K-Movie Review: Is ‘Steel Rain 2: Summit’ a Movie that Goes Beyond the Prequel?

Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Steel Rain 2: Summit will be the second blockbuster movie to greet the audiences. It depicts a crisis near the brink of war after three leaders are kidnapped and held in a North Korean nuclear submarine when the coup d’état is carried out during a summit between the two Koreas and the United States.


How was the movie?

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

Editor Yang Young Jun: It may be hard to say, ‘It’s as good as Steel Rain,’ but it’s evident that it has tried to inherit the merits of the prequel. Along with Swiri, Steel Rain, Joint Security Area, and The Spy Gone North, the film presents a compelling portrayal of inter-Korean relations. (7/10)

Editor Kim Won Hee: The beginning is like a documentary, but then it soon covers secret room thrillers to submarine action, and in the end, it feels like the national anthem is resonating by the ear. Also, by adding kind explanations, audiences can easily follow the situation of South Korea, North Korea, China, the United States, and Japan. (6/10)

Editor Hong Hyun Jung: It starts cold but gets hotter and hotter. Though the movie realistically explores the reality of the divided nation through relations with the US, China, Russia, and Japan, it also well combines the spy thriller with black comedy and humanism, adding to the cinematic fun and providing us something to think about. (7/10)


What is best expressed?

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

Editor Yang Young Jun: Director Yang Woo Suk’s storytelling is quite attractive. Like his previous work, he added cinematic imagination to the realistic problem of the international situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula, and the story flows smoothly without much awkwardness. While clearly telling the audience that “inter-Korean relations are a matter for everyone to worry about,” he does not use excessive patriotic expressions or certain political colors.

Editor Kim Won Hee: The action scenes inside and outside of the submarine are most impressive. The battles scenes inside the submarine flows neatly without excessive expression of emotions, and the scene where submarines confront is unexpectedly thrilling despite the limited environment, making one’s hands sweaty.

Editor Hong Hyun Jung: If the prequel drew rich emotions with the cinematic imagination centered on the bromance of Jung Woo Sung and Kwak Do Won, this time, it relieves the weight of the material with a humorous political satire and soothes the overall atmosphere that can flow rigidly. It also fully unravels the theme of inter-Korean relations amid the international affairs, persuasively depicting a change in relations.


What’s lacking?

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

Editor Yang Young Jun: It’s not a bad movie, but the impact of the prequel was too significant. The early part, which has a lot to understand, can work as a distraction to someone, and the changed storytelling methods from the prequel will receive mixed responses. Except for Park Jin Woo, the North Korean Supreme Guard Command Chief (played by Kwak Do Won), most characters are flat, and the humor and the chemistry are also disappointing compared to the prequel.

Editor Kim Won Hee: If I have to pick one, it’ll be the fact that the president is too young. Watching Jung Woo Sung play the role of the president of South Korea, I can’t get rid of the awkwardness that comes from seeing such a young president. Because of this, the scenes that deal with the international affairs that are quite similar to reality seem like a part of a fantasy world, letting the audience see them lightly and with more curiosity.

Editor Hong Hyun Jung: It is regrettable that the internal turmoil within the North Korean submarine unfolds as predicted. Tension naturally forms due to the nature of the cramped space, but the process of confronting the North Korean Supreme Guard Command Chief, who led the coup, is a bit dull. This can also be seen as an effort not to draw excessive emotions, but it feels like the crisis that has built up the tension resolved too readily. However, the actors’ impeccable performances give us no room to dwell on this regret.


What’s the key point of the movie?

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

Editor Yang Young Jun: It would be more fun to watch while contemplating ‘Why did he produce this scene in this way?‘ or ‘Why did he make the actors play characters from different camps (from the prequel)?’ The passionate performances of the actors who have played different roles in the prequel are a plus. Though Jung Woo Sung, Kwan Do Won, Yoo Yeon Seok, and Angus MacFadyen’s performances are excellent, what stands out the most is the outstanding presence of actor Shin Jung Geun’s.

Editor Kim Won Hee: The actors’ performances that breathe lives into each and every character even in a limited space are impressive. Among them, characters played by Kwan Do Won and Shin Jung Geun stand out. Kwak Do Won clearly depicts a cool-headed figure with an adamant belief, and Shin Jung Geun flawlessly plays Jang Gi Seok, who calmly controls the submarine despite the urgent situations, giving off such sense of reality that he makes viewers feel like they are placed together in a real underwater confrontation.

Editor Hong Hyun Jung: If you look at the relationship between the neighboring countries and the two Koreas over the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (in the movie) as a reality, the story will come alive even more. Looking at the dialogue of the three leaders, who are kidnapped and held by the submarine, and responses of neighboring countries to this unprecedented situation, the reality of division and the nuclear issue that we feel vaguely in our daily lives hit us hard.

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