With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Korean gambling action flick THE DIVINE MOVE reviewed; opens today

CJ Entertainment
The Divine Move
CHO (a.k.a. JO) Beom-gu
South Korea, 2014, 118 minutes

South Korea’s highly anticipated gambling action film The Divine Move (a.k.a. God's One Move) opens in 15 theaters in the U.S. (including Hawaii) and Canada today, Friday, July 25th. (Click on the button on the film's webpage at CJ Entertainment for locations and showtimes.)

SONG Tae-seok (JUNG Woo-sung) is a professional GO (a.k.a. baduk) player. SONG Woo-seok, his older brother, entices him into a "Guidance Game" whereby Tae-seok "guides" Woo-seok's play from a remote location by using a hidden camera and communications devices. Things go horribly wrong, Tae-seok is framed for a murder and sent to prison. Through a fellow convict, for whom he's done a "solid," Tae-seok learns how to fight like a highly trained martial artist.

Tae-seok (seated left) and "Drinking Christ" (seated right)

Once released, Tae-seok seeks revenge. He enlists the aid of "Drinking Christ" (veteran actor AHN Sung-ki), a blind GO master, "Carpenter" (AN Kil-kang), a one-handed electronics expert, and Cheater (KIM In-kwon), another professional GO player.

Killer (LEE Bum-soo), left foreground, with cell phone

Tae-seok's target is Killer (LEE Bum-soo), the professional gambler who'd framed him. Among his gang are Player (CHOI Jin-hyuk), the manager of Killer's GO gambling house, and Kwon (actress LEE Si-young, the only female lead in the cast), a former professional GO player who runs the Goddess Bar and who is indebted to Killer.

Kwon (LEE Si-young)

Certain terms pertaining to GO are explained on occasion throughout the film. I happen to know a bit about the game, but think that just about anyone can enjoy this movie even without any familiarity with it.

Tae-seok in action

The director does a good job of keeping things interesting and moving along; I found myself really engrossed in the storyline and plot development. And the action scenes, of which there are several, are very well done.

The Divine Move is a really intelligent, sharp and well-paced action-thriller.

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