Nameless Gangster - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Nameless Gangster Reviews

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½ August 20, 2014
Decided to check this out because it starred Choi Min-sik (star of the original 'Oldboy' and 'I Saw the Devil') and because it was a gangster film. It is a genre that has given us so many cinema classics after all, regularly providing a reliable source of entertainment. However, 'Nameless Gangster' itself should take note and sleep with the fishes.

The film mimics a 'Scarface' rags to riches style set up, showing Min-Sik as a man who rises up the ranks of a gangster organisation. It's a shame his ascension is more of a drunken stagger instead of a graceful rise to power. With no real implementation of cunning forceful manoeuvres, Min-sik manages to constantly improve on his situation simply because of his broad family connections. There is no denying the social weight of family links, as I've come to realise having recently joined the job-hunting population; but it is difficult to believe a man, with no apparent street awareness nor physical or intellectual intelligence, would skate his way into such a comfortable position. This film concentrates on political operations rather than those of the violent nature but it is not as smart or gripping as it thinks it is, meaning the movie becomes a drag long before it even reaches the two-hour mark.

My attempt at delving deeper into Choi Min-sik's filmography and finding more hidden gems has failed. Nothing particularly interesting at all happens, meaning 'Nameless Gangster' does not warrant your attention and so might as well be regarded as nameless.
½ June 14, 2014
no me gustan las películas de gangsters, y esta no me ha hecho cambiar de opinión
May 21, 2014
Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (Bumchoiwaui Junjaeng; "War on Crime: The Golden Age of the Bad Guys") - South Korean gangster film co-produced, written and directed by Yoon Jong-bin. Starring Choi Min-sik (Oldboy), Ha Jung-woo. For the role Choi put on weight (10kg). Film received several accolades and nominations at Baeksang Arts Awards, Buil Film Awards, Grand Bell Awards, Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, Busan Film Critics Award and Asian Film Awards. Nameless Gangster is said to have been inspired from the real events emanating from the decade 80s-90s, when South Korea was ruled by rampant street low-life thugs and gangsters - until an operation was executed under direct orders from the Korean presidency. Time has frequently equated it with Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas - and further says, that this should be what may make Scorsese proud of.

Set in Busan (South Korea) early 80s - the film starts with footage from the period showing massive crack-down on crime-gangs, after country's President Roh Tae-woo declares war on gang-crimes - who'd vowed during election-campaign to rid country of corruption and crime. Choi Ik-hyun (Choi Min-sik) is handcuffed and behind the bar where he's visited by country Attorney-General, who asks him to write his confession about his involvement with the gangs (which he denies, and gets a beat for this).

Film than jumps back to the past, showing the rise of Choi as beneficial to crime-syndicate. He works as custom officer of mere rank at shipyard. He owns lovely family (a wife - 2 daughters and small son). He seems to have reach to influential governmental, official bodies - based on his clan-name he uses it to persuade the people to help him out from grave situations, often using it to receive favors and sympathy. In deep down he's neither coward nor a brave person. One day he finds 10kg of heroin in the container which his colleague takes him to a young handsome looking drug-dealer Choi Hyung-bai (Ha Jung-woo). After learning the clan-name (Choi), Choi rebukes him and asks him to bow before him - soon he's shown getting slaps after slaps from Hyung-bai's bodyguard. Choi reaches out to his old father who scolds Hyung-bae for treating him that way and further informs him that Choi had actually helped him during his boat-operating days. This sets of long-lasting partnership between Choi and Hyung-bai - Choi tells him, 'I have got brain and you've got muscles - let's use them to grow as one'.

I tried to play this movie to get a preview of it but then decided to continue it - because I was fascinated by the pace and settings in it. Remarkable indeed, this concludes the reasonable assumption that Korean cinema has taken correct path to achieve its goals of becoming one of the finest cinemas from largest continent (Asia). What is there to learn more about acting when you have name like 'Choi Min-sik' and 'Ha Jung-woo'; but it's actually Min-sik who steals the show. He has continued his rhythm of bearing sensitive approach that he shown in 'Oldboy' and 'I Saw The Devil'.

