Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll notice that there is an increased fascination with everything Asian. Whether it’s music, TV drama or other forms of entertainment, South Korean pop culture in particular has captured the imagination of the Western world and, as a result, we’re seeing more and more Korean movies playing in our theaters. While they are well known for their gripping action movies, the Koreans are also pretty good when it comes to oddball comedy and Mapado is a perfect blend of slapstick, action, and feel good humor, which is bound to provide you with a couple of hours of entertainment when you’re stuck for something to watch.
After a young woman steals their lottery ticket worth around $16m, gangster Jae-choel and bent cop Chung-su find themselves on the remote island of Mapado. What they’re not aware of, however, is the fact that the only inhabitants of the island are five elderly women who haven’t come across a man in over 20 years.
As you can imagine, the women can’t believe their luck and, as a result, the two men have to negotiate a cattle market-type environment while still trying to track the young woman who’s in possession of their small fortune. As if things couldn’t get any worse for Chung-su and Jae-choel, the boat off the island is a week away and so the situation becomes more about whether they’ll lose their minds rather than whether they’ll find their lottery ticket.
So… is it any good?
As you can probably gauge from the premise, this isn’t your typical rags to riches lottery winning movie. The fact that the island of Mapado is solely inhabited by a group of fairly unfriendly grannies means that you’re never too far away from innuendo and amusing antics. While the concept sounds fairly unbelievable, it pales in comparison to some of the things that have happened to a lucky lottery winner in the past.
According to the real-life gaming site, Lottoland, Nova Scotia resident Peter McCathie has both won the lottery AND been struck by lightning. With the odds of this happening around 1.26 trillion to one, the island of Mapado doesn’t seem all that farfetched after all. Nevertheless, the story does somehow work and the five grumpy women really do become the stars of the show by livening up every single scene they’re in.
Of course, with no real plot to speak of, this kind of movies can become predictable after a while. However, there are a few scenes which make good use of the beautiful scenery and, with thought-provoking lines such as “Everyone has a story to tell” and “This is life”, it’s easy to break out into a pleasant smile and appreciate that you’re watching a feel-good comedy that certainly ticks all the right boxes in terms of entertainment.
You Could Do Much Worse!
While the movie certainly won’t ever win any awards to speak of, it did prove to be a huge success in Korea and sat atop the box-office charts for three consecutive weeks. If you’re looking for a movie which doesn’t require much concentration and yet can make you both laugh and cringe in equal measure, then there’s no doubt that Mapado should be on your watch list. We just sincerely hope that the island of Mapado really is a figment of someone’s imagination and not a real place.