The repressive atmosphere of early ’70s South Korea is evoked with raggedy brio in “Go Go 70s,” as a rock band briefly challenges the curfews and conservatism of the military dictatorship. Based on the true story of the Devils, pic wanders in its midstages and lacks clearly defined lead characters. But the rousing finale, and flavorsome use of docu footage, should ensure this a berth at Asiaphile events. Local B.O. has been solid since Oct. 2 release.
After marking time by playing U.S. military bars, singer Sang-gyu (Jo Seung-woo, “Marathon”) and guitarist Man-shik (real-life rocker Cha Seung-woo) form a rock group, win a contest and become the star attraction — along with sexy go-go dancer Mimi (Shin Min-ah) — at Seoul’s Nirvana club. But tensions within the group, and vicious crackdowns by the junta on long hair and miniskirts, take their toll, prior to the band’s devil-may-care relaunch. Cha is much more charismatic than the putative lead, Jo, while Shin, stunning when shimmying, doesn’t have much of a role. But pic’s raw energy and helming by Choi Ho (tough crimer “Bloody Tie”) deliver the goods in the final act.