New World – Film Review
Director: Park Hoon-jung
Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Choi Min-sik, Hwang Jung-min
by Roger Crow
From the opening scene of a be-vested guy being tortured, I know I’m going to hate New World. Torture porn has never been my thing, and gangster dramas usually leave me colder than Neptune.
Like a Korean version of a Michael Mann movie, it’s beautifully shot and a little moody, but the characters are so unlikable from the outset, I know this is going to be an uphill struggle.
There’s a stylish score laden with portent. But then there’s talking. Lots of talking. I feel like I’m trapped in the world’s most boring meeting at one point.
The dialogue is mostly as horrible as the characters, and even when it looks like things are going to kick off in a car park, there’s more talking. There’s a graphic fight scene in a lift at the 90-minute mark, by which time I’ve had enough.
It yearns to have a small percentage of The Raid’s panache, but director Gareth Evans would have cut to the chase much faster. And there are far too many characters on screen. Just swarms of redundant bodies.
Stripped down, this could have been so much better, but it groans under the weight of its extras, and the fight scenes are just okay. In the hands of one of our finest fight choreographers Kevin McCurdy, this could have been so much better.
So, the opening scene is a pretty good indication of what I as a viewer endure. Torture.
Director Park Hoon-jung has great promise, but he needs less talking, fewer extras and better action scenes to make things work. This might look like a slick vehicle, but the cinematic wheels are off-kilter, so the movie wobbles around like a clown car.
Given some of the glowing reviews, I’m clearly in a minority, but each to their own. If you like gangster thrillers with loads of talking, knock yourself out before Sony’s planned remake hits cinemas. I’d rather revel in the glory of superior John Woo offerings such as Hard Boiled.
‘New World’ Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition is released on 15 January 2018 by Eureka