Three separate holiday affairs, tenuously connected by their shared destination, are cruisy and bright, though rarely surprising, in the entertaining South Korean criss-crosser "Romantic Island."
Three separate holiday affairs, tenuously connected by their shared destination, are cruisy and bright, though rarely surprising, in the entertaining South Korean criss-crosser “Romantic Island.” Released Dec. 24 as a date movie, this amusing pic garnered only mild biz locally, and is too mainstream for most Western festivals. But other Asian markets — especially the Philippines, where the story is mostly set — may be more enthusiastic.Inspired by a gamut of reasons, six Seoulites travel to the island of Boracay, south of Manila, to solve their problems. K-popster-cum-actress Eugene is pitch-perfect as runaway rock star Ga-young, whose hook-up with unemployed geek Jung-hwan (Lee Min-ki) is charming. Strongest thread depicts the melting of CEO bully Jae-hyuk (Hong Sang-soo alum Lee Sun-kyun) by happy-go-lucky free spirit Soo-jin (“Tazza” starlet Lee Soo-kyung, comically delightful). Third strand, about suicidal schlub Joong-shik (Lee Mun-shik), feels superfluous until it belatedly links all three stories. First-timer Kang Chul-woo helms in a slickly straightforward style, and all thesps give enjoyable perfs. Tech credits are up to South Korea’s usual high benchmark, though the studio work lacks the vividness of the location scenes.