Film Review: New World

Article by Kevin Young
Photo credit Niko

New World, directed by Park Hoon-Jung, is a sanguinary crime thriller filled with countless twists and turns that will leave viewers in awe. Every second will keep your eyes glued whether you’re watching the crime syndicate fight with one another or mob bosses making black market negotiations with cops.

The movie starts off gory from the getgo. We see the protagonist clan leader Ja-Sung (Lee Jung Jae) ordering his men to kill a traitorous gang member who “snitched” to the police. The film continues to pick up pace as the leader of Goldmoon, (the crime bastion) is killed by a truck ramming his car. Goldmoon executives now in a state of disarray panic as an election of next leader nears. The executives and cops alike wonder which candidates out of the three are going to oversee Goldmoon. Ja-Sung is third in line after Lee Joong-gu (Park Sung-woong) and then first to inherit the throne is the flamboyant fowl mouthed mobster Jung Chung (Hwang Jung-min). No one could predict the chaos that was about to erupt.

It’s revealed that Ja-Sung is actually an undercover cop who has been covert for eight long years working as a double agent to bring down Goldmoon from the inside. Ja-Sung conspired the hit on Goldmoon’s head boss following the orders of Chief Kang (Choi Min-sik) with the help of Sun-Woo (Song Ji-hyo), Ja-Sung’s chess teacher who is undercover too. Ja-Sung argues with Chief Kang affirming his desire to maroon Goldmoon for good. Yet Kang insists that they need to complete one last high-stake heist which is to manipulate the outcome of the Goldmoon election. To do this Kang blackmails Jung Chung and arrests Lee Joong-gu.

Kang and Ja-Sung eventually succeed in turning the gang factions against one another which leads to an epic knife fighting scene in a parking lot. While all this is going on Kang and Sun-Woo question where Ja-Sung’s loyalties lie with the police or the brutal crime horde. Ja-Sung is in desperation because his wife is pregnant and he wants what is best for his family. Ja-Sung yearns to leave behind this double agent identity and go back to a regular civilian life. Unfortunately Ja-Sung knows that dream isn’t easy to obtain and he understands he may not get the ending he hoped for.

What really stands out is the character of Jung Chung, the leader of a Chinese triad faction. Chung’s witty humorous banter keeps the audience entertained yet he also has a ferocious animalistic fighting side to him. He manages to stay alive in an elevator fending off five other men. Jung Chung is even resourceful using his Chinese hackers to find out which gang members are working for the police.

And then there’s Ja-Sung who is troubled with an identity crisis throughout the whole movie. Despite his desire to leave a life of crime, you start to see his character change as the movie progresses. Ja-Sung initially declines going out to drink with Jung Chung to now smoking freely and conspiring many more gang related deaths affecting the outcome of the election.

Overall this film doesn’t have any dull moments at all. Every scene contributes to the progression of the story. Not to mention Lee Jung-jae and Hwang Jung-Min’s performance will leave viewers applauding after film is over.

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