NEW WORLD (shin-sae-gye) DVD (2012)
SYNOPSIS: “Goldmoon”, the biggest crime organization in Korea, is suddenly in chaos when its leader Chairman Seok is killed in a mysterious car accident. Top-level police officials initiate project “New World“ to intervene in “Goldmoon”’s election process for the next leader, and to use Chairman Seok’s death to their advantage in controlling the crime organization. The project’s leader Detective Kang (Choi Min-sik) calls upon “Goldmoon”’s Executive Lee Ja-sung (Lee Jung-jae), an undercover cop who he planted deep within the organization on 8 years ago, and needs Ja-Sung for the operation “New World”. And, eventually Ja-sung becomes the right hand man of the #2 crime boss Jung Chung (Hwang Jung-Min) in the crime group. But Ja-sung, who had been waiting long for the day he is reinstated into the police, becomes more disillusioned with Detective Kang's obsession with operation "New World" and torn over his loyalties to #2 crime boss Jung Chung.
In the grand tradition of Johnnie To’s Election and Andrew Lau’s Infernal Affairs, Park Hoon-jung’s sophomore feature, New World takes audience to the disturbing world of triad, moles and cops set in contemporary Korea.
With the death of the Chairman behind the notorious Goldmoon syndicate, Ja-sung (Lee Jung-jae) assumed his role as a mole in the triad is done. But his superior, Detective Kang (Choi Min-sik) has other plans for him and that is for him to create chaos between the two leading successors and crumble the huge organization. With mounting pressure surrounding his dangerous undercover position and the safety of his unborn child, Ja-sung is torn between his loyalty to his crime boss, Jung Chung (Hwang Jung-min) and the police force.
Writer-director Park Hoon-jung who is also behind I Saw The Devil weaved an often intense, less bloody effort that prefers to let his narrative do the work than displaying unnecessary amount of violence to shock you. Other than an uncomfortable opening which saw a snitch being tortured and fed with cement, New World is contend with flashing out the relationship between Kang and Ja-sung and also the latter’s comradeship with the thuggish Jung Chung. Throw in Jung Chung’s closest rival, the ruthless Joong-goo (Park Seong-woong) in the hierarchy and we have a good time of guessing who will have the upper hand in the end.
Of course, all the suits and corporate talk can only last so long despite Hoon-jung’s best efforts to keep things tight and proper for the first hour or so. Honestly, he sure does know how to work in a heart-pumping scene I must add especially one involving the revelation of moles around Jung Chung. Things however only start to culminate in the final end with Jung Chung brutally attacked by countless henchmen armed with knives and baseball bats in a car park, an attack which subsequently triggered a string of unpredictable consequences. Questions of morals and brotherhood starts to surface and the climax makes an unsettling answer to all that.
Even both are familiar, veteran actors in their own right, the Il Mare and Housemaid star Lee Jung-jae and Oldboy Choi Min-sik is unfortunately outshine by Hwang Jung-min’s charismatic portrayal of the erratic #2 boss in the organization. Sadly, Lee Jung-jae gives a one-note performance as the tortured Ja-sung while Choi Min-sik surprisingly puts in a subdued, almost weary act as compared to his usual scenery-chewing performances in his movies.
Purists might find New World paling in comparison and lacking a distinct print on the genre. There are obviously better crime dramas out there deserving a far solid rating though one must not forget the fact that New World is a handsomely done if not well-written gangster title that at least deserved 134 minutes of your time.
Another bare-bones DVD with serviceable audio and visual.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee