Kim Yong-hwa takes a page from the Hollywood franchise rulebook with the simultaneously shot sequel "Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days."
Following the record-setting, Star Wars: The Last Jedi-trouncing Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds, writer-director Kim Yong-hwa strikes box-office gold a second time with the film’s concurrently shot sequel, The Last 49 Days. Picking up what seems like a few minutes after the over of the first entry, the follow-up carries the distinct aroma of a true franchise in the making, setting a ticket presale record at home in South Korea (this time crushing the opening frame ofMission: Impossible — Fallout)and likely to lớn get off to lớn a rip-roaring start in territories that are also eagerly anticipating part two (Hong Kong, Taiwan). Success in niche markets that gave the first installment a chance will see similar results the second time around, và the prospect of an instant double bill could spark new interest elsewhere. This approach is built for streaming, too.
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The story starts with our intrepid afterlife escorts, the Guardians, planning a new trial — their crucial 49th soul — this time for Su-hong (Kim Dong-wook), the paragon of virtue’s brother turned avenging spirit in The Two Worlds, which turns out khổng lồ be the only real narrative connective tissue. There’s a catch this time: King Yeomra (Lee Jung-jae) reluctantly promises reincarnation for the troublemaking Su-hong; for Haewonmak (Ju Ji-hoon), Deok-choon (Kim Hyang-gi) and their boss khủng Gang-lim (Ha Jung-woo), reincarnation after a millennium of purgatory will only come if the former two reap an elderly man that’s overstayed his time on Earth, while the latter stays & tries Su-hong’s case alone.
Needless to say, there is a plethora of challenges, snags và secrets along the way for each of the Guardians to khuyễn mãi giảm giá with: In tangling with the household god protecting the old man & his orphaned grandson, Sung-ju (The Outlaws’ Ma Dong-seok), Haewonmak và Deok-choon recover lost memories from their lives in dynastic 10th century Goryeo that realign their relationship khổng lồ each other as well as khổng lồ Gang-lim. Gang-lim, meanwhile, wrestles with his own guilty demons, ancient fears và hypocrisy, which the smart-mouthed former law student Su-hong is quick lớn point out.
Though the two films were shot simultaneously, there’s a sense of “more” to lớn The Last 49 Days that doesn’t really bởi it any service. Lượt thích many a sequel bent on topping its predecessor to lớn prove the first entry wasn’t a fluke, the end result is just a bigger, noisier, less focused slog rather than continued world-building (John Wick: Chapter 2 & The Empire Strikes Back may the exceptions that prove the rule). Where The Two Worlds had an over destination it was clearly heading toward (even if it rambled on occasion), The Last 49 Days plays more lượt thích a disconnected historical melodrama pivoting on the Guardians and their intertwined fates. At its core, the first film was a simple, sentimental family drama about selflessness, morality và karma that unfolds in the here & now. This time around, Kim aims higher, tossing in commentary on wealth, land, eminent domain, corruption, loan sharking và banking — và how we have created our own hell — as well as more Buddhist meditations on suffering, regret, filial piety và existential angst. Plus dinosaurs. Kim really loses the plot with a Jurassic Park shoutout (or rip-off depending on your point of view) that seems lớn exist purely khổng lồ prove Dexter Studios can build CGI T. Rexes, too. As the film hauls itself to lớn its courtroom climax, the points Kim wants khổng lồ make become more and more muddled, with the cast struggling valiant to make it work.
Despite the general bloat, The Last 49 Days has its share of little pleasures. A handful of visual mix pieces stand out, the Wheel of Indolence and a fiery Murder Hell are among the best, but Kim và co. Don’t consistently create the same detail with the various levels of hell this time around. Ma’s household god is a winner, though. He makes the most of what is essentially an expositionary role, brandishing his singular bruising charm and stealing almost every scene he’s in. Ha dials down the debonair in order to pump up the latent guilt and agony, và in doing so loses the looser, funnier Gang-lim that was hinted at earlier. & as if truly channeling the Hollywood franchise machine, the afterlife prosecutors previously played by Oh Dal-su & Choi Il-hwa were recast (with Jo Han-chul & Kim Myung-gon) following revelations of sexual harassment by Oh & Choi in the past. Unsavory scandals aside, Kim will need to get far more creative if Along With the Gods is lớn have a life beyond two parts.
Production companies: Realies Pictures, Dexter StudiosCast: Ha Jung-woo, Ju Ji-hoon, Kim Hyang-gi, Ma Dong-seok, Kim Dong-wook, Lee Jung-jae, phái mạnh Il-wooDirector-screenwriter: Kim Yong-hwa, based on the webcomic Singwa Hamgge by Joo Ho-minProducers: Choi Jee-sun, King Yong-hwaExecutive producers: Kim Ho-sung, Wong Dong-yeonDirector of photography: Kim Byung-seoProduction designer: Lee Mok-wonCostume designer: Jo Sang-gyeongEditor: Kim Hye-jin, Jino KimMusic: Bang Jun-sukWorld sales: Lotte Entertainment