Fate

"Fate" aspires to the crown of epic Korean gangster sagas like "Friend" and "A Dirty Carnival" but falls short in scripting and doesn't justify its two-hour length.

With:
With: Song Seung-heon, Gweon Sang-woo, Ji Seong, Park Han-byeol, Kim In-gweon.

A generic story of former school pals at odds with each other in the Seoul underworld, “Fate” aspires to the crown of epic Korean gangster sagas like “Friend” and “A Dirty Carnival” but falls short in scripting and doesn’t justify its two-hour length. Still, this sophomore feature by writer-helmer Kim Hae-gon (“Between Love and Hate”) has charismatic lead perfs by Song Seung-weon and, especially, Gweon Sang-woo, some kinetically staged action and a head-turning late plot reversal. Asian-friendly events should respond.

After a botched heist on a rival gang, Wu-min (Song) agrees to take the fall with some jail time, while turncoat Cheol-jeong (Gweon) joins the rival’s ranks, and their two other pals (Ji Seong, Kim In-gweon) are let go. Out of stir, Wu-min tries to track down those two (one is on drugs, one has disappeared) while heading toward a fated final confrontation with Cheol-jeong, who’s now a cocky mobster trying to protect his position within the rival gang’s ranks. Film slackens when Gweon is not onscreen and doesn’t always juggle its subplots smoothly, but the two leads’ various faceoffs pull the saga through. Widescreen tech package is smooth.

Fate

South Korea

Production: A CJ Entertainment release of an NTorino Corp. presentation, in association with CJ Entertainment, of an MKDK production. (International sales: CJ, Seoul.) Produced by Kang Min. Executive producer, Kang Tae-woo. Directed, written by Kim Hae-gon.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Choi Ji-yeol; editor, Choi Jae-geun; music, Choi Tae-wan; art director, Lee Mi-gyeong; costume designer, Kim Jeong-weon. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 16, 2008. Running time: 123 MIN.

With: With: Song Seung-heon, Gweon Sang-woo, Ji Seong, Park Han-byeol, Kim In-gweon.

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