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‘Take Point’ delves into story of privatized military

From James Cameron’s “Avatar” to “Ready Player One,” soldier of fortune characters have made frequent appearances in Hollywood blockbusters. But rarely does one become the subject of a Korean film.

The upcoming action thriller “Take Point,” directed by Kim Byung-woo, features a pack of mercenaries operating within an international military corporation, working on an enormous project with potentially catastrophic ramifications.

“When we think of combat action, we often think of soldiers. I wanted a new direction for the characters and incidents, which is why I thought of mercenaries or PMCs (private military companies),” Kim said, referring to the film’s original title, “PMC: The Bunker.” 

“Take Point” (CJ Entertainment)
“Take Point” (CJ Entertainment)

As the original title suggests, the war in the film has nothing to do with nationality or honor -- it is strictly business.

“Combining the military with capitalism may lead to a fun film, I thought,” Kim said.

The film starts Ha Jung-woo as Ahab, who, as the name suggests, is a man suffering from severe trauma. He is an illegal immigrant in the US who was dishonorably discharged from the Korean military.

“He has a lot of scars from the past (and is) traumatized by what happened in the military. He believes that surviving at the bunker will allow him to escape from his past trauma,” said Ha.

The fact that most of Ahab’s 12 team members are illegal immigrants creates an even closer group bond, Ha added.

Working with Kim for the first time since the director’s award-winning “The Terror Live,” Ha said the fresh idea behind the film had motivated him to take part.

Lee Sun-kyun, famous for his deep voice and the depth of his characterizations, plays an elite North Korean doctor. “He is a thorough person with a strong will. He will have a profound impact on the private military operation,” he said of his character, Yoon Ji-eui.

Another unusual element of the film is its first-person action sequences, which are relatively new to the Korean cinema.

“The focus of the film is on Ahab, and it was important for us to let the audience experience the same thing (that Ahab does),” Kim said.

Despite the technical aspects, the director said he hoped the audience would focus more on the narrative between the two main characters.

“As Ahab’s inner struggles intensify, Yoon counters some of that. I tried to focus more on the story of the two.”

Veteran US actor Jennifer Ehle will also make an appearance in the film.

“Take Point” opens in local theaters Dec. 26.

By Yoon Min-sik