Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2012)

Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (Review)
Yoon Jong-bin/Choi Min-sik/2012 
Where To Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime 

"...a must-watch for fans of the genre."

After he stumbles upon 10 kilos of heroin, corrupt customs official Choi Ik-hyun (Choi Min-sik) teams up with vicious gangster Choi Hyung-bae (Ha Jung-woo) to create the most powerful crime organization in Busan.

Nameless Gangster follows Ik-hyun and Hyung-bae as they slowly move up in the world through illegal activities. The beginning is a little complicated – starting at the present, moving into a week later, than jumping years earlier – but it quickly irons out. Anyway, Ik-hyun becomes a business front and develops some immensely valuable contacts, while Hyung-bae handles the dirty work through ferocious violence. Although both are looking at the top as their destination and both develop a strong family relationship, Ik-hyun and Hyung-bae are different people – Ik-hyun is manipulative, quick-witted, and greedy, while Hyung-bae is a cold-hearted, dead-serious gangster. Consequently, we this clash of personalities clash as they rise, particularly when they enter the resort and casino business. A bit more than your typical gangster film, Nameless Gangster leads up to a fantastic ending.

Nameless Gangster works very well as a gangster epic. In fact, much of the film is reminiscent of Martin Scorsese's gangster classics, sharing most similarities with Casino. Otherwise, Nameless Gangster develops a personality for itself. It's interesting to see Ik-hyun's character throughout the film – you can see he has a big ego and he's filled with greed. It's also interesting to see Hyung-bae's interactions with Ik-hyun. Aside from the characters, the plot also gives an interesting look into the criminal underworld and the corrupt officials who helped it strive. Although most tension is built simply through dialogue, which is fantastic, there are a few action sequences, usually involving gang warfare in a Korean-style – don't expect shootouts like you would in an American film. Also, the pacing is fantastic, really keeping you hooked and keeping the plot moving at all times.

Choi Min-sik is fantastic as the lead – his character is very multilayered, with a big ego and an almost cowardly personality. Min-sik really captures this personality and becomes the character – and he's one of the few actors that makes a believable drunk. Ha Jung-woo is also fantastic as the slick and brutal gangster – definitely one of the best Korean actors around. Like before, the music and it's editing also reminded me of Scorsese's style – it matches and helps build the mood, and gives the film a lively vibe. The film is beautifully shot, as well. I watched the Korean Blu-ray – the English subtitles are practically flawless, although they sometimes conflict with the film's own occasional subtitles and credits – not a big problem, though. Director and writer Yoon Jong-bin creates a lively and realistic world, blending a decade's worth of information and keeping it entertaining at that.

Overall, Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time is a fantastic gangster film. Both Choi Min-sik and Ha Jung-woo deliver stellar performances, and the story keeps you hooked from beginning to end. The introduction is a bit convoluted, though, but if you can stick to it, you'll be greatly rewarded. Definitely a must-watch for fans of the genre.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment