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The grand heist
Film The Grand Heist
Country South Korea
Director Joo-ho Kim
Year 2012
Cast Tae-hyun Cha, Ji-ho Oh, Hyo-rin Min
Details Colour 121 mins
A crime heist comedy. What makes it different from other such films is that it's set in feudal Korea, and what's being stolen is ice. There's a bit of comedy, the expected unexpected characters, a touch of martial arts - but the star for me is the setting.

So the film teaches about the cycle of the seasons in Korea then, of how ice was harvested from the lakes during the winter, then stored for use during the hot summers. And how control of that ice was a lucrative monopoly. The period setting is well realised, with its rituals and aristocratic power struggles, and its costumes. That feels correct.

The plot has a ne'er do well son who wastes his time collecting books suddenly up against it when his noble father is the victim of a plot to control the ice business. The son seeks revenge on the lord behind the plot by planning to steal all the ice from the lord's warehouse in one night. To do so he assembles a team of oddballs. Yes derivative. Yes some of the fun is best enjoyed by the target Korean audience. But there's fun there if you let it be fun.

At one point in the film a heroine gets to dress in a period wetsuit which adds spice at the cost of feeling anachronistic. But this isn't a film to be taken too seriously.