In recent years Korean cinema has experienced a time of glory, equally named by the international and domestic press and by specialists from all around the world as “the golden age of Korean cinema”.
During this time more and more blockbusters have broken record after record regarding the large number of views and sold tickets which led to phenomenal profits.
In this category I could include some of the most loved and best rated movies such as: Miracle in Cell No.7, Masquerade, The Man from Nowhere, The Thieves.
In this article I would like to introduce you to “Cold Eyes”, a movie that has apparently succeeded in both surprising and in making the moviemakers from Hollywood think that their supremacy of the cinema industry can anytime be overtaken by other countries like South Korea. Officially, however, Hollywood directors don’t want to admit this while saying that the movie does not meet all the standards of a Hollywood movie, thus the action from “Cold Eyes” being only close to the Hollywood action movies.
The success of the film in Korea and Asia all along is due to the theme as well as to the main protagonists. Cold Eyes is a remake of an older version “Eye in the Sky” (2007) made in Hong Kong by the producer Johnnie To and directed by Yau Nai-Hoi and Au Kin-Yee.
The directors Jo Ui-Seok (director and screenwriter) and Kim Byung-Seo took the older version and shaped it into the style of Korean cinema. Nonetheless, the Cold Eyes project met great reluctance from everybody both before and after filming. Nobody thought it would be successful but the number of views and receipts exceeded all expectations.
Cold Eyes (Hangul: 감시자들; RR: Gamsijadeul; lit. “Stakeout) was officially launched at the beginning of July 2013, with a duration of 118 minutes. It was distributed by the company Next Entertainment World. Filming took place in the studios Zip Cinema, with Lee Yoo-Jin and Song Dae-Chan as producers, Kim Byung-seo and Yeo Kyoung-bo as cinematographers. The movie budget was 4.5 billion won and the earnings amounted over 34 849 357 USD.
Genre – The movie is a combination of crime, action, thriller and a few funny moments, where intelligence and the fine spirit to observe and memorize even the slightest details prevail.
So the movie’s success had an excellent and quick ascendance, exceeding 5 million tickets sold in less than 30 days (this figure is the great “sole” in Korean cinema that each producer dreams to reach or even surpass), as follows:
• 4 days after the premiere Cold Eyes had 1 million views,
• after 7 days – 2 million,
• after 11 days it exceeded 3 million tickets sold,
• after 17 days it reached 4 million and after 25 days 5 201 306 tickets were sold. The final number of views was 5 506 409 which placed Cold Eyes in the top of the Box Office of the best Korean movies in 2013.
After this moment the director says: „Our mission, of the entire team and of the film was successfully accomplished.”
Cold Eyes had an intense promotion in many Asian countries, which is why its popularity was extremely high during last year’s summer and autumn.
Cold Eyes was also present in several international film festivals such as:
■2013 (38th) Toronto International Film Festival – September 5-15 – Gala Presentations *North American Premiere,
■ 2013 (33rd) Hawaii International Film Festival – October 10-20, 2013 – Spotlight on Korea *U.S. Premiere,
■ 2013 (22nd) Philadelphia Film Festival – October 17-27, 2013 – World Narrative.
■2013 (34rd) Blue Dragon Film Awards – November 22 during which the popular actress Han Hyo Joo received the The Best Actress award.
The main cast was chosen carefully and includes the following actors:
Han Hyo Joo in the role of Ha Yoon-jo, a freshly recruited detective to be part of an elite team of detectives, endowed with numerous skills, having as missions to find and catch the most feared criminals and delinquents of the country. As soon as she joins the team, Yoon-jo receives the nickname of Rookie and, despite the fact that she is mocked by everyone, she wishes to help the team to the best of her abilities in order to fulfill the extremely important mission.
Jung Woo-sung in the role of James, is the leader of a highly dangerous international group, and he holds a record of some of the darkest and carefully thought crimes, murders and robberies.
He seems to know all the secrets of the work he does and acts like a ghost during the missions he receives from a mysterious anonymous. He is highly meticulous, very organized and always acts with cold blood.
Sol Kyung-gu is the veteran Chief-Detective Hwang, the head of the elite team and the one that will scout Yoon-jo. Although he always has to maintain his cold blood and sometimes not even consider his sensitive part during the missions he and his team have to fulfill, he still has a soft side and is aware of the extraordinary qualities that his new recruit possesses.
Kim Byung-ok is a mysterious and extremely dangerous broker hidden under the appearance of a cobbler who always assigns difficult and almost impossible missions to James, but at the same time he is also closely supervising him because he doesn’t trust his loyalty and suspects him of having a hidden interest.
Lee Junho (member of 2PM) in the role of the young detective Squirrel (Daramjwi), is a very devoted young man who is going to make a good team with Yoon-jo during the important mission that they have to accomplish successfully.
Jin Kyung (Good Doctor, Gu Family Book) in the role of CEO Lee, a “hysterical lady” who has the habit of breaking any telephone she gets her hands on when a mission goes wrong. That is why some of the team members she is the leader of have in their drawers a few extra phones.
The action of the film takes place somewhere in Seoul and the center of attention is the elite team from the Department of Criminology of the Korean police Special Forces. They have an extremely difficult mission which is to identify and capture the members of the highly dangerous gang led by James, a leader who is always fast when striking and never leaves any visible traces. In order to catch him, the elite team starting with the veteran Chief-Detective Hwang must first find the lower members of the gang so that they can later get to their leader…
To find out the details and the captivating ending of the action of this movie, I invite you to watch it, it’s really worth seeing and I can warmly recommend it to you all.
PS: I would like to thank my friend Diana Ţiţirigă for helping me with the translation of this article ^_^
Sources: asianwiki, hancinema, Wikipedia, soompi.