Review. New World focuses on the struggle to select a successor in a gangster organization.
Synopsis. What if the big boss of a gangster organization unexpectedly dies? Who will be the successor? What if the police has a deep mole in the gangster organization? What if the police want to use this deep mole to influence the successor selection? This is the basis for New World.
More Details. New World is a 2013 Korean film that stars Lee Jung Jae as the deep mole Lee Ja Sung, Choi Min Sik as police director Kang Hyung Chul, Hwang Jung Min as successor candidate #1 Jung Chung and Park Sung Woong as successor candidate #2 Lee Joong Goo. Jung Jae has lived in fear of discovery for years. When the big boss dies, he believes he’s earned the right to exit the gangster lifestyle. Not so fast says his police boss, Hyung Chul, who declares that Jung Jae must influence the successor selection so the police have control over the next big boss. Will they pit the successor candidates against each other? Who will live and who will die in the quest? Who will win the fight to be big boss?
What I liked about New World:
Superb Story with Gritty Style. This story was strong from the first frame to the last. There wasn’t a wasted moment. Everything mattered. In this film, twists and turns came throughout. I did not know how it was going to play out. Park Hoon Jung was the writer and director of New World. This script was so strong, I’m interested in checking out other films by him. The quartet of producers, Kim Woo Taek, Park Min Jung, Han Jae Duk, Kim Hyun Woo, brought the gangster world to life with a gritty style that underscored the desperate successor fight that was masked with polite discussions then unmasked with violence.
Lee Jung Jae as the deep mole Lee Ja Sung. I’d recently seen this actor in The Thieves and I was not fond of his character in that film. But Jung Jae was the star of this movie and got the job done. Ja Sung was tired of being a mole, knowing that if he was found out, he was a dead man. It wasn’t only the gangsters that threatened him, it was also police director Hyung Chul, the man who recruited Ja Sung to become a deep mole. Hyung Chul monitored, directed, and pushed Ja Sung. Hyung Chul never followed through on his promise to extract Ja Sung and allow him to relocate to a foreign country to begin a new life. Ja Sung was living on the edge. The pressure builds throughout the film, secrets are revealed, and hard choices are made. Jung Jae was excellent as he flipped emotions through the film – fear that he’d be revealed as the mole, anger that Hyung Chul would use him forever and never release him, tenderness for his wife and unborn child, and shock then determination to make hard choices.
Choi Min Sik as police director Kang Hyung Chul. He was the puppet master. He recruited then rookie police officer Ja Sung to go undercover. With the gangster successor up in the air, Hyung Chung went face to face with both successor candidates to see if he could manipulate one or both of them into doing his bidding. Huyng Chung yanked everyone’s strings and his machinations set the outcome in motion. Min Sik, who was fabulous in Old Boy, gave Hyung Chul steely determination to achieve his goal of influencing the successor. But underneath the determination, Min Sik showed that Hwang Chul cared for his mole while keeping his eye on the prize. Min Sik had strong interactions with every important character in this film. Hyung Chul was the glue of the story and Min Sik’s performance was stellar for this crucial character.
Hwang Jung Min as successor candidate #1 Jung Chung. Jung Chung was likable and had great affection for Ja Sung. Jung Min brought warmth, hardness and vulnerability to Jung Chung, which was an interesting mix. Could Jung Chung trust Ja Sung? If not, what would he do? Would Hyung Chul get Jung Chung under his influence or could Jung Chung bribe and neutralize him?
Park Sung Woong as s successor candidate #2 Lee Joong Goo. I recently watched Sung Woong the series Remember where he played a lawyer who sold out. In New World Sung Woong brought a violent edge to Joong Goo, a gangster that had the popular but not the political support in the successor selection. What’s a guy to do? Take out your opponent was the logical option, but it wasn’t as easy as expected, especially when Hyung Chul inserted himself into Joong Goo’s power struggle. Would Hyung Chul get Joong Goo under his influence or could Joong Goo out muscle and neutralize him?
What I did not like about New World:
Some violent bloody scenes. Once I realize that the scene was going there, I would close my eyes and miss most of what I did not want to see.
New World is a gangster movie winner. The actors brought a twisting tight story to life. I was pleasantly surprised I enjoyed this film as much as I did.