Hi, Dharma (aka: Let's Play, Dharma)
Product DescriptionOriginal title: Talmaya Nolja
Starring: Park Shin-Yang, Jeong Jin-Yeong, Park Sang-Myeon
Director: Park Cheol-Gwan
Studio: Enter One
About this DVD
Dharma is a Buddhist monk famous for cutting his own eyelid on the grounds that he felt that his eyes were heavy, which hindered him from concentrating on his Zen practice. All Buddhists look up to him, and he is supposed to fill their heart with peace. "Hi Dharma" ("Let's Play, Dharma" directly translated from the original Korean title) gives a hint that this movie is a comedy with material borrowed from Buddhism. Up to now, some might be impelled by curiosity, expecting the movie to be unique and original. However, "Hi Dharma" is a movie that deals with gangsters; the kind that swept over the box-office during the last summer. Notably, the film unites Lee Won-jong from "Kick the Moon," Park Sang-myeon from "My Wife Is a Gangster," and Chung Jin-young from "Guns & Talks," all of whom did original work in those comedies. This time, they meet as gangsters who want to take refugee in a Buddhist temple, where the monks want to drive them away. Compared with "My Wife Is a Gangster," a box-office success that was criticized for excessive swearing and violence, "Hi Dharma" comes up with rather healthy contents and even gives some lessons on Buddhism.
Whereas Buddhist monks cannot even kill a mosquito, gangsters brandish swords at people. In this context, they are standing on the extreme side of life. Bearing some resemblance in that both people live out of their own houses, have short hair, and appear to have shady past, however, they soon throw off their reserve and start establishing a close rapport with each other. After losing a power struggle inside the same gang, Jae-gyu (Park Shin-yang) takes his henchmen to a temple located in a secluded mountain. They receive permission from the very old chief monk (Kim In-moon) to stay at the temple, for the time being. However, every minute that goes by they cause trouble. They get on the monks' nerves by asking embarrassing questions, making a noise late at night, and so on. Finally, the monks decide to kick them out and the gangsters propose to play five matches: if they lose in the matches, they will leave the temple.
The matches include playing soccer; doing Buddhist bows 3,000 times; staying in water for a long time and playing "flower cards" ("hwatoo" in Korean). As the movie "Cup" dealt with boy monks in the Himalayas going nuts over the World Cup, "Hi Dharma" features monks, who are supposed to be otherworldly beings, doing the worldliest things, arousing laughter. Although the scenes showing the monks and gangsters play the matches take up the most part of the movie, however, the laughter coming from the scenes provoke somewhat forced and futile one rather than the one that brings forth catharsis. The sequence of episodes is no better than the sections featured in TV comedy shows, such as MBC's "Comedy House" or KBS's "Gag Concert."
To make the simple plot richer, the movie includes an unattainable love story between a Buddhist nun (Lim Hyun-gyung) and the gangster Nalchi (Kang Sung-jin), as well as a psychotic (Kim Young-joon) who prepares bar exam at the temple, shows up from time to time, behaving wildly and using strange words. However, the settings above don't really mix with the plot, ending up as simply superfluous.
One good thing about the movie is that the characters, ranging from a very old chief monk to a 5-year-old boy monk, delivered their roles quite well. In particular, a long-time actor Kim In-moon's acting as a wise old chief monk was as real as it could be, and Chung Jin-young, who acted as the second highest monk, was excellent in delivering the comic yet guileful character.
The director seems to have included some Buddhist lessons probably hoping to evade criticism that "Hi Dharma" is just another gangster movie. It would have been better if the lessons had melted together naturally with the episodes, instead of being simply spoken in lines by the old chief monk.
A group of professional thugs get the short end of the stick and run for their lives by hiding in a Buddhist temple. The monks are suddenly placed in a position where they have to live with the crooks. As they await the saving phone call of their boss they become an annoying presence for the monks training in the way of the Buddha.They get a grant to stay at the temple, but then they also must train as monks. The monks and the thugs become gripped in a taut tug of war to see who wins. Allof a sudden the thugs have to live a temple life, instead of the luxuries they used to enjoy before. Can they eventually bade farewell in good will to themonks? Well, go see the movie.
|Audio Format:||DD 5.1|
|Video Format:||Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1|
|Special Features:||Cast & Director's Audio Commentary, Cast and Crews, Making Featurette, Outtakes, Trailer, NG Cuts, Music Video, Moving Pictures - Gallery|