This is a Korean version by Director Song Hae-Seong, but with the collaboration of the original writer of the Hong Kong classic, John Woo. Many have complained that this does not add anything to the original and as such is inferior, however I decided to watch this with an openish mind and see what I thought, and I must say I loved it. The original is feted with shooting Chow Yun Fat to fame, starting off a rash of copycat gangster films and upping the sale of Aviator sunglasses and trench coats, so this has a lot to live up to - except about the rain coats that is, I mean Inspector Clouseu wore one.
The plot is around North Korean escapee Kim Hyeok (Jin Mo-Ju -`The Warrior' and `Real Fiction') he has been taken under the wing of a kind police Lieutenant Park and his larger than life auntie, but he also dabbles in a spot of international, illegal arms dealing. The cash he makes from that he spends trying to find his younger brother who was caught trying to escape with him and whom he left behind to face the North Korean bitter justice. This brother is Kim Cheol (Kang- woo Kim), but Hyeok has a best mate too in the shape of Yeong Choon (Seung Heon-Song) and after a deal goes very bad very quick he seeks a bungled revenge. Meanwhile little brother has escaped ben found and reunited but has refused to forgive Hyeok for abandoning him and moreover decides to become a police man putting them either side of the law.
For those who have seen the original this plays very much along the same lines, but with changes of scenery and parts of the plot. If you have not seen it then let me just say that this takes a while to do the scene setting and to pull the masks off of some of the main players. There is bags of action, and some great music too which you do tend to get with Korean cinema. The characters are just as important as the action in this and the interplay of loyalty and familial bonds is taken to the limit.
There are some good shoot outs too, but this is not a full on actioner, but you wouldn't really notice. It runs to just over 2 hours and is in Korean, English and a smattering of Russian with good to average sub titles. For Asian cinema fans this is one you will most definitely want to see and even if you saw the Chow Yun Fat 1980's version, I think this is still worth a watch.