With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, May 23, 2014

THE FATAL ENCOUNTER opens today in over 25 N. American theaters

CJ E&M America
The Fatal Encounter / Yeok-rin
Directed by LEE Jae-kyoo
South Korea, 2014, 132 minutes

South Korean period film The Fatal Encounter is set to begin a limited run in over 25 North American theaters today, May 23rd. Check local listings to find out if it is playing in your area.

Hyun Bin as King Jeong-Jo

The film is set in 1777, when King Jeong-Jo (actor Hyun Bin, in his first film since completing mandatory military service) is in the second year of his reign. His father had been killed by the powerful Noron faction when he sided with their opposition. Jeong-Jo also is threatened with assassination. In fact he became nicknamed the King of misfortune because of the numerous attemps on his life.Those in opposition to him include Queen Jeongsun (Han Ji-min), the young widow of his grandfather (she actually appears to be roughly Jeong-Jo's age), and General Koo, who has the support of the vast majority of the military. Assisting them is Gwang-baek, a mysterious figure who kidnaps young children of both sexes and trains some of them to serve in the court as moles, others to be outright assassins.

Hanji-min as Queen Jeongsun, the young widow of the king's grandfather

The king's support comes mainly from three people. Duchess Hae-kung (Kim Sung-ryung), his mother, will do anything to protect and preserve her son. Hong (Seong-Woong Park) is the king's loyal Chief of Guards and wants to kill General Koo, a rash act that the king prohibits because he recognizes that it would be fatal for himself as well. Finally there is Sang-chaek (Jung Jae-young, Moss, Our Sunhi), a royal eunuch who is the king's favored clerk. 

Jung Jae-young as_Sang-chaek, a court eunuch and the king's trusted clerk

Intelligent and benevolent, King Jeong-Jo also lives in fear. He tends to isolate himself as much as possible by working alone and long into the night. But will all his precautions suffice or will they come to naught as the forces aligned against him, including the spies who long ago penetrated his court, prepare their attempt on his life in order to enthrone a more malleable prince as king?

The Fatal Encounter is yet another outstanding South Korean period film. It has done very well in its home country,where it topped the box office for the first and second weeks of its run, which began on April 30th.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended.