March 18, 2016

The Grand Heist: Frozen Assets

The 47 Ronin. The Dirty Dozen. The Hateful Eight. The Magnificent Seven. Apparently, those on a quest like to gather in relatively large numbers. I don't know what to call the rebellious collective found in Kim Joo-ho's feature debut The Grand Heist but there are eleven of them on board: a tunnel digger (Ko Chang-seok), an explosives expert (Sin Jeong-geun), an underwater swimmer (Min Hyo-rin), and a financial backer (Sung Dong-il), among others. Why have they banded together? Why, to steal roomfuls of ice, that's why. Ice, you ask, like diamonds? No. Ice like frozen water, stupid. Hundreds and hundreds of big blocks of it stored in secret rooms underground.

Set in the late 1700s, The Grand Heist is, oddly enough, a period piece first, a comedy second, and a heist flick last and least. There's plenty of planning and scads of scheming, but the importance of the crime (or even the value of ice, for that matter) never really registered for me. I got that the heist itself is an act of revenge, since the two leaders (Cha Tae-hyun, Oh Ji-ho) are motivated by the unjust imprisonment of the father of one, and the cruel mass killing of the co-workers of the other. I also got that the price of ice was jacked up by a shady businessman, disloyal to the king. But I didn't get how the theft of frozen goods (and with it the discovery of an obscene amount of gold) was going to make a big difference in how the government was run, despite a forged letter intended to influence the political future of the dynasty. Too much silliness abounds.

Translation note: The original Korean title for this movie is "Baramgwa Hamkke Sarajida" which means "Gone with the wind" so it's not hard to figure out why the American distributors decided to change it. That said, it might've been smarter to have assigned a title that was a little less genre-focused. My suggestion: "Frozen Assets."

No comments:

Post a Comment