Nameless Gangster should be regarded long after this in milieu of movies that became pioneers to set standards for South Korean cinema. Go ahead and enjoy the brain and genius tactics that Choi applies to get his assignments done - that even Michael Corleone or others used little for their scenes.
½ March 24, 2014
A slow, powerful crime drama much like the mafia films of 80s/90s by Scorsese and others. Mixes social issues with politics and the unrest in South Korea in the 80s. Min-sik Choi nails it as always. Well worth a watch.
½ January 25, 2014
Korean stir of Gangster flicks like Godfather, Casino and Goodfellas! But based on true events! After Old Boy, Ming-Sik Choi's remarkable performance!
January 9, 2014
Takes an entirely different route from your standard gangster flick. Through this film you truly see mobster culture from the korean way of life. In that respect this film deserved more than my undivided attention for the full length.
Not sure who was better out of Choi Min Sik and Ha Jung Woo because they were both just incredible in their roles.
December 20, 2013
4/10: Had high expectation but turned out to be a major disappointment. Too draggy and it's not engaging at all with silly comedic acting.
½ September 15, 2013
On the verge of being fired, a corrupt customs official finds a haul of drugs and teams up with a vicious gangster to become the most powerful crime partnership in Busan.
½ August 24, 2013
Think of a regular guy who gets by just running his mouth, could be a big mob boss. It really is interesting. Nameless Gangster live up to its title, it's a clever story of how this average joe ended up in the world of korean gangsters. Though in the end, the movie lacks a good conflict to turn this anti-hero into a more interesting story.
August 15, 2013
A well-acted, intelligent and breath taking. It's one of the most powerful gangster films in years.
August 12, 2013
Gritty and fantastic film, starts out slow but swirls through in such stunning fashion. The ending was less than desired but overall, an enjoyable work.
½ April 12, 2013
Overly long & oddly edited. There were great moments throughout but just didn't connect. Borrowed heavily from Scarface & Casino, even blatantly copying a couple scenes. Would have been more enjoyable with 25 minutes cut out
½ January 12, 2013
Odlicen korejski film za organiziraniot kriminal vo Juzna Koreja. Vistinska prikazna.
January 6, 2013
"Nameless Gangster" narra el intento de un oficial corrupto por convertirse en un respetado jefe de la mafia. Choi Ik-hyn tiene la gran fortuna de pertenecer a una familia importante pero su esfuerzo por ser intimidante es risible. Al mismo tiempo la cinta nos muestra la manera en que la mafia opera en Corea y las rivalidades que hay entre aquellos que controlan los diferentes territorios.
"Nameless Gangster" contiene muy buenas actuaciones (especialmente de Min-sik Choi, en un papel muy diferente al que interpreto en "Oldboy") y es otro ejemplo de la superioridad del cine coreano contemporaneo. Muy recomendable.
December 26, 2012
"...and I have been living in poverty ever since just because he came second. Coming second is worthless, you have to be number one" - Choi Ik-hyun

An entertaining gangster drama that is highly influenced by American crime thrillers. The film still has some Asian twists to it when it comes to violence, culture and traditions. It's entertaining and if you're a Choi Min Sik fan, then you're going to enjoy it, he reminded me of his role back in Kim ji-woon's Quiet Family. The film is totally worth watching.
November 29, 2012
Choi Min Sik always amazes me. This is no exception. It's just a bit more restrained than other flicks. But I enjoyed flipflopping between sympathy and disgust for his character. All the acting for that matter was excellent in this movie. And it was an educational cool experience
October 28, 2012
Choi Min-sik is phenomenal. Quite the powerful gangster drama.
October 15, 2012
It would seem inescpable that a Korean Gangster film will invoke a sense of Godfather or Scorcese-esque deja-vu - and so it does here: from the nightclub scenes to the inevitable family gatherings; or the slo-mo shots and the background guitar music (at least at the beginning of the film anyway). Call it homage or a sly nod to its predecessors but it doesnt feel totally deriviative. It has its own original, native elements: baseball bats instead of guns, for example, and other Korean twist or versions of what one would expect from a genre pic like this. In the end, the performances are engrossing and the execution is extremely competent - though a tad long at 133 mins.
October 3, 2012
Gangster movies I cannot get really used to, even with Ha Jung-Woo. Very well acted though. Choi Min Sik never fails to give me creeps thanks to Oldboy. What a interesting twist of dynamics between the two characters back and forth all throughout the movie.
Super Reviewer
½ September 30, 2012
Jong-bin Yun's Nameless Gangster stretches as far as it can go without much to back it up.The plot is too long for its own good; easily past 2 hours and there isn't much to show for it. The pacing isn't exactly at a snail's pace, which is a good thing, but as events come and go it all leads to a climax that never ends up as a memorable highlight. It's almost as if this film goes through the motions then closes its doors light and easy.For a gangster story it contains its share of violence, mostly in the form of brawls and one-sided beatings. There isn't a whole lot of blood or extreme incidents to get queasy over either.Min-sik Choi puts on an amusing performance from time to time. His voice really makes him stand out among the rest. His character, on the other hand, doesn't contain much to like. Actually, none of the characters can be considered heroes and this ends up as another disappointing aspect of the film.As a gangster flick, Nameless Gangster is watchable; not really one to make time for though.
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