A New World is the first entry in a planned trilogy—thank god.
Those of you who know anything about South Korea know they’ve been making fantastic movies for the past decade or so. Some have dubbed this phenomenon the Korean wave; I say keep surfing with the movie A New World. This is a fantastic first installment of what could be one of the greatest gangster series ever made.
Apparently Korean gangsters have gotten smart and organize themselves into corporations or at least pseudo-corporations that run not only legitimate businesses but their illegal activities as well. The chairman of Goldmoon, South Korea’s largest crime syndicate, is killed in a mysterious car accident, and the battle of who will take over the position begins. One of the candidates is Ja-sung, an undercover police officer who has been operating for eight years and is at the end of his rope and promised retirement, but the police force him to keep working and threaten to leak his identity if he refuses. Who are the real criminals here?
The police break their promise to Ja-sung a second time again refusing to let him retire. Moreover, Ja-sung’s wife was pregnant, but the stress from Ja-sung’s profession results in the baby being still-born. But our friendly police officers show no sympathy for this tragedy. It’s a good thing payback is a bitch. Because our undercover cop pulls off the ultimate coup—in fact the idea was even given to by his slave driving boss; that is, Ja-sung had already secured the loyalty of Jang’s men, leading to Jang’s own death, as well as Ja-sung’s succession as chairman. Feeling deeply betrayed by the police, Ja-sung decides to become a full criminal. He orders the murder of Chief Kang (his immediate cop superior) and Commissioner Ko (Kang’s superior) so that no record will remain of his police membership. He also murders Lee, his only possible rival. The assassins he uses are known as the Yan Bin Hobo’s and when you see the film you will know why.
The last scene is a flash-back from six years ago, when Ja-sung was still beginning as an undercover police officer. He and Jung, at that time a low-level member, successfully kill a much larger group of rival criminals, seemingly enjoying the process. This demonstrates Ja-sung’s early corruption and also the depth of Jung’s friendship with him.
If you miss this film you have only yourself to blame. It is currently playing on Netflix so you don’t have to go through some back channels to find it.