In many ways,
New World is far from original in its plot. If I were to
add together all of the crime films involving an undercover cop and then
separate them by country of origin, I would imagine that at least half would be
Asian-language films. Though South Korean cinema of the last decade or so has
said to have had most its influence from the heyday of 1990s Hollywood
blockbusters, New World seems more likely to
have been inspired by the plethora of Chinese crime films. It may have even
blended in to become indistinguishable amongst them, if it weren’t for an
altogether inspired ending. The conclusion of New World
is one which cleverly relies on the expectations audiences have with the
familiarity of this material, elevating the film to new heights as the credits
begin to roll.
The film begins with a shocking event that changes the dynamic in a powerful crime syndicate. When the head of the Goldmoon syndicate dies, three different men prepare their own rise to the top. As the top seat is being battled for by brute force and clandestine actions, one of the members has other issues to deal with. Ja-sung (Lee Jung jae) is an undercover cop who has been in deep-cover for eight years with the Goldmoon syndicate. Although the man he was investigating has died, Ja-sung is forced to stay undercover by the order of determined Police Chief Kang (Choi Min-sik). Soon it is more than just the arrests at stake, as a mole is being exposed within the syndicate and Ja-sung worries that he will be discovered before the case is closed.
Those going into
New World expecting a great deal of action are
likely to be disappointed. There is some gangster violence, but this is much
heavier on the drama than it is on the exploitation or spectacle. What action
there is has a purpose within the grand scheme of the plot, rather than simply
serving the bloodlust of the audience. While much of the film may be a bit slow
for the genre, this is the kind of film which pays off to the patient viewer.
The Blu-ray release includes a making-of featurette, as well as a photo gallery and a trailer.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 5/10