After directing a series of entertaining thrillers and action spectacles in his homeland of South Korea, the filmmaker Kim Jee-woon was offered an English-language film in 2013, specifically the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle The Last Stand. Not only did that movie prove to be one of Jee-woon’s most satisfying actioners, it’s also inarguably the best movie that Schwarzenegger has starred in since 1994’s True Lies. Unfortunately, the film did not do that well, and Jee-woon returned to South Korea to begin production on a far more politically substantial film, namely The Age of Shadows, and the first trailer for that film has arrived this very morning.
From what the trailer below shows, this already seems like a far more mature film than his grisly thrillers (I Saw the Devil, A Tale of Two Sisters) or bonkers action epics (The Good, the Bad, and the Weird), but it doesnt feel forced. The story is set in the 1920s, and centers on a former independence-party member turned Japanese police officer, played by Bong Joon-ho axiom Song Kang-ho, in Seoul, South Korea who attempts to stop a major attack by the resistance. This is new terrain for Jee-woon, who has also leaned hard on genre tropes, but has also demonstrated tremendous formal ability and a master’s touch for pacing. There’s only been rumors of the film arriving stateside, but after the Toronto Film Festival, NYFF, and the rest of the festival circuits this Fall/Winter, there should be a more concrete release date. For now, you can check out the trailer, poster, and official synopsis below, and the film will be released in South Korea in September.
Here’s the trailer for The Age of Shadows:
Here’s the official synopsis:
Set in the late 1920s, The Age of Shadows follows the cat-and-mouse game that unfolds between a group of resistance fighters led by Gong’s character, trying to bring in explosives from Shanghai to destroy key Japanese facilities in Seoul, and Japanese agents trying to stop them. Song plays a talented Korean-born Japanese police officer who was previously in the independence movement himself and is thrown into a dilemma between the demands of his reality and the instinct to support a greater cause.
Here’s the poster for The Age of Shadows: