The New World



  • Score: 8.3 (scored by 954 users)
  • Ranked: #524
  • Popularity: #1549
  • Watchers: 2,010

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13 people found this review helpful
Jul 19, 2013
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This review may contain spoilers
What made me watch The New World?

1. Choi Min Sik (one of the best ajjeoshi actor in movie industry)
2. Read somewhere that this was inspired by the movie Infernal Affairs (Hongkong film) and The Godfather(Hollywood Film)
3. It gross big in korean cinema

(spoiler free)

When you saw the both movie i mentioned, you will get the idea on what to expect on the movie even though i think The New World isn't on par with those movies, it still has its own style that will make you wow on some parts and deliver some amazingness in your face =)

The movie isn't really confusing and it was easy to follow but needs some patience to understand whats going on and there's a twist here and there and it was solid with a tight plot.

Strong perfomance, no weak acting, nice build up with payoff and some brutalness but nothing to be afraid of.

Brilliant gangster movie .. Horray!! ^^

thanks for reading my quick short review \o/

note: (subject to edit for elaboration)

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9 people found this review helpful
Apr 5, 2014
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
Korean cinema is famous for its excellent gangster movies. It became genre popular to the extent that directors have hard time to come up with something new, which can distinguish their creation from other movies. There have been so many different and excellent movies in this genre in recent years and I thought that not quickly will be created movie, which surpass, or at least live up to "classics" (Friend (2001), A Bittersweet Life (2005), Bloody Tie (2006), The Show Must Go On (2007), Rough Cut (2008), Nameless Gangster (2012)) of the genre. Director Park Hoon-Jung (responsible before for the screenplays for The Unjust (2010) and I Saw the Devil (2010)) showed that using familiar themes and patterns, you can create a very good movie. New World uses motifs known mainly from the Infernal Affairs (2002) trilogy and The Godfather (1972), and use them to create solid gangster movie that is not fresh and "new", but only solid craftsmen job, but you can see in it signs of something bigger.

The movie was seen by over 4.5 million viewers which resulted in a profit of nearly 35 billion won (~$33 million). In addition to an excellent scenario, the advantage of the movie is brilliant music composed by Jo Yeong-Wook, and is complemented by an excellent cast. In the main roles we see Lee Jung-Jae, Choi Min-Sik and Hwang Jung-Min, next to them are perfectly selected supporting actors (for example Park Sung-Woong, Song Ji-Hyo, Choi Il-Hwa and Kim Byung-Ok).

Lee Ja-Sung (Lee Jung-Jae) is a police officer who for 8 years works undercover as a gangster in Goldmoon group, the largest mafia syndicate in Korea. Over the years, he was promoted to the position of the right hand of Chung Jung (Hwang Jung-Min), who, in turn, is the number 3 in Goldmoon. After the sudden death of chairman Seok Dong-Chool (Lee Kyoung-Young), power struggle starts in the group. The main candidates are Jung Chung and number 4, Lee Joong-Goo (Park Sung-Woong), while Jang Sook-Ki (Choi Il-Hwa) who is number two, despite his high position, is excluded from combat, because he lacks the strength (his position is only symbolic). The police is trying to use all this confusion to subjugate the entire Goldmoon group. Lee Ja-Sungs handler, Captain Kang Hyung-Chul (Choi Min-Sik), decides to keep him longer as undercover cop, in order to be able to significantly influence the outcome of the power struggle. But Lee, after 8 years of service, with a baby on the way is not willing to cooperate, and tries by all means to withdraw from the entire project.

At first glance, this is a new incarnation of the working undercover cop with wobbling loyalty and sense of justice theme, known from Infernal Affairs (2002), but in fact the movie of Park Hoon-Jung has more in common with the saga The Godfather (1972). All of the focus is put rather on the structure of the organizations (the police and the mafia) and the struggle for power, rather than personal dilemmas of heroes. The director said that the movie is about "Gangsters playing politics" and this is probably the best way to describe this movie. The vast majority of gangster movie from Korea, has a lot of melodrama in it, because the viewer is encouraged to identify with the hero who becomes a victim of circumstances beyond his control. Park admittedly not escaped completely from this manner, because viewer is still encouraged to feel sympathy for Lee Ja-Sung, who loses control of his life and is at the mercy of the police and the mafia. But still the director focuses on this aspect, to a lesser extent than most of his colleagues, and instead, bearing the signs of genius, shows the structure and the mechanisms that controls the various factions.

In the first half of the movie, Park serves us a strong start and then begin to introduce the main characters, then he uses the long scenes filled with dialogue, to prepares the viewer for full-voltage second half. After a fairly predictable start and preparing the ground, Park starts to show his genius. All of the pieces, shown to us at the beginning, begin to combine into a single, perfectly thrilling, whole. We may not care much about the fate of characters, but it does not prevent us from waiting in suspense to see how the story will develop.

It is a movie with virtually no defects, which, despite the lack of originality, does not bore the viewer. This is no mean feat and I expect more creations at a similar level in the future from the Park Hoon-Jung. I have to admit that I hope for a sequel, which will allow the director to show a little more originality and passion. This is not an unfounded hope, because the original script contained a lot more than could fit in the movie, so we can in the next few years, expect the New World 2. Who knows, maybe this is a beginning of gangster saga which one day will be comparable with the The Godfather saga?

I can confidently recommend New World to any fan of good gangster cinema in noir style, but also to anyone who can appreciate a solid job inspired by other the great works. Although it have duration of more than two hours, the movie is not boring and always keeps you in suspense. It is in my eyes the beginning of a new era in Korean cinema.

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4 people found this review helpful
Dec 15, 2013
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 6.0
I went into this for the stellar cast. Hwang Jung Min picked up a Daesang for his role and that propelled me to watch this. Especially after seeing Choi Min Sik and Lee Jung jae on the cast list but I'm liking Hwang Jung Min more and more.

Slight Edit to accommodate an actual review:
As per the summary, this tells the story of an undercover cop infiltrating a gang. He spends years in the gang and rises up the ranks but he wants out. Unfortunately, as a valuable tool in the police force they won't liberate him not only due to the hard work and commitment it takes to be an undercover cop but they believe they can take down the gang.

Unfortunately, I did not find this movie as compelling as it could have been. What was supposed to be a plot twist was predictable and actually made me dock marks because it made the plot a little iffy.It now propels you to point out a lot of things that don't make sense anymore due to the plot twist. In fact, prior to it happening, I sincerely hoped they would not make it that way because it now opens up a can off questions that make the premise not make sense. Plus, I'm not sure if I could call it a plot twist because it didn't really surprise me but others have called it so, so I'm doing so too.

The story is very solid and has a film noir, toned down aspect about it that will either bore or thrill some of you. This tone is rarely seen these days due to the schizophrenic and fast paced world we live in. It has a very Mario Puzo aspect about it and that is a plus for anyone who's a fan. As in, you will see quite some Godfather channeling here almost as much as the blackberry product placement. I happened to be a fan so I appreciated this film to a certain extent sans the mediocre plot twist. The cast is stellar and they are all well known for their acting but overall I docked marks for the terrible ending.

I'd also like to point out the not so subtle product placement. Blackberry anyone? Okay, it didn't bother me much but made me want to play the drinking game for every time I saw it. There's a liver damaging suggestion to those of you who haven't watched it.

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3 people found this review helpful
Mar 25, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
When this movie ended my thoughts: "What? But it only started like 5 minutes ago!!" It was a solid 2hr. 14 minutes and I can hardly find anything to complain about. Acting was spot on, the directing was great, the music fit, and there was a perfect balance between comedy and drama. All the awards this movie won and all the nominations it got; all were well deserved. Gangsters in suits, what else do you need?

The movie was inspired by Hong Kong legend Infernal Affairs and Hollywood epic Godfather. If you have seen those both movies and remember them well, you will find similar symbolism in New World. The plot is unpredictable. I didn't really try guessing nor did I pay attention to the hints so the ending surprised, but if you pick up Godfather references (that closing door cough cough), you will know the end. New World doesn't reach up to Godfather's brilliance, not even close, but for a Korean gangster movie it's really good, one of the best.

I absolutely loved the cold atmosphere in the movie, the music was ominous and most of the scenes were filmed in "cold" and "emotionless" places like construction sites, meeting rooms, warehouses, empty restaurants. The scenery was absolutely soulless lacking all possible humanity! Another thing that I loved was that the movie went more for a psychological impact than tasteless bloody splatter or gang fights (leaving the latter to minimum). The torture scenes were gripping, a bit too much blood to my taste, but just the right impact. Great job! No unnecessary and forced love scenarios and no blatant sex, only scheming and action!

Acting was great. My only complaint is Lee Jung Jae as Ja Sung, he lacked the charisma. His character was muted and gave more space to other much brighter characters, which was a good thing in my opinion. But still, it was hard to see Ja Sung's plight. The conflict he went through was shattering. He was the only character that actually changed and evolved during the movie. The others seemed to be stuck in their own realities and that's not a bad thing. But that change Ja Sung went through, I wish someone else but stonefaced Lee Jung Jae played him so it would have been more visible. He tried really hard but just like the cold background, he remained sort of soulless and dull.

Hwang Jeong Min as Jung Chung was brilliant, the moment he appeared I loved him! His punchlines were spot on and he brought the comedy in the misery of it all. "Hey brotha", I couldn't get enough of him talking, because every time he opened his mouth it was just... everything he said always fit the situation. "Jung Goo that gaesekki, he is a walking puberty!"

When in the end Jung Chung said "That stupid idiot let the police fool himself." That's when I realized his full potential. Heck, he was smart and he had a big heart, unlike other gangsters in the movie. Notice that he often appeared in warm settings with a lot of people around him. He seemed stupid and everyone was looking down on him but heck, he was awesome. Chinks all the way! He gave Ja Sung what no one else did, what his boss and the police failed to give him, what he had been searching for all this time: trust. Their friendship was what gave Ja Sung the biggest impact and helped him to reach a conclusion between crime and law. We could say that Jung Chung saved his life, literally and figuratively. The symbolism was strong in this one.

