[A Look Back on Korea's 'Cheonman Movie' #5] 'Veteran'

나확진 / 인턴 이효윤 / 2021-08-29 18:32:51
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by Ra Hwak Jin / Lee Hyo Yoon

[Episode 5] Veteran (2015 Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan)


▲ This photo shows the poster of the film "Veteran." (Yonhap) 


“Veteran,” a detective-action film released in August 2015, is the 5th biggest hit of all Korean movies having attracted 13.41 million audiences. The film, which was produced aiming for popularity from the beginning, was even introduced as “My most entertaining production of all,” by its director Ryoo Seung-wan. But the message it carried by depicting a rich man who acts as if he is on top of a country’s law, cannot be considered casual.

The beginning scene of catching a bunch of fraud luxury car sellers does not match with the overall plot but it well shows director Ryoo’s specialty in actions. In the scene where detective Seo Do-cheol (Hwang Jung-min) and Jo Tae-oh (Yoo Ah-in), a 3rd generation of a rich family, first meet face to face, actor Yoo’s insane acting clenches the hearts of the watchers. The tense relationship between the two continues until the end of the film making the watchers feel nervous throughout the whole running time. 

The film was remade into “Big Shot” (2019) in China, recording a hit in the country earning 380 million yuan (about 69 billion won).

▲ This photo, shows director Ryoo Seung-wan. (Yonhap) 

◇ "Movie by the actors, for the actors and of the actors"
“It is a movie by the actors, for the actors and of the actors,” commented the director on a press interview in 2015 a little before the film’s release.

A number of gem-like Korean-film actors emitted their talents through the film. Hwang who took the role of the veteran detective Seo Do-cheol unyielding to money and power, completes his character saying “What we don’t have is the money, not the pride!” to his fellow police who seemed to have accepted bribes from a rich family.

Yoo who played as an arrogant young man with a rich-family background clashing against detective Seo, shows the typical characteristics of the ‘bad guy’ who tries to solve everything with money by saying, “Think you’ll be able to cope with the consequences of doing this to me?”

The actor gives off a peculiar sense of power and atmosphere with the sniffing gesture to show that the character is a drug addict. Many pick the scene of Yoo making a creepy joke-ish warning saying “Ridiculous” using the term “millstone handle” as the most impressive moment.

Former top model Jang Yoon-ju debuted to the movie scene with the film. She catches the eyes from the first scene in which she appears in the screen with Hwang. She has practiced her acting skills appearing in her second film “Three Sisters” which is her return to the screens in 6 years, at the start of this year.

Also the actors for the sub-characters, Yoo Hae-jin, Oh Dal-su, Jung Woong-in, Cheon ho-jin, Jung Man-sik, Yoo In-young, Kim Eung-soo, Song Young-chang, Bae Seong-woo and, Lee Dong-hwi, all played fantastically for their roles.

For those who are watching this film now, we recommend you to pay attention to the two actors who were nameless at the time of its release, Park So-dam and Uhm Tae-goo. Although they don’t make a long appearance, their presences definitely stand out in the scenes. Park and Uhm has risen to stardom with “Parasite” and Netflix original film “Night in Paradise” respectively.

▲ This photo shows actor Yoo Ah-in. (Yonhap)


◇ Director Ryoo Seoung-wan who adds times to films 

Director Ryoo who has showed gripping action films such as “Arahan” (2004), “The City of Violence” (2006), “Dachimawa Lee” (2008) has widened his spectrum of eras reflected in his productions through “The Unjust” (2010) and “The Berlin File” (2013). “Veteran” has received positive responses both in popularity and from the critics for making an optimal balance between action and reflection of the times.

However, his later 2017-production “Gunhamdo” was criticized for marketing strategies focused on the watchers’ patriotism for the truth of Gunhamdo rather than his specialty, actions. It received negative rates in terms of historical truths as well. 

The director has recently produced and released “Escape from Mogadishu” even under a harsh condition where consumers are reluctant to visit the movies due to the COVID-19 infection. The film has made a tremendous hit accumulating 3 million audiences and has ranked this year’s best film until now.


▲ This photo shows actor Hwang Jung-min. (Yonhap) 

◇ Reality more movie-like than the movie


In the film, Jo Tae-oh (Yoo) brings a cargo driver (Jung), protesting in front of his company claiming for his wage, into his office and gives him the money in turn of getting brutally beaten up.

The scene was based on a similar real event. In 2010, Choi Cheol-won, head of M&M and cousin of chairman Chey Tae-won of SK Group, called in tank truck driver who made a one-man protest in front of the SK headquarters saying that the company would not legally continue his employment during its merger with another firm. Choi Cheol-won then beat up the driver with a baseball bat and fists and later tried to compensate with 20 million won.

He was sentenced to prison for 1 year and 6 months in first trial but was added with 3 years of suspension in second trial and got away with his crime.

He has gained attention once again for being elected as the 24th chairman of Korea Ice Hockey Association in December 2020. Korea Sport & Olympic Committee, the superior organization of the association has disapproved the election due to Choi’s criminal record. He is undergoing a legal dispute regarding the disapproval.


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, show Actor Uhm Tae-goo. (Yonhap)



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