“Open City” (2007 Korean movie) review


Open City

I decided to look up some foreign films on Netflix. Somehow, I came across this movie and decided to watch it because I was unfamiliar with Korean cinema. I was only aware of their KDramas. The cover looked cool, so I selected this movie.


After a failed mission in Osaka, Japan, a female pickpocket named Baek Jang-mi and her bodyguard are gang members that were forced to return home to Seoul, South Korea at their home base of operations.  They decide to form a new gang and continue operations towards stealing from honest hardworking folks.  They would recruit new members and negotiate deals with other gang members.

Jo Dae-yeong is a police officer in the Seoul Police Department and is responsible for removing scum from the city streets like gangsters and pickpockets after witnessing his own mother getting into that trade.  He joined the police force to undo the wrongs his mother did.  He is well versed in using a steel pipe as his weapon of choice and is also very exceptional in martial arts.

During the course of this fast paced thriller, both these folks that come from different ends of the spectrum will learn that it’s a small world after all.


I would definitely say the establishment of the main characters was the best part about the movie since I felt that you know what their goals were and why they did what they decided to do.

Baek Jang-mi was a phenomenal character because she displayed good and evil.  She played two different characters in one.  She portrayed someone who was vulnerable and needed support from those around her especially when it came to the dirty work or when she was being beaten up.  She also showed that she had a heart when she helped donate money to help a little girl get a surgery or was willing to help a former associate get back on her feet.  On the other hand, she had that “bitch” in her.  She was able to manipulate those around her and use her sex appeal as an attractive young lady to get what she wanted.  By the end of the movie, we find out why she chose her path of choice.

I also liked Jo Dae-yeong because of the gloomy cloud that’s over his head as he is reminded why he chose his occupation of choice.  Every time he’s out on duty, he knows that in the back of his mind that he must rewrite the wrongs that his mother did as a pickpocket.  He is also heartbroken that he didn’t have a mother to look after him so he feels that it’s up to him to provide for his sister.  He has that guilt and anger simultaneously.


As much as pick pocketing is a serious crime, it’s realistically a low level crime that only amateurs partake in.  To make a movie out of that kind of activity and to over exaggerate it is just silly.  Murders, rape, arson, and big time theft are bigger crimes that cops would need to investigate more into.

All the villains did not stand out from the normal people.  All the bad guys just so happened to dress better than the rest of the society there with suits and expensive clothing.


Well, I was curious about Korean movies since I’m not familiar with them.  I thought I’d get started with this because it seemed cool after reading the synopsis. I felt that if I start watching movies in another language that I’m not familiar with, then I should start off with action because action movies translate easily through the world.  I was not disappointed at all.

Overall rating: 3/5

Reviewed by: Mr. Timtastic

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