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Fabricated City

Opening Date
20 Apr 2017
NC16 Violence and Coarse Language
126 mins
Korean with English & Chinese subtitles
Park Kwang-Hyun
Ji Chang-Wook, Shim Eun-Kyung, Oh Jung-Se
In real life, Kwon Yoo (Ji Chang-Wook) is unemployed, but in the virtual game world he is the best leader. Kwon Yoo is then framed for a murder. With the help of hacker Yeo-Wool (Shim Eun-Kyung), he tries to uncover the truth behind the murder case. 
By Jason Lin  18 Apr 2017
As long as it’s taken at face value, Fabricated City is an effective box office genre blockbuster that entertains and appeals especially to millennials.
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Addressing a cyber-ready future in the form of a genre production, South Korean filmmaker Park Kwang-hyun’s high-octane action crime thriller Fabricated City raises awareness of a digital era (and blood pressures) in cinemas this week.
Heart rates pulsate from the very first minute of the film’s opening where characters are on a virtual game mission involving stylish combat sequences and hi-tech weaponry.  Park is not letting his audience loose anytime soon it seems as the screenplay transits into exposition. For the next twenty minutes or so, dynamic editing rushes the narration rapidly forward.
Following his random encounter one night, online gamer Kwon Yoo (Ji Chang-Wook) finds himself waking up the next morning to a police raid and arrest. With visceral scenes of violence and injustice that ensue from his trial to incarceration, Kwon Yoo undergoes a painful process of adapting to a harsh reality where justice doesn’t prevail as it wishfully did during online gaming.
It is uncertain if Park is trying to highlight any social messages (e.g. teenagers’ addiction to online games, and manipulation by society’s elites) – but his point to induce painful frustration from social issues is well noted. From Kwon Yoo’s apparent inability to navigate out of his dreadful plight, viewers’ evoked emotions are peaking before the second half of the film pushes on by the audience’s demand for justice