Master (2016)

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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 459 users
Reviews: 2 users

An intellectual crime investigation team goes after company Won Network. The company is involved in a massive fraud case.
Kim Jae Myung is the leader of intellectual crime investigation team. He is smart, charismatic, aggressive and bold to lead the intellectual crime investigation team.
President Jin is the president of Won Network. Park Jang Goon is the Section Chief of Won Network. He is the brains behind Won Network.

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4 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Feb 13, 2017
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
Maybe because I have a bias for Kim Woo Bin and Lee Byung Hun or the fact that I saw director Ui-seok Jo, Kang Dong Won and Kim Woo Bin during their premiere here in Hong Kong that I enjoyed this film. Or maybe because I have an undying crush for Kim Woo Bin so I liked this film.

Maybe those are clouded my judgement.

But I admit, Master is not a read more perfect film. It certainly helps if you love the actors you are seeing on screen.

Cold Eyes (2013) director, Ui-seok Jo makes the style of Master, a reminiscent of his 2013 hit. Fast-paced, suspense and action-filled. I did enjoy Master a little bit more though, I felt like it has more substance, however questionable it may be.

Lee Byung Hun plays the bad guy (not a first), the CEO of a big company, One Network who is scamming their customers and is involved in fraud cases among others. Kim Woo Bin plays the section chief of communications/technology, a tech-whiz of some sort and Kang Dong Won plays the head of the investigating team. The three have good chemistry—each a talented actor on their own.

No doubt Lee has an actor. My first time to see Kang (and quiet guy during the premiere as well) and crime/action films are not new to him. Kim, this is probably his best role (for me) to date. Though, better characterization would work—given that we have 3 contrasting characters. But I think Ui suffers from that problem regardless.

Kudos though for showing us two badass female characters, played by Uhm Ji-won and Jin Kyung, though they deserve more screen time. And justice for Jin's character.

Master is messy. It starts strong—intriguing even, leading us on, much like Cold Eyes' exposition. But ultimately, things start to get a little bit out-of-place. There is little backbone or sense in how things escalated. They either seem ridiculous or just not how it's supposed to go.

Ui tries to back it up with comic relief which Kim does well and contrasts with Kang's serious demeanour. Lee does it well too.

Yu Eok does well with the cinematography, contrasting Seoul's tall buildings to the Philippines' tropical and cramped houses. Though as a Filipino, it's still a bit disappointing that Tondo (one of the largest squatter areas and poorest is the one chosen to showcase including the poor environment and such, there is so much more to show than that but okay).

Action-wise, it's more intense than Cold Eyes but the latter has better suspense and build-up though the former tried to throw a plot twist that seems wow at first but ridiculous the next...due to the lack of a backbone.

It's not the "exotic" place that would save Master. It's the cast. It's the reason that, despite all its flaws, that I ultimately still enjoyed this.
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1 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 11, 2017
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
A bureaucratic, technological and power film, that is, "Master"!
Very well written and directed by Ui-seok Jo, shows the protagonists getting themselves from subterfuge in search of power and salvation, on the other hand, is not an easy task but rather arduous with high price to pay. In this story we do not see "small fish", but a bunch of power-hungry sharks.
A film of many dialogues, yet it has fluidity, a read more film that makes us want to know more, and "mentions" Brazil at a certain moment.
What I think is cool, Korea has content, pity that our governments, operators and producers do not invest, the rights of a drama cost much less than the rights of a Globo TV soap opera for example. Another example is the shows, the value becomes insignificant to bring a group here, the problem is that they do not want to invest in the uncertain, after all, prefer content of which there are interested sponsors and the people have more is to fuck ...
And to finish "Master" is undoubtedly a good action movie and crime!
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Comments (49)

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  • Reply
    namopanik 13 days ago - edited

    I don't know what you all want from the first half.

    /(but what does a magpie bridge mean? is it an idiom? from the context it seems like a contact box, but I never heard that phrase before.)

  • Reply
    lilunnie 25 days ago

    the trailer is giving off a Now You See Me feels to it... is this good???

  • Reply
    Takai Jun 21, 2017 - edited

    Unnecessarily long intro, was yawning the entire first hour or so. But then it got really good.

    • Reply
      Narco 25 days ago - edited

      It would be better if they focused more on "screwing up" the other guy. It all happened too fast without giving any clue to viewers. Too bad Lee Byung Hun didnt have more screen time, it would be great if we had more about his setup and his plans. But overall, good movie. Also we knew nothing about main character. All we know he is best of the best and noone can screw around with him.

