The Big Swindle (2004)

Genres - Action  |   Release Date - Apr 16, 2004 (USA - Unknown)  |   Countries - South Korea  |  
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Writer/director Choi Dong-hun makes his feature debut with the stylized caper movie The Big Swindle. The film opens in the middle of a car chase, with Choi Chang-hyok (Park Shin-yang) fleeing the cops in the aftermath of a massive bank scam gone awry. The chase ends with Chang-hyok's car exploding in a fireball. As the police investigate the case, flashbacks show how the job came together. Chang-hyok, fresh out of prison, uses the connection of a fellow ex-con, counterfeiter Gasoline (Kim Sang-ho) to get in touch with the criminal mastermind Master Kim (Baek Yun-shik of Save the Green Planet!). He also uses his charm to get in even closer touch with Master Kim's mistress, Seo In-Keong (Yeom Jeong-ah of A Tale of Two Sisters), who seems to have a few schemes of her own. Chang-hyok lays out his plan to con the Bank of Korea out of millions, and Master Kim rounds up a crew to do the job, including Gasoline, a sneaky little guy called Big Mouth (Lee Mun-shik), and Swallow (Park Won-sang), a vain lothario who beats up women. When the job goes bad, Chang-hyok goes boom, and Big Mouth is caught. The cops discover that Chang-hyok has a bookish, more responsible older brother, Chang-ho. They bring him in for questioning, and before long, he's also getting attention from a pissed off Master Kim, who's looking for the missing loot, and Seo In-Keong, who's suddenly interested in a "nice guy." The Big Swindle was featured at the 2005 New York Korean Film Festival, with director Choi and star Baek in attendance.