Live-action animes rarely ever go over well. They’re usually butchered from a plot perspective, mangled from a character perspective, or just fails to capture the visual ingenuity that made the anime popular in the first place. In the case of the South Korean live-action remake of the 1999 Japanese animated film Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, I can honestly say that this almost looks like a frame-for-frame remake done right.
Some people might be wondering what would be the point of remaking a film exactly as it was when it first released, but keep in mind that this is a South Korean take on a Japanese property. Director Jee-woon Kim – famous for incomparable and critically acclaimed masterpieces such as A Bittersweet Life, I Saw The Devil and The Good, The Bad, and The Weird – is helming the project and his directorial expertise is on full display in the marvelously put together trailer that you can check out below, courtesy of JoBlo Movie Trailers.
Much like the anime of the same name, the trailer recounts civil unrest in the streets, and how insurgent groups are causing violence in the year 2029 (which almost seems prophetic at this point given the migrant crisis in certain countries). In order to quell the unrest and put the uncivil disobedience to bed in a violent and uncompromising way, the government puts the Wolf Brigade into action, a highly militarized, heavily armored, ultra-violent sect.
The story follows a member of the Wolf Brigade, Jang Jin-tae, who is used to weed out a political dissident trying to undermine the political hierarchy.
The trailer appears to capture the anime perfectly. It’s amazing how many of the scenes are basically complete frame-by-frame replications of the 1999 film. It’s scarily accurate.
What’s also interesting is that the film takes a very Japanese-oriented cultural tale and transmutes it into a story about South Korean democracy. I’m curious how well that’s going to work out given that South Korea certainly has its problems but they’re very different from what was originally depicted in the Japanese version of Jin-Roh.
Some believe the film may employ a subtext centered around the short-lived South Korean riot squads of the 1980s, known as the “White Skull Squad”. In a way, they were very similar to what the Wolf Brigade represents in the film, as they suppressed rioters and even killed some demonstrators in order to reduce violence in South Korea, as pointed out by CINA.
Anyway, the action here looks really good, but I should warn people that this isn’t quite the action film you might be expecting if it keeps to the plot of the anime.
It was more of a political espionage thriller about party loyalty, with a romantic subplot bubbling underneath, rather than a traditional action flick. Nevertheless, this looks like the kind of film worth supporting. The film releases this month in July and will likely be available for international audiences a few months from now.