    • Reply
      Takai 25 days ago

      Main heroes are, sadly, often underdeveloped. The audience is expected to just.. accept what he is and not question how he got to be it. I wish writers would put more work into character side of things. :(

    • Reply
      Narco 25 days ago

      Exactly, it doesnt even need to be 20-30 minutes sequence of his past, i would be satisfied with just a few flashbacks or mentions in conversation.

  • Reply
    Panda May 11, 2017

    Its a good thriller, it should have been shorter... draggy moments here and there but the 3 leads were really perfect.
    Gun shoot out wasnt good, car chase wasnt good either, i didnt feel thrilled.
    Overall its a good watch

  • Reply
    Andro Apr 30, 2017

    I didn't like it

  • Reply
    elli Apr 15, 2017 - edited

    Double Adhesive Tape

  • Reply
    inspirit91 Apr 3, 2017 - edited

    Way too long for what it's really worth. The plot takes up and becomes interesting after 1 hour. But then it becomes too complicated to understand what's really going on. But it's a movie with great actors.

  • Reply
    bmore Apr 2, 2017

    2.5 hours and it's the .5 that is worth waiting for. If you are into financial crime or maybe your job is in the financial world, the first 2 hours of this film will be more interesting to you perhaps than it is to those of us who aren't checking the stock prices or the interest rates or all that everyday. It wasn't horrible, but it was definitely slow. I'm used to Asian, Korean film especially, taking it's time to get 'there', but this was almost painful.

    It's a beautiful film cinematically for sure. The last 20 minutes were for adrenaline junkies like me. Keep watching into the credits for a bit too.

    Roger Ebert pretty much summed it up for me: "Woo-bin Kim walks away with so much of the movie. While the good cop and the bad businessman are archetypes in which “Master” cannot find something new to say, Kim’s “man in the middle” is pretty fascinating, and this young actor grounds the entire film. He’s easily the most interesting character, the one with shifting morals and an uncertain future.
    And despite my issues with the bloated midsection of “Master,” the final twenty minutes almost justify the lengthy journey. Cho finally delivers in these scenes, twisting and turning his plot, while also giving us the car chases and gunfire we’ve been waiting for. The only question is if you’ll still be awake by the time he gets there. "

    It's fun to see someone like this review a Korean film and have them see KWB's potential like this. I hope he saw the review too! I think he has the potential to be LBH in a few years.

  • Reply
    Mimo Mar 24, 2017

    ahhh i really loved this movieee!! mainly bc of kim woo bin and kang dong won *~* ♡♡♡

  • Reply
    Mimo Mar 24, 2017

    ahhh i really loved this movieee!! mainly bc of kim woo bin and kang dong won *~* ♡♡♡

  • Reply
    coolcancerian Mar 20, 2017

    started movie.. 30min passed...i hate say this but its Boring ..but will try to finish for the stellar cast

  • Reply
    Maxmoiselle Mar 14, 2017

    Could have been a lot shorter and crisper. Lee Byung Hun is hot! Kim Woo Bin is pretty cool in his role. If you have the patience to stick it out to the end like me, it gets very interesting in the last thirty minutes.

  • Reply
    peacefulsoul Mar 13, 2017 - edited

    i wasn't even anticipating this film, not too crazy about kim woo bin, watched it with no expectations.. but i really quite enjoyed it (found my self watching a 2+ hour long film at a school night).. the story isn't really new or anything but its my first time watching an action film about frauds and scammers and money laundering as that kind of story doesn't intrigue me. so since it was new and all i found myself pausing and replaying a lot to understand what was going on and also because the film was quite fast-paced which was good but a little hectic at first.
    and kim woo seriously gets better and better by every role he plays !! 8/10

  • Reply
    NewKDramaAddict Mar 11, 2017

    Too long. I was seriously bored the first 50 min and then it got more interesting.

  • Reply
    ChaNee Mar 5, 2017

    Read the first few comments and definitely about to press play. I could careless how others feel about Lee Byung Hun. You can NOT take away the fact that he is a great actor and makes any movie worth watching. Not too mention pairing him with Kim Woo Bin. The fan girl in me is awakening LOL I have been in the mood for a good action movie.


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Release Date:

    Dec 21, 2016
  • Duration:

    2 hr. 23 min.


  • Score:

    8.2 (scored by 459 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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