Master (2016) poster
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 2,397 users
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Reviews: 7 users
Ranked #2224
Popularity #2620
Watchers 2,397

Jin Hyun Pil runs ‘One Network Inc.’, a company with an extensive network covering Korea. The chief of the Intellectual Crime Investigation team, Kim Jae Myung, suspects One Network’s involvement in a fraud case of unprecedented scale. Kim tracks down the company’s IT architect and brain, Park Jang Gun, and attempts to persuade Park to hand over Jin’s secret ledger in exchange for a plea bargain. Feeling the police close in on him, Jin moves operations out of Korea. Kim nonetheless continues his investigation into Jin. 6 months later, news about Jin’s death stirs the country once again. (Source: CJ Entertainment) Edit Translation

  • English
  • Español
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Dec 21, 2016
  • Duration: 2 hr. 23 min.
  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 2,397 users)
  • Ranked: #2224
  • Popularity: #2620
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

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Master (2016) photo
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Reviews

Completed
Jia M
5 people found this review helpful
Feb 13, 2017
Completed 0
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 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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Completed
Mickey
1 people found this review helpful
Dec 22, 2022
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0

Master of something

The charismatic opening by the presentation of the ONE network by its also charismatic owner Jin Hyeon-pil, who is able to draw an overwhelming support by its "investors" which is eerily similar to a cult leader preaching to his crowd all while the same time, an investigation being carried out by Kim Jae-myeong is now starting to end this deception once and for all, was enough for me to be curious as to what would happen next.

The next scenes, with Jang-gun now being prepared by the police to be the mole on this money-laundering corporation, for me was actually nerve-wracking, yet at the same time, I already guessed that there would be more being that he was already given the informant role early in the movie, some betrayal would occur later on, and I wasn't surprised already when that scene was shown. The build-up towards the entrapment operation was good, and culminating into a botched operation with Hyeon-pil getting away and Jang-gun being left to die seemed that the whole operation was a failure, but the fact that it occured at the middle of the film, made me thought that there would be more, most notably a revenge by Jae-myeong.

The 2nd half of the movie, which focuses on the Philippines, with the same ingredients of a scam being brewed by the same characters, was the more fleshed-out part, in terms of building up another entrapment operation to arrest Hyeon-pil. The one thing that I was confused was the yellow color grading for the Philippine scenes (which was understandable) yet was also present in some scenes in Korea. It wasn't uniform so that made me confused on some parts.

It could've been more impactful if it had focused more on the car chases and the gunfire, both of which were less plenty than I thought for an action movie. The emphasis on the money laundering scheme was the part I didn't liked and at times, were boring. After all, action movies should be full of action, and plotting said actions should be regarded as secondary, although still important. Had the scheming scenes were lessened, it could've made the plot tighter and the excitement for the inevitable reveal of the plot twists would be more sustained. Also, a recurring problem with the recent Korean movies I watched was still present here - the underdeveloped main character (I wanted to know more on the drive Jae-myeong has for this case) and the overdeveloped villain (Hyeon-pil's drive was simple, which is greed).

Overall, I felt that this was 2 movies smashed into one - 1st part focuses on the local, 2nd part on the international "scam" with the same plot, but different endings. I wanted more action, and was confused as to how the movie title connected to the movie itself, or maybe being a master of something.

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Details

  • Movie: Master
  • Country: South Korea
  • Release Date: Dec 21, 2016
  • Duration: 2 hr. 23 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

Statistics

  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 2,397 users)
  • Ranked: #2224
  • Popularity: #2620
  • Watchers: 5,456

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