Directed by Ki-duk Kim
Written by Ki-duk Kim and Yun-sung Seo
Starring Yeong-il Oh, Jeong-im Nam, and Sun-jae Lee
Reportedly, Yongary was nearly a lost film. The original copies destroyed, the only remaining version is the American TV cut — edited, dubbed, and cropped. While there are films we can all wish had survived instead, I’m grateful that we have anything left of this Korean monster flick. Otherwise I’d never have believed my friend Tim that there was a giant monster movie where the monster is defeated by making it itch until it bleeds out from the ass.
I generally try to avoid spoilers, but if you’re anything like me you’ll want to see it now, because there’s knowing this ending and then there’s witnessing it. Seriously, I nearly cried. The little guy suffered so damn much, and just the night before they did him in he was happy and dancing.
I mean, sure, Yongary devastated Seoul and was well on his way to consuming all of the oil in South Korea, but is that any reason to make him die by itching? Missiles would be both understandable and acceptable. Freezing is another humane option. Perhaps digging a very large hole.
What makes it truly horrifying is that the film’s requisite annoying youth (here named Icho) begs them to stop torturing Yongary. This is met with the Grim Adult Face and something lame about having to kill him in the most hideous way they could concoct. Then they go home and presumably put chili powder in the fish tank.
When Yongary is wrecking things, it’s a pretty decent movie. The suit is nicely realized and avoids looking like a Godzilla rip-off by a comfortable few inches. Despite some effect flubs, such as a clearly visible gas pipe for Yongary’s flame breath, it’s some enjoyable model wrecking. There are some awful matte shots trying to combine crowds with shots of Yongary, but they’re mercifully few.
Plot-wise it’s a bit thin. There’s some business that doesn’t go anywhere with sub-orbital surveillance, and the movie can’t get enough of Icho’s flashlight of science. (It possibly ties in because the beam makes people itch, but that’s pretty thin.) Other than that, there’s not much to it, I’m afraid. Still, it’s got that ending, and that’s something priceless.