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Stacey Ko
Traffic Director, H Hawaii Media and On-Air Personality, KORL 107.5FM

What is your official title/occupation?

I am the traffic director for H Hawaii Media and also the on-air personality “HyunniK” in the mornings on our Kpop station KORL 107.5FM.

Where and with whom did you see the movie? I saw this film with my friend Amy Ngo at Consolidated Ward Theatre.

Overall, what did you think? Although I tried to stay objective and not compare the American remake to the original Korean film, it was hard to do so, since I expected the remake to at least maintain the same atmosphere and tone of the original. Being an American remake, it’s no surprise that director Spike Lee took some artistic liberties to show his interpretation of the original film. Unfortunately, his film ended up being a shallow and rather safe representation through the loss of the fundamental characteristics that made the original a classic. Still, I appreciated his throwbacks to the original film.

Without giving away the ending, what was one of your favorite scenes? Strangely enough, my favorite scene was the one that introduces the audience to our “villain,” Adrian Pryce (Sharlto Copely). I think the reason this specific scene lingered in my mind is because the scene started off so unsuspectingly. I let my eyes wander around to look at the background, since Joe (Josh Brolin) and his friend Chucky (Michael Imperioli) were just talking. At one point, I noticed one man in particular, since he didn’t quite fit in with the scene. Then, when he finally made his presence known as Adrian Pryce, it came as a surprise since the scene was so different from the original film and it was set so seamlessly that it didn’t make me too suspicious.

On a scale of one to four stars, what would you rate this film? The average of my and Amy’s ratings came out to be ★★ . I was mostly disappointed by the fact that this film didn’t necessarily add anything new to the original film and didn’t have much to offer as a remake.

What did you think of the cinematography? I did appreciate the effective use of framing to help the audience relate more with Joe. Tight shots were used to convey Joe’s stifled and desperate feelings during his imprisonment. The room Joe was trapped in was small, but the use of tight shots further closed him in, and I could see his desperation and despair up close. Then, when Joe finally is released, the shots suddenly become wider, even in closed quarters, and remain that way, so that the extra space feels overwhelming at first, yet refreshing.

Was the message/theme clear? I feel the original message/theme was lost in the remake. The original film addressed topics like the human condition and the depth of the human spirit tested by revenge and its outcome.

Did any of the actors stand out? I really enjoy my well-mannered yet cleverly vindictive villains, so Sharlto Copely really stood out to me. He’s not your average villain.

Did you identify with any of the characters? Not on a personal level. Josh Brolin did a decent job of making his character’s transformation from an alcoholic, selfish jerk to hardened man seeking redemption and answers somewhat believable. The same goes for Sharlto Copely’s transformation from menacing stranger to twistedly tragic villain. They were both a bit cliché, but I could still sympathize with both, to a certain extent.

Did the soundtrack contribute significantly to the film? Not particularly. I found some of the compositions chosen to play during the scenes cliché, especially during the fight scenes, so I didn’t notice them much.

What’s your favorite movie snack? I always get one of these whenever I go to the theater: popcorn with mochi crunch, Snowcaps, Crunch Dibs or just a drink.

On a different note, what’s new with you? We’re starting to get ready for the holidays over at the station. Plus, we have a special live event in the works that will take place Dec. 15 at Ala Moana. Check out our Facebook page at KORL 107.5 to find out more!

Plus, I have a film recommendation /review segment on my morning show called Fantastic Film Fridays for listeners who want to know more about Korean films.