Beat (1997) Review

"Beat" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Beat" Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: Kim Sung-su
Producer: Cha Seung-Jae
Cast: Jung Woo-Sung, Ko So-Young , Kim Bu-Seon, Lim Chang Jung , Yu Oh-Seong, Lee Mun-Shik, Sa Hyeon-Jin, Jang Dong-Jik, Do Ki-Seok, Kim Seong-Su, Park Kyeong-Hwan, Kwon Tae-Won, Jin Bong-Jin, Lee Suk, Kim Yang-Woo
Running Time: 113 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

“Beat” is the story involving a few hoods who lived fast and suffered the consequences of their violent, crime-filled lifestyle. It stars Jeong Wu-Seong (“Musa”), Yoo Oh-Sung (“Friend”) and the beautiful Go So-Yeong (“Love Wind, Love Song”). Since seeing Yoo Oh-Sung perform in “Friend” and “Attack the Gas Station”, I’ve developed a certain respect for his acting abilities. I can see why they keep casting this guy as the no-nonsense tough guy who follows the world of crime – the guy is intense. But all of them play their roles excellent, as expected. The characters are likeable, believable and go through things that we can relate to: sex, school stress, depression, death and the opportunity to choose right or wrong paths. The film makes it a point to show the audience that these characters had a choice in life.

I wouldn’t exactly place “Beat” on my list of the top-10 gangster flicks of all time, but it’s certainly a well-made film with excellent pacing, fantastic story-telling, and as already mentioned, great performances by the cast. A guitar-rockin’ soundtrack would seem very unlikely for a stylish gangster film of this kind, but for whatever reason, it goes great with the visuals. I also like the fact that the film’s plot not only centers around the guys’, but also has some moments with it’s female character as well.

One of the main problems I had with “Beat” was with all the pointless Wong Kar-Wai shit. I’m talking about that slow-motion, frame-skipping nonsense that’s used way too much in the wrong areas. In fact, it ruins the overall film from something that could have been “great” to just “good”. This isn’t nit-picking either, it REALLY did bother me.

I liked “Beat”, but I have spoiled myself with films like Kwak Kyung-Taek’s similar themed “Friend”, which I watched first and several times before I watched this. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this review, even though 70% of it was me nagging about how I wanted to be a gangster – it was all in fun. Or maybe I did it on purpose since “Beat” was one of those neutral movies that’s hard to review since there was nothing too sucky about it, nor was there anything to really rave about. It was just there and it was just “good”.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 7.5/10 (this would have easily been a 8/10 if it weren’t for the WKW slow-mo shit)

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