazing about the chameleon Kim Jee-woon is that he often goes beyond the norms of Asian Pulp; He proved his mastery in Western (“The Good, the Bad and the Weird”) and horror (“A Tale of Two Sisters,” and the vicious “I Saw the Devil”) alongside his usual action flicks, but in "The Age of Shadows" he goes in depth - with some Carol Reed vibe - into resistance/occupation genre.
Prestige Tarantino. South Korea's version of 'Inglorious Basterds' without the irony. Basically a "fuck you" to Japan, though hopefully a cathartic one. Every scene felt custom made to find future expression as screengrabs in a chapter of Bordwell & Thompson. At times felt like I was watching a Let's Play of the most expensive boardgame ever made but once I gave myself over to the ride I had fun for a swift 140 mins.