From Netflix's 'Psychokinesis' to the second part of Korea's first simultaneously shot film franchise, THR takes a look at the country's upcoming film premieres.
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Sales: Contents Panda
Stars: Ryu Seung-ryong, Shim Eun-kyung
Buzz: Netflix moved quickly to pick up the international distribution rights for the new film by Yeon, helmer of the pan-Asian zombie hit Train to Busan. Psychokinesis tells the story of an ordinary man who discovers he has the ability to move objects with his mind. Though he is initially tempted to use his new superpower to earn fast money, he changes his course when he learns that his ex-wife has died and his estranged daughter is in trouble.
Directed by: Kim Yong-hwa
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment and Dexter Studios
Sales: Lotte Entertainment
Stars: Ha Jung-woo, Cha Tae-hyun, Kim Dong-wook, Don Lee
Buzz: The second part of Korea’s first simultaneously shot film franchise, Along With the Gods, is expected to be a summer blockbuster since the first film, Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds, became the third-highest-grossing film in Korean box-office history, with more than 14.2 million admissions ($106.8 million) as of Feb. 7. Based on the smash-hit “webtoon,” or online comic strip, of the same name, this VFX-heavy fantasy movie explores time-honored local concepts of family values and life after death.
Directed by: Kim Jee-woon
Distributor: Warner Bros. Korea
Stars: Kang Dong-won, Han Hyo-joo, Jung Woo Sung
Buzz: The live-action version of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade transports the Japanese sci-fi animation film to Korea, where a cat-and-mouse chase unfolds between the police and an anti-government organization. “It’ll be very noir, like most of my films, sort of like The Dark Knight featuring elements of a spy movie,” director Kim Jee-woon told THR in 2016 before the start of shooting. “There will also be sci-fi twists featuring special power suits, again like Batman.”
Directed by: Woo Min-ho
Stars: Song Kang-ho
Buzz: The director of 2015’s hit corruption thriller Inside Men once again spotlights the darker side of Korean society in this film based on the real-life story of a notorious drug kingpin who shook up the country in the 1970s. Song stars as a small-time smuggler who rises up the ranks of Busan’s underworld with his quick wit and big ambitions. He begins to lead a double life as a good community leader by day and infamous drug lord by night.
Directed by: Lee Chang-dong
Distributor: CGV Arthouse
Stars: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo
Buzz: Lee Chang-dong, the acclaimed art-house helmer whose last two films, Secret Sunshine and Poetry, both won best screenplay prizes at Cannes, returns with his first film in eight years. Based on the short story Barn Burning by acclaimed Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, Lee’s drama made local headlines for bringing together heartthrob Yoo Ah-in (Korea’s 2016 Oscar entry The Throne) with The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun and newcomer Jeon Jong-seo. The adaptation, details of which are still sealed, is said to have largely altered the open-ended Murakami story, which is about a novelist who befriends a young model and her boyfriend.
Directed by: Kim Byung-woo
Distributor/Sales: CJ Entertainment
Stars: Ha Jung-woo, Lee Sun-kyun
Buzz: In the year 2024, an elite mercenary force embarks on a secret CIA mission to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. The team heads to a secret bunker beneath the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in order to abduct a high-profile North Korean politician, but when the North’s supreme commander becomes unexpectedly involved, Pyongyang threatens a nuclear attack against South Korea within one hour.
This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter's Feb. 16 daily issue at the Berlin Film Festival.