• New World



    Released By:
    Well Go USA
    Released On: 17/23/2013
    Director: Park Hoon-Jung
    Cast: Choi Min-Sik, Hwang Jung-Min, Lee Jung-Jae, Park Sung-Woong, Song Ji-Hyo
    Year: 2013
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    The Film:

    With an impressive array of Asian genre films on the market, it's safe to say that relative newcomer label Well Go USA has been more hit than miss when it comes to putting out great films. Flying out of the gate for 2013 is Park Hoon-Jung's New World, another winner in the form of an ultra-violent Korean gangster flick.

    The sudden, rather nasty death of the Goldmoon Corporation's Chairman has left an opportunity for one enterprising individual to take the reins of the corrupt syndicate, and three worthy contenders step up to the plate. The most likely successor is the wickedly cold-blooded Lee (Park Sung-Woong) who uses his gang of thugs to great bloody effect in just about every situation, inspiring most of the other more businesslike board members to step aside while he takes control. Opposing Lee and acting as a great comedic foil to his emotionless cold-blooded behaviour is Jung Chung (Hwang Jung-Min) who spends his non-violent moments buying cheap knockoffs of luxury items and rocking one of the funniest hairstyles ever seen in a Korean action film.

    The third contender, however, has a different agenda; Ja-Sung (Lee Jung-Jae) is an undercover police agent who has been working to infiltrate Chung's gang for almost a decade. When he discovers that his wife is pregnant, he attempts to hand in his resignation...but the police department's top brass, including Chief Kang (Choi Min-Sik) have other ideas that involve placing Ja-Sung in the Chairman's seat to "control" the organized crime in the region, acting as a puppet for the police department. Kang's efforts to turn Lee and Chung against each other to pave the way for Ja-Sung prove to be disastrous, however, as the two hardened gangsters become convinced that there's a rat in the house. As each gang ups their efforts to expose the informant, the body count increases substantially, and Ja-Sung comes closer to being exposed.

    Written and Directed by new kid on the block Park Hoon-Jung, New World is an impressive entry that twists and turns throughout the running time, leaving the viewer wondering what in the hell is going to happen next. Apparent good guys and likable characters are brutally killed off, as are various bad guys who seem destined to end up on top by the conclusion. Throughout the film, Park keeps things interesting with some fantastic locations, tight action sequences, intense beatings and gangland-style murders, as well as brilliantly created suspense. Adding to the awesomeness of New World are the performances themselves, with Park Sung-Woong taking the price for the baddest mofo to grace the screen in quite some time.

    While its strength lies mainly in the fact that it deviates from the typical gangster rise to power, shoot shoot shoot die die die formula, New World falters mainly in the last act of the film, as it runs into tedious territory explaining what led up to the beginning of the film. It's no Vanilla Sky, but the obvious explanation flashbacks that take it over 120 minutes would've better been left on the cutting room floor. Overall, however, it's a fine film, and a monstrously impressive (almost) debut.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Well Go brings New World to blu-ray with a 2.35:1 transfer that looks fantastic, as any modern film should. Blacks, and there are a whole lot of them, look deep and solid, with the vibrance of the cityscape nicely balanced. The contrast appears a little heavily boosted in some places, but it fits with the attitude of the film; let's assume that it's intentional. There's nary an artifact to be seen, and detail is incredibly rich.

    The DTS-HD 5.1 Korean audio track is also impressive, with good dynamic range and liberal use of the surrounds and subs. Many action sequences make full use of multiple channels, bringing the action to your home theatre. Dialogue is balanced well with sound effects and score, and the subtitles are clear and easy to read.

    This disc doesn't feature too much in the way of extras, though a short "Making Of" is included that's more a collection of on-set footage, as well as a semi-animated still gallery and a trailer. 3 previews for other titles are also accessible from the main menu.

    The Final Word:

    A stupendous effort from a new filmmaker, New World is definitely worth seeing, and the Well Go USA blu-ray is a great way to do that. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps




















    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I've been curious about this one for a while. Thanks for the detailed review, Mark: it looks like an interesting film. I think I'll most likely import this release rather than wait to see if it ever turns up in the UK.
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Watched it yesterday. I enjoy these Asian gangster flicks but there's always SO MUCH going on in them that I feel like I'm missing about half the story. The fight scenes were pretty badass.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I got kinda burned out on Asian ganster flicks awhile back, and I'm always kinda hesitant watching them. This one was messing me up at first because everyone is pretty much dressed exactly the same, and as Ian mentioned elsewhere and as Alison mentioned here, it's hard to keep track of what's going on. It was pretty rad, though...and that one dude is a total fuckin badass. So vicious. Anytime butcher knives are brought to a gang fight, you know it's going to get ugly.