Movie Monday: May 18 (2007)

Starring: Kim Sang-Kyung as Min-Woo, Lee Jun-Ki as Jin-Woo, Lee Yo-Won as Shin-Ae, Ahn Sung-Ki as Heung-Soo

Rating: PG-13, depicts an actual event with violence

Running Time: 126 min

Twinkies: 4 tissue boxes

Background from wikipedia: President Park Chung-hee, after ruling for 18 years, was assassinated on October 26, 1979. This abrupt ending of an authoritarian regime left Korean politics in a state of instability. New President Choi Kyu-hah and his Cabinet had little control over the growing power of ROK Army General Chun Doo-hwan, who took control of the government through the Coup d’état of December Twelfth.

The nation’s democratization movements, which had been suppressed during Park’s tenure, were again awakening. With the beginning of a new semester in March 1980, professors and students expelled for pro-democracy activities returned to their universities, and student unions were formed. These unions led nationwide demonstrations for an array of reforms, including an end to martial law (declared after Park’s assassination), democratization, minimum wage demands, and freedom of press. These activities culminated in the anti-martial law demonstration at Seoul Station on May 15, 1980 in which about 100,000 students and citizens participated.

This movie centers around the events that took place from May 18-27, 1980: On May 18, 1980 students in Gwangju, South Korea gather in front of Chungnam National University to protest the closing of their university. The army that is stationed around the university move in quickly and uses lethal force on the students.

Taxi driver Min-Woo lives in Gwangju and watches over his younger brother Jin-Woo like a father. Min-Woo is also in love with a nurse named Shin-Ae who attends the same church as younger brother Jin-Woo. Shina-Ae’s father is retired military commander Heung-Soo. When Min-Woo drives near Chungnam National University he witnesses first hand the chaos and violence that is erupting in Gwangju. He quickly drives home and instructs his younger brother Jin-Woo to not take part in the student uprising. When one of the Jin-Woo’s classmates is killed by the military, Jin-Woo leads his classmates out into the streets to protest. Enraged citizens begin to take arms from nearby armories and police stations.

A few days later, things seem to settle down when the soldiers retreat from the city. The citizens in Gwangju soon realize that the military retreated in a strategic maneuver while awaiting reinforcements.

Musings: WOW! Mind…Blown! In watching this movie, I started thinking about the period during the Civil Rights movement here in the US during the 60′s. I remember the vivid pictures of the dogs, water hoses and tear gas; however, nothing could prepare me for this movie! Nothing! I was trying to wrap my brain around why the military felt the need to use such excessive violence against the initially unharmed civilians! I just could not understand it nor see the justification for it. The protests as they were depicted sure did not warrant being mowed down by automatic weaponry, that’s for sure.

Enough about that; overall, this was not just a good movie but a GREAT movie! I felt as I watched it, totally enthralled, glued to my seat. The acting by Kim Sang-Kyung (who I had never seen before) and Lee Yo Won was spectacular! Lee Jun Ki fans (myself included), be prepared and forewarned about the scene below (yes, I cried) between Min Woo and Jin Woo! Sad! Very Sad!

The siege against the University building at the end was extremely sad! Those moments between Min Woo and Shin-Ae as well as Min Woo and her father, will be scenes requiring you to whip out one of your tissue boxes. The previous two will have been used up by the time you get to these scenes. Of course, I will admit that even though this is a graphically violent movie; however, because it represents a historical event, there is no way I can rate this as an R-movie. War and violent events that are true should be shown and not hidden. I believe this has to be one of the darkest, modern events in South Korean history that I had ever seen. I thought the depiction of Nanking event was bad. This has definitely replaced those horrible memories in my mind.

Statistics at the end of the movie: The incident resulted in 207 deaths, 2,392 injured, and 987 missing people. But the exact number of casualty has been subjected to considerable dispute. Members of the military government were indicted with rebellion but the culprit ordering the open fire against the citizen has yet to be identified (may he rot in HELL! I apologize for that statement!)

Trailer is available on Youtube Website only. The movie is available on several sites. Ask me if your interested.

I’m available on Twitter. Thanks to all of you Twinkles out here who are taking the time to read! If you have a suggestion for a future review, just leave me a comment! I’m always happy to have movie suggestions.

As this is the last Lee Jun Ki movie to review, I have a special treat for next week! Stay tuned!!

19 thoughts on “Movie Monday: May 18 (2007)”

  1. Damn this look intense! Thank you for your intake without really spoiling anything 😉 This is totally my kind of movie!

    1. True based stories are always high on my list. I always learn so much. Like I said, when I saw a movie about Nanking, I was literally shocked! This was something I never heard about!

