No one can deny the groundbreaking cinema which has been coming out of South Korea for over the last ten years. Korean films such as A Tale of Two Sisters, Oldboy and The Host have amassed dedicated cult followings worldwide.
So it was only a matter of time before some of the biggest directors in South Korea’s New Wave of Cinema – chief among them being Kim Jee-woon, Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho – would wash up on US shores, Hollywood beckoning them to showcase their skills on the largest stage in the world.
Years from now, there is a chance 2013 could be looked back upon as the year of the Korean Cinematic Invasion of the United States, with not one, not two, but three English language directorial debuts by Korean filmmakers.
However, this movement has gotten off to a rocky start.
Kim Jee-woon’s ‘The Last Stand’
This January, director Kim Jee-woon released the R-rated action movie, The Last Stand, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (who hadn’t starred in a leading role for almost a decade). The critical response to the film was mixed (it currently sits at a “rotten” rating of 59%, just one percentage point from being considered “fresh,” on film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes) and it was a flat-out bomb commercially. According to the website Boxofficemojo, The Last Stand yielded a disappointing $12 million in the United States. With a production budget of around $45 million, it was considered a colossal failure considering it was expected to usher in a new era of Schwarzenegger films.