Park Sung Woong shines as Jung Goo, the role couldn't be more fitting for this actor. Sung Woong, the self-absorbed twisted devil. Choi Min Shik? The dirty cop who is ready to go for sacrifices but also has the heart to mourn and regret. I don't know if I liked his character or hated him, but I know that it was a great character. It beats me how even the smallest side roles like the Yangbians, everyone had an impact in this movie, no one felt useless, everyone had their own place, no one was a filler character. I learned to like all characters, and acting was pretty good from everyone's part. I just wished Hwang Jeong Min was better.

New World starts with a bang and the plot moves on with a good pace, mostly fueled by dialogs, which is a refreshing breather in typical Korean gangster films. There is not even one boring moment and you find yourself glued to the screen, wondering what's going to happen next. The message of the film is pretty twisted, but I like how it points out that you need to change to get somewhere. If you get stuck in your own comfort zone, you will forever be just a dog used by others. When Ja Sung did what he did, I realized that all his 8 years of undercover work lead him there. He didn't want to go there but was pushed forward and sort of cleaned his path little by little. Finally, he snapped or maybe it was more about him finding himself. His face often showed how sick he was of it all, how much agony it caused him. The flashbacks at the end were a great plus and despite being short they explained so much, once again symbolism was strong.

The ending was perfect, it fit the story. More than everyone getting what they deserved it was about Je Sung's character turning a new leaf. He finally understood what mattered to him the most and he stood behind his own beliefs, he was loyal. Him in the end and him in the beginning, those were two different people. One was insecure, still looking for his place in the world and the other had finally found that place. He lost a lot, but he also gained something priceless.

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1 people found this review helpful
Dec 1, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 10
I watched this movie twice in one weekend because I could not get over the ending. The movie was well-written and well-acted.

The movie was realistically entertaining especially the ending. Let's just say in the real world. The ending makes more sense than any other deep undercover movies I have watched.

The New World is about an deep undercover cop who must decide where his loyalty lies with his true boss or his fake boss.
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0 people found this review helpful
Feb 25, 2018
Completed 0
Overall 2.0
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 3.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
A great thing is that most of the South Korean films I've watched turned out to be good. But the bad thing is that this film is the only one which isn't good. NEW WORLD, seeming to be extremely amazing from the promos, synopsis and IMDb rating, turns out to be a major downer despite of a great performance from the seasoned actor Choi Min-sik. The other lead characters simply overdo their parts. The film is supported by good music, visuals and a handful of action, but is let down by a poorly executed story and screenplay.

The biggest problem with NEW WORLD is that it chooses the melodramatic way of telling a story which needed a faster pace and sharper execution. The first hour of the film is totally wasted in setting up characters which don't seem to be impressive. And they unfortunately turn out to be the lead characters. Despite of a lot of time being given in character development, one of the lead characters looks simply underdeveloped. The film, which I was expecting to be a solid one, turned out to be a disappointment because it didn't stay true to the genre it was expected to stay to. It's a crime drama, but as it progresses, it turns out to be a "crime melodrama" instead.

Choi Min-sik is the saving grace of this film. And only he is. Hwang Jung-min disappoints. Lee Jung-jae doesn't show any other expression other than the one he sports. Park Sung-Woong was a total surprise package as he performed very well. But sadly, his character isn't well written and neither does he get a proper scope to perform. Others actors too are disappointing.

The story and screenplay both seem to be poorly written and after a point of time, the film turns into a yawnfest. The film fails to evoke or convey any emotion. It's indeed hard to figure out what is being tried to convey with this film. The first hour being totally bland makes you lose interest even when the second hour seems to get a little back on track. But sadly, it never actually gets back on track. The moment you feel it's suddenly back on track, it just gets derailed with the next shot. In other words, the editing is another major negative point of the film as it's too slow paced to engage you. Many portions are overlong, especially the pre-climactic episode, and they generate no tension at all.

But I mustn't forget to praise the cinematography, music and one well choreographed action scene. But these are the only things one will remember. For a full time watch, NEW WORLD doesn't seem to be a right film.

South Korean films never disappointed me so getting disappointed with this one is something I didn't expect at all. Don't think I don't like drama films. I do like intense dramas apart from action and thriller films. But this film seems to be having almost no intensity at all.

Still, I must say I have no "new word" for NEW WORLD to describe it as something more than bad. I am not saying that don't watch it. Watching it depends on you, and not watching too. Just note that the film lacks the kick of action films, the intelligence of crime films, emotion of drama films and the edge of the seat sharpness of thriller films. Instead, watch Lee Byung-hun's INSIDE MEN: an excellent film of the same genre which is both far longer and million times better than this "world" of 135 minutes.

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