The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (해적: 도깨비 깃발/ Haejeog: Dokkaebi Gisbal) – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A fun romp across the ocean that does lean quite heavily into that slapstick world but nearly always lands the joke.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie.

The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure. Image Credit: Netflix.

The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure Review

Ever since the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise floundered, I have been looking for another film to step up and show just how good pirate films can be. Well, it turns out to find just such a film, I needed to dive up to Korea into a world of comedy and adventure.  

So to set the scene, in 1388 Goryeo Dynasty was collapsing, and some patriotic generals plundered the Dynasty’s wealth and took it far out to sea. Sometime later, we open with a group of bandits led by Woo Moo-chi (Kang Ha-neul) floating on a wreck ready for death when they are rescued by the famous pirate Hae-rang (Han Hyo-joo). Three months after the recuse, there is still friction between the two as they capture Japanese Pirate ships. However, this particular ship they captured is searching for a treasure, a lost ship of Goryeo treasures, and now they have the map.

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Minari – Movie Review

TL;DR – It captures a snapshot of a life so perfectly that it is almost difficult to watch sometimes because you feel like a voyeur eavesdropping on someone else’s life.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan subscription that viewed this movie.

Minari. Image Credit: Madman Films.

Minari Review

Some films you can tell are works of personal nature because of the breath intimacy at every turn. You feel it in the story, the world, and the characters. This makes it a more intimate film, but it also can be more challenging to watch. Today we look at a movie that might be the most personal film I have ever seen that wasn’t a direct autobiography.

So to set the scene, in the 1980s, the Yi family make the trek inland from California to Arkansas. Jacob (Steven Yeun) picked the house because of the land, but his wife Monica (Han Ye-ri) is less than impressed that Jacob bought a trailer and not a house. Jacob wants the land to be a farmer to grow Korean crops for the diaspora, while Monica is fearful that they are too far away from the cities as their son David (Alan Kim) has a heart problem. Things get better/worse when Monica’s mum Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) arrives to watch David and his sister Anne (Noel Kate Cho) as Monica and Jacob spend their days sexing chickens in a local factory.  

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Space Sweepers (Victory, Seungriho, 승리호) – Movie Review

TL;DR – An odd film that I loved from start to finish   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Nominated: Most Fun & Fascinating Worldbuilding

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film.

Space Sweepers. Image Credit: Netflix.

Space Sweepers Review

I have seen a lot of excellent Science Fiction in the last little while. However, I have been looking forward to something different, something odd, something that does not fit the mould. Well, today we get just such a film out of Korea that blends the farcical with the serious all while screaming around Earth’s orbit.  

So to set the scene, in 2092 the biosphere started to break down on Earth, soon deserts spanned the globe as the plants died off. But all was not lost, led by UTS and its company director James Sullivan (Richard Armitage) people were able to escape into space. Well, the rich anyway got to flee to orbital biospheres in orbit while 95% of people are left on Earth or work on ships clearing up space debris hoping to earn enough money to buy UTS citizenship and escape. One such crew is of the ship Victory, including Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri), pilot Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki), engineer Tiger Park (Jin Seon-kyu), and android Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin). All is going, well not well, when they open up a ship they salvaged and found Dorothy/Kot-nim (Park Ye-Rin) an android girl that everyone in the system is after.

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Peninsula (반도, Bando, Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that unfortunately cannot reach the heights of its past.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Peninsula. Image Credit: Well Go.


A few years ago, I stumbled across this fascinating Korean film called The Train to Busan. It was a zombie film where every character acted consistently and understandably throughout its run time. In a sea of mediocre zombie flicks, it instantly rose to the top, and since then maybe only Cargo has come close to meeting it. Thus, I was excited when I heard there was going to be a sequel to that great film. However, now I have seen it. I realise I should have modulated my expectations before going in.