      1. Have you seen Comrades? It’s a 2010 drama produced to commemorate the Korean War. It was hard to watch, but also really realistic. I loved it.

        Taegukgi/Brotherhood of War (movie with Jang Dong Gun and Won Bin) was also pretty good.

  2. Hats off to you guys. Most ladies don’t watch war movies. That is what I am calling them. I did not know that the Mil had cracked down so hard. My Dad was in the Army during the Korean War,,,that is what Dad called it. He was there for a yr and came back, lucky he did not get hurt. But like anybody that has been in a war they don’t talk about it much, he was like that. He said Korean folks where good people, hard working and been shit on by everybody. Sorry about that one but crap just done do it. He always said good things about the Korean GI’s he worked with. Not taking up for what they did, we had Kent State and all that happened in the 60’s.
    I watched it and it was one of those movies you go dayum they did that. I think I will watch my fanboy movies… Eugene, Shin Hye where are you when I need a shoulder LOL. It was a good movie in the fact that it makes you glad of the freedom you have now. Any way that is my 2 cents worth.

    1. Thanks Russ. If you knew me, I am a Historical fanatic! I’ve watched many, many korean dramas! Most with 50+ episodes! Next favorite are revenge! I’m just that type! Romance are my least favorite, yes, I’m weird!!

      1. I like history. Some of the people I have to look up.
        Like in gu family book they have lee soo something,
        and he was the father of the Korean Navy. Never lost a battle
        23-0 pretty dayum good lol. You are not weird, just not into that musie stuff lol. Some of the one we watch on here could be done in about 6
        or 7 esp lol. Do you live in Korea?

          1. cool, but you are lucky you can read and understand the movies LOL. I trying to learn Korean but I am not having much luck. I guess if I hung around folks it would come easier. When I was in German I got so I could go out and order food and get around. Raised her or a transplant LOL. We all where one at one point or another lol. Tomorrow night I am going to a Korean Restaurant. What is a good safe 1st time going thing to get. LOL

          2. @Russ, just about everything is safe. I think the Korean food in the US is pretty much Americanized. I did not care for Kimchi when I was overseas but now I like. Bibimbap is my favorite!! And I absolutely love kimbap! And the BBQ…….YUM!

          3. OK what in the Sam Hill is Bibimbap and kimbap? Do they have a Korean Pu Pu tray or how ever you spell it like the Chinese do LOL!!!!Sampler tray rofl. Tears are rolling down my face laughing so hard. Thinking about if I asked someone in a Korean about the tray with my luck it would mean something realllll bad and get one up side the head POW!!!!

          4. Bibimbap that I’ve had is strips of beef, vegetables over rice cooked in a special pot and kimbap, you see in dramas all of the time. They are seaweed rolls, usally filled with rice, egg, vegetables and sometimes ham. Again, YUM!

          5. Now those sound yummy! I don’t want
            Anything to wild lol. Oh somen of the shows I they bring out
            pot of stuff and sit it on a little stove. Cant tell what is in it.
            But two people eat out of it and it looks good!

          6. Hey NKD I went last night to a Korean place and I got the Bibimbap OMG was it good!!!!! they had the different Kimchi’s I liked them all but the one was 5 alarm freakin hot!!! Taste good till the heat hit you like a baseball bat. Thanks for the safe ones LOL. But after looking at what they have I could eat all but the Mackerel. THe lady that was waiting on me was smoking,, it was like Park Shin Hye who LOL but that is the way of the Fanboy LMBO it was a lot of fun and will go back again. Thanks again for the 411 on the food. Now any other good war movies… sword stuff or gun stuff lol?

          7. Musa is really good, too! Quite the epic story. I reviewed it a long while ago before NKD kindly took over the corner. 🙂

          8. @Russ-I have a slew of recommendations that I would never review here. They are not all Korean and you might have to hunt them down:

            Gantz/Another Gantz-Japanese and amazing!
            The Raid Redemption-Thailand and makes about any police movie look like a kiddie movie
            I Saw the Devil-Korean with Lee Byung Hun. Fantastic crime movie!
            The Good, The Bad, The Weird-Korean. Reviewed next Monday.
            Psychic-Korean. A must-see of Kang Dong Won
            Quick-Korean. Reviewing next month! Korean version of Speed
            Just about any movie with So Ji Sub will do!

            Except for the 1st 2,all are on Netflix.

  3. Thanks NKA for the show list. I have Netflix and will look them up. This is what I like about this blog we can talk about other movies and don’t get sent for time out lol. Thanks again for the food tips, had not been for your info I would not have gone. Opened a new world of dinning fun 🙂

    1. It was a sad time in the history of Korea. But thepeople came back pretty dog gone good. Will try that next Twinks Kam-sa-ham-ni-da.

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