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Netflix movie ‘Yaksha: Ruthless Operations’ director aims to show Asian spy film‘s power

Netflix: From left: Actors Park Hae-soo, Sol Kyung-gu, Lee El, Song Jae-rim, Park Jin-young and Yang Dong-geun pose before an online press conference for “Yaksha: Ruthless Operations” on Tuesday. (Netflix)
Netflix: From left: Actors Park Hae-soo, Sol Kyung-gu, Lee El, Song Jae-rim, Park Jin-young and Yang Dong-geun pose before an online press conference for “Yaksha: Ruthless Operations” on Tuesday. (Netflix)
There has been no shortage of Hollywood spy movies, but we have not seen many well-made Asian spy films, Na Hyeon who directed the Netflix movie “Yaksha: Ruthless Operations,” said during an online press conference held Tuesday.

“Through Netflix, I think we can show the world that an Asian spy movie also can be entertaining,” Na added.

Na’s film introduces Kang-in (Sol Kyung-gu), a ruthless leader of a secret National Intelligence Service team who is also known as the human-devouring spirit “Yaksha.” He takes on a dangerous mission in the Chinese city Shenyang, which is riddled with spies from across Northeast Asia. Aside from Kang-in, the team consists of four skillful members: Hee-Won (Lee El ), Jae-Kyu (Song Jae-rim), Jung-dae (Park Jin-young) and chief Hong (Yang Dong-geun).

Ji-hoon (Park Hae-soo), a prosecutor in the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office, is demoted and sent to Shenyang to keep an eye on Kang-In.

During the press conference, Sol shared how he felt when he first received the script from the director.

“It seemed like the most commercial script I had ever read,” Sol said.

“But my character seemed too perfect so that I felt pressure in taking the role. Ji Kang-in is ruthless, but he is a person who can risk his life to fight injustice and uphold justice.”

Sol explained that the character in the film is a bit more down-to-earth than the character in the script -- he had asked the director to make some adjustments to the original character.

The veteran actor also talked about scenes with guns, saying it was different from the kind of action films in which he had previously starred.

“I think it might have broken the record for the number of bullets used in a Korean movie,” he said. “Startled by the sound, I kept blinking every time I fired the gun. Especially in the cave, the sound was so loud I think I was scared by it. The sound kept exploding all over the place, I couldn‘t think straight. But Lee El, Song Jae-rim and Park Jin-young performed without blinking. It was really impressive.”

As the film is set in China and features spies from Japan and North Korea, actors including Sol had to practice different languages.
Sol Kyung-gu stars in Netflix movie “Yaksha: Ruthless Operations,” directed by Na Hyeon. (Netflix)
Sol Kyung-gu stars in Netflix movie “Yaksha: Ruthless Operations,” directed by Na Hyeon. (Netflix)
“It was not easy to speak Chinese and Japanese. I wanted to do a good job but it was difficult,” Sol said. “I just did my best to memorize the lines.”

The cast said that one of the movie‘s strong points is that it introduces many charming characters.

“Hollywood superhero films are fun because the characters are so lively,” Yang said. “The characters in our film are just like them, they are unique and have their individual charms.”

“Even when I was reading the script I could see their appeal,” Park added.

“Yaksha: Ruthless Operations” is set to be released via Netflix on Friday.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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