Nameless Gangster Reviews
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.
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.
Not sure who was better out of Choi Min Sik and Ha Jung Woo because they were both just incredible in their roles.
"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.
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.