West 32nd (2007)
directed & co-written by Michael Kang, co-written by Edmund Lee
starring John Cho (Star Trek, Harold & Kumar, Flashforward), Jun Kim, Grace Park (Battlestar Gallactica)
English, Korean with English subtitles
DVD was released last october 2009
This isn’t your conventional indie film in that it’s not minimalist or artsy featuring a bunch of unknowns. It’s a crime thriller set in New York’s koreatown that actually had some financial backing from South Korea’s largest entertainment company, CJ Entertainment. The budget was still limited but the film looks very slick and stars some fairly well known actors with John Cho (Star Trek, Harold & Kumar) and Grace Park (Battlestar Gallactica) as well as a cameo by popular Korean actor Jun Ho Jeong. However, the standout performance is easily Jun Kim whose character proves to be the most interesting and engaging. This is reinforced by the fact that a fair number of deleted scenes relate to Jun Kim’s character which reveal different facets of his personality. John Cho’s character who is a lawyer is somewhat bland while Grace Park’s character doesn’t really have much to do.
In fact, the one time that Park’s character is involved significantly, it’s due to a really stupid decision that any lawyer worth their salary would know to avoid (can you say “conflict of interest?”). If you’ve seen the film you’ll know exactly what I mean. It’s really the only kink in what is a pretty good and entertaining story. The tension ramps up nicely leading toward an exciting finish. It’s definitely the type of film that I think casual film goers would enjoy.
You can order the dvd from your favorite store or online retailer (amazon.ca has it)