K-Movie: A Typical, Yet Appreciative Good-Punish-Evil Blockbuster

by Isabel Bang

Veteran | 베테랑 (2015)

It seems as though I’ve been recommending you slow and soft movies a lot recently, so here’s one for you action lovers! Korea’s wonderful with sentimental films yet does not fall behind other countries when it comes to fast-paced kick & flick either. Some of you may have already seen Veteran, as its fame went over to TIFF, got released in the US theatres, and if I recall correctly, in New Zealand theatres for a bit as well.

CJ Entertainment | Veteran

The movie starts by catching our eyes with a series of combat actions and chasing scenes from the beginning. Easily taking care of the car-smuggling gang and the Russian dealers, Detective Seo Do-Chul (Hwang Jung-Min) and his homicide investigation team are knowingly very skilled veteran cops. After putting an end to the major project, Do-Chul is invited to a high-society celeb party where he meets the youngest heir of Shin Jin Group, Jo Tae-Oh (Yoo Ah-In). Witnessing the horrific actions of Tae-Oh, who seems to be high on drugs, their first impression did not hit off very well. 

Tae-Oh is an inhumane and brutal billionaire who could not care less about anything but his entertainment. This devilish side of him can be seen from his first appearance at the party, where our detective starts putting his eyes on him. The chase between the two starts with the suicidal incident of Shin Jin Group’s truck driver, which Do-Chul believes Tae-Oh stands responsible. Throughout the movie, people around our righteous protagonist try to stop him from this fight that he can never win. On top of that, the continuous escapes of Tae-Oh with his smirks seems to represent the seriousness of endemic corruption of the Korean elites. However, with Do-Chul’s persistence in the battle for justice, he and his team do not give in in front of power and money.

CJ Entertainment | Veteran

Hwang Jung-Min is one of Korea’s most recognised and talented actors, but the star of Veteran was hands down Yoo Ah-In, playing the role of Jo Tae-Oh. I am totally overwhelmed by Yoo’s portrayal of this character which he perfectly lived in. With his amazing performance, he won numerous awards with this hugely successful film, including the 10th Asian Film Awards. If you try watching the movie, you’ll probably understand why some people call Yoo the “Korean Heath Ledger”. With the incredible acting of the impressive ensemble of casts, this 2015 movie still stands in the Top 8 Box Office Hits for Korean films.

CJ Entertainment | Veteran

There are hundreds of memorable quotes in this movie. Do-Chul says to a fellow cop who was bribed by Shin Jin Group, “we may not have money but we have pride.” This line criticized the evident corruption and cronyism in the Korean police forces, that we cannot deny happening. The following line, “let’s not embarrass ourselves while we carry around cuffs by our side,” showed the audience how much Do-Chul feels passionte about his job as police. The quote that most struck the audience was definitely Tae-Oh’s line when the truck driver enters his office to request his overdue pay - which clearly was more than insignificant for the spoilt billionaire. The acting by Yoo in this scene made me hold my breath for a while, making this scene thousand times more daunting and unforgettable.

“Mr Driver, you know the handle of a millstone? That handle is called ‘uh-ee’. Imagine you putting something in the millstone to grind it and just when you’re starting to grind, the handle falls off."

"We call this situation ‘ridiculous’ (‘has no uh-ee’). It’s absurd, that you’re not able to do things because of a handle that’s practically nothing. That’s how I feel right now. It’s ridiculous.

The storyline may seem cliche, somewhat like a very standard good-punish-evil movie. Yet, the reason for people to love and rewatch this movie was the astonishing acting of the exceptional cast, and probably the thirst we all have for justice in a corrupted society. I’ll leave a link for Veteran’s trailer here, which you can give a click and find out if you’ll start loving Korean action movies! Note that Veteran is rated R16, and there can be some violent scenes that can be disturbing for softies like me 🥺

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