So to set the scene, we open in on the day that South Korea fell. With Seoul burning in the background, Captain Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) is racing through mountainous back roads to get his family out on the last refugee boat. While driving, they came across a stranded family with a baby and just kept on driving. They make it to the boat in time, however, as it is leaving one of the passengers turns and before they can stop it all of Jung-seok’s family is dead bar his brother-in-law Chul-min (Kim Do-yoon). Four years later, in Hong Kong living in squalor waiting for refugee status, Chul-min and Jung-seok are offered an opportunity by a local gangster to make some real money. All they have to do is go back to Inchon, in what is now just known as The Peninsular, under cover of darkness and recover a food truck with 20 Million Dollars in the back. What could go wrong?   

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Movie Review – Parasite (Gisaengchung, 기생충)

TL;DR – A truly brilliant work of cinema that works on a character, action, and story level.    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Parasite (Gisaengchung, 기생충). Image Credit: Madman Films.


When you hear that a film has won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival you immediately take notice. Because even though the voters at Cannes don’t always get it right, they always at least pick a film that is interesting. Well today not only do we get a film that is interesting, but we also get a film that made me feel multiple different emotions throughout its run time, and made an entire cinema audible gasp more than once, like the whole cinema. Well, Parasite is a more than just interesting film. Now in this review, we are going to avoid saying too much about the ending, but just, in general, this is a film that is best seen with as little information as possible.  

So to set the scene, we open in on the Kim family: father Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), mother Choong-sook (Jang Hye-jin), son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), and daughter Ki-jung (Park So-dam). They live in a semi-basement flat in the poorer part of Seoul trying to make a living from whatever odd jobs they can find, like folding pizza boxes into shape. Then one day one of Ki-woo’s old army friends who is now in university comes to visit. He lets Ki-woo know of a job as an English tutor to a rich family that would pay very well. The only problem is that Ki-woo never went to university, even though he is qualified for the job, so he gets his sister Ki-jung to fake him up some university records and shows up at the Park family house. Mr Park (Lee Sun-kyun) is a successful businessman who runs a company and spends a lot of time away from the house, so he leaves his wife Yeon-kyo (Cho Yeo-jeong) in charge of hiring and she is apparently a bit dim. Well, when she watching his lesson with her daughter Da-hye (Jung Ji-so) she mentions that they are looking for an art tutor for their son Da-song (Jung Hyun-joon) and Ki-woo knows just what to do.

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Movie Review – Svaha: The Sixth Finger (사바하, Sabaha)

TL;DR – This is a film that starts of in this weird tonally mismatched place and then as we delve deep it reveals the strength on which it is developing.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Svaha: The Sixth Finger. Image Credit: Netflix.


There are times when a surprise is really good and then there are times when you unknowingly walk into a situation that you never expected. Today we have a bit of the latter as we look at the Korean film Svaha. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, nor even what genre of film I was about to watch, I just thought it would be a good idea to catch up on some world cinema before I went to bed. Well, there are many things forthcoming in the world, but after this film, a good night’s sleep is not one of them. With that in mind, to put off going to sleep, even though it is 6 degrees in Brisbane tonight, and hold off the nightmares for an hour or two, I’m instead going to write this review.

So to set the scene, we open in a small farming town in 1999 where a woman has given birth to twin girls. However, one of them is a monster, and the doctor doesn’t think it will last the night. Soon both Geum-hwa’s (Lee Jae-in) parents are dead but her sister did not die, she lives on hidden by the family not even taught how to speak. In the present day, Pastor Park (Lee Jung-jae) is given a lecture at a local theological college. Park is an expert on new religious movements and cults in particular. He is looking to make sure that they don’t become a danger as they have been in other countries. However, it feels like he is more drawn to scandal to make a quick buck than by any real spiritual connection. One of the many groups he is monitoring is a small Buddhist-adjacent organisation who has a symbol of a deer on their buildings. But his convictions are tested when he starts digging deeper and the bodies start piling up.

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Movie Review – Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob, 극한직업)

TL;DR – This is a film that is hilarious, funny, and had me laughing from start to finish.     

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob, 극한직업). Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.


There are many reasons that you may want to go to the movies. You may want a visual spectacle, an interesting character study, or maybe you just want to site and laugh your heart out. Well, today I look at a film that has the distinction of being not one but all of these things at once. Even better I had no idea about this film before seeing it, other than the title, so I didn’t know I was about to see one of the best films of the year when I walked in. Also just a pro-tip, do not go into this film on an empty stomach, trust me on this one, or at least plan to go get food the moment the film ends.  

So to set the scene, we open on an illegal gambling den as police radios crackle to life with instructions reminding everyone to limit property damage as they repel down the side of a building to block off all avenues of escape. This means no smashing through windows like you are an action star and politely asking the criminal to turn himself in … and that goes about as well as you can expect. The whole team Chief Go (Ryu Seung-ryong), Detective Jang (Lee Hanee), Detective Young-ho (Lee Dong-hwi), Detective Ma (Jin Seon-kyu), and Detective Jae-hoon (Gong Myung), chase after the suspect through the streets of Seoul only for them to have everything fall apart. They are dragged in front of the Police Superintendent (Kim Eui-sung) and berated for their incompetence, with the very real chance that their team will be disbanded. Everyone knows that they are on their last chance when Choi (Song Young-kyu) the head of a rival police taskforce gives them a tip that Lee Moo-bae (Shin Ha-kyun) one of Korea’s big drug players is about to return to the country. So the team has to engage in the biggest stake-out in their history, and it goes about as well as you expect.

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Movie Review – The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo, 악녀)

TL;DR – Some of the most fascinating actions sequences I have ever seen, sandwiched between one of the dullest stories I have ever watched. I don’t think I have reviewed a film with such extremes in quality before, it was both fascinating and disappointing all at once.

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – No

The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo, 악녀). Image Credit: Well Go.


Wow, I don’t think I have ever come across a film like The Villainess before that had the ability to both deeply interest me and also deeply bore me all in the same film. In a story of two halves, you have some of the most fascinating action sequences I have ever seen put to film, and in the other half a spy revenge tale that was just a slog to get through. On the one hand, having such a discrepancy is interesting to talk about, but also it was really frustrating because you could see such potential squandered so badly.

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Movie Review – The Battleship Island (Gunhamdo, 군함도)

TL;DR – A harrowing look at a moment in our past that we need to deal with if we want to avoid repeating our mistakes.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Battleship Island. Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.


This year after watching the simply amazing Okja (review) and Train to Busan, a film that redefines a genre and one I really need to write something on, I decided to try and get out and see more Korean cinema. Now, unfortunately, it can be a bit difficult to find here in Australia, but thankfully a cinema near me does get some of the new releases from Asia from time to time. So today I continued my exploration of Korean cinema with the fascinating The Battleship Island. So what is the film about? Well how far would you go to protect your daughter from the world around her, what would you do break a revolutionary leader out prison, how far would you go to exploit the people under you to make a quick buck? These are some of the questions The Battleship Island tries to answer.

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Movie Review – Okja

TL;DR – Beautiful, moving, devastating, unsettling, emotional, heart-breaking & powerful

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

P.S. – There is a post-credit scene

Okja. Image Credit: Netflix.


Wow, just wow, for a long time Netflix has been moving into the movie distribution industry, but so far they really have not put out anything truly remarkable, focusing more on Adam Sandler type movies, when they actually get around to promoting them. So when some friends in the industry mentioned that Okja was the real thing, I was surprised, then I found out that it was made by Bong Joon-ho, whose Snowpiercer was a fascinating film, even if I did have a couple of issues with it. So I loaded up Netflix, put out my lunch, and wondered what we were going to see, and I can honestly say I was not prepared for the feels, in any way shape and form.

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