Review: ‘Killer Story’

Korea's movie industry comes in for some light joshing in "Killer Story," an entertaining look at a blocked movie director forced to shoot a picture with an over-the-hill bimbo actress that's virtually an uncredited remake of the 1997 Hong Kong pic "Viva Erotica." Buoyed by a lively performance by well-known actress Hwang Cine ("310, 302," "Push! Push!") as the dumb thesp, this is a more than solid item for lighter festival slots.

Korea’s movie industry comes in for some light joshing in “Killer Story,” an entertaining look at a blocked movie director forced to shoot a picture with an over-the-hill bimbo actress that’s virtually an uncredited remake of the 1997 Hong Kong pic “Viva Erotica.” Buoyed by a lively performance by well-known actress Hwang Cine (“310, 302,” “Push! Push!”) as the dumb thesp, this is a more than solid item for lighter festival slots.

Guido (Mun Seong-keun) — clearly named after the hero of the Broadway musical “Nine,” itself based on Fellini’s “8 1/2” — is an arty director with a failing B.O. record who’s unsuccessfully peddling a script called “A Killer Story,” a tragic love story about a peeping Tom in a Korean “love hotel.” Guido is offered a deal by a sleazy producer, but with the proviso that he uses his thirtysomething mistress, Marie (Hwang), who sees it as her big break into serious movies, and his star actor, Harvey (Lee Kyeong-yeong), who wants to turn it into a gangster movie.

Guido, however, is stuck on his neighbor’s cute young daughter, who wants to become an actress. Little does he realize that she’s actually a hooker, until a friend shows him some secret videotapes of her at work.

Helmer Yeo Kyun-dong, also an actor, gives his cast plenty of space and has expected fun with scenes visualizing the movie in Guido’s head and with the spiraling complications as everyone maximizes their own agendas. Underneath this , however, there develops a touching love story between Guido and the young hooker that plays off nicely against the funny-but-sad scenes between Guido and Marie. Tech credits are good, though with no special gloss.

Killer Story

(COMEDY -- SOUTH KOREAN)

Production

A Hanmac Entertainment production. (International sales: Hanmac, Seoul.) Produced by Jonathan H. Kim. Directed by Yeo Kyun-dong. Screenplay, Lee Sang-u, Yeo.

Crew

Camera (color), Kim Seong-bok; editor, Lee Eun-su; music, Choe Man-sik, Kweon Byeong-jun; art director, Lee Kyeong. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival, South Korea, Sept. 27, 1998. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

With: Hwang Cine, Mun Seong-keun, Lee Kyeong-yeong.
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