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2009: Lost Memories
2009: Lost Memories is movie with a plot that isn't terribly original, which also becomes the movie's weak point. In a nutshell, the movie is about time travel, alternative realities, and the all too common good guys against bad guys, with a slight twist. However, while the movie tends to be pretty unoriginal, the action scenes and performances make the movie pretty exciting.
The weakest aspect about this movie is one element of the plot. An important portion covers time travel and alternative realities, which is based upon the theory that if you change one event in the past, the future will be completely different. In this movie, it is a major portion of the plot. They also include a few folks who know the alternative reality is not the original present (the reality we know). I felt that this was the weakest link in this movie, simply because it seems absurd that someone in an alternative reality could know about the "original" reality. I say this because the idea is that if you change the future by modifying the past, then everyone in the modified future would exist as if the original future never existed. However, my perspective and requirements for science fiction regarding time travel is based a little too much on watching the Star Trek series. However, besides this one aspect, I felt that the story was very entertaining.
The story provides an interesting setting. Instead of the Japanese joining with Germany and Italy in World War II, they join the Allied forces. The result is a much different world, with Japan becoming a much more influential world power. Along with this change, Japan is in complete control of Korea and the citizens of both nations do not intermix very well. Japanese occupation of Korea has resulted in a pseudo-class system, with the Japanese being superior to Koreans. A small group of Koreans fight for their freedom and hope to once again have a free Korea.
While this different setting is pretty interesting, on a much higher level it is far from original. The reason is simply because it's like a lot of other movies. We have good guys and bad guys. The bad guys are in power and the good guys (resistance fighters) want to make things right. However, there's a slight twist to this common good against bad story, as actor Jang Dong-Gun (All About Eve - Korean TV) plays Masayuki Sakamoto. The twist (also unoriginal) is that Sakamoto is sleeping with the enemy. He's a Korean who works for the Japanese as a detective for the Japanese Bureau of Investigation. By his people's standards, Sakamoto is the worst kind of traitor. The movie begins to unfold when Sakamoto and his Japanese partner Shojiro Saiko (Toru Nakamura) stumble upon a case that unravels a truth that they were not supposed to learn about.
While the story, the setting, and other elements of the movie may not be entirely original, it's still a pretty entertaining story. One of the entertaining aspects of the movie comes from the many gun fight scenes. Another aspect that I really enjoyed was the characters. The movie is really about Sakamoto and his role as a hero and Don-Gun's portrayal of Sakamoto was very good. He comes off as a very likeable hero that you want to succeed. Alongside him are various supporting roles, each filled pretty well. Like most movies, there were a few roles that seemed a little over the top. However, the performances tended to be very good. In general, I thought that this was a pretty good science fiction feature, with some great action scenes. While slightly unoriginal, the movie is still very entertaining.
The video is given in 1.85:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen color. In general, the picture is not very sharp. This problem does not result from video compression, but rather the use of an analog source used to originally film the movie. While the lack of sharpness isn't awful, it is apparent because the picture just looks a little too soft. Overall, the video looks viewable, but it isn't really good.
The audio is another fairly weak point of this DVD release. It's because the audio tracks supplied really don't offer that much and they fail to add to the experience in a manner that they should. The audio tracks include two 5.1 tracks in dubbed English and Korean. The major problem is that both audio tracks are flat throughout the entire movie. While this works for dialogue based features, in an action driven feature with explosive sounds effects, the audio should come off rich and vibrant hitting the bass pretty hard. However, both audio tracks rarely seem to affect it. On as positive note, channel separation was done fairly well, with a focus in the forward channels. In addition, there are English subtitles. However, they do not match the English dubbed track.
The special features that come with this release are not that entertaining. They include a featurette and movie trailers. The featurette "Production Video Diary" is ten minutes of non-interactive behind the scenes footage. The movie trailers include Dark Water, The Princess Blade, Conduct Zero, Mezzo, Andromeda Season 4, and Yesterday. Overall a very unimpressive set of special features.
I thought that this was a pretty good movie. It has a story that is pretty unoriginal, but there are a few tweaks that make it different from every other action film. Something else that is really good about this movie is the main role of Sakamoto, which is played by Jang Dong-Gun. Quite honestly, without his performance, the movie would not have held up as well as it did. Overall, I liked this film and if you're looking for a good action sci-fi feature, this should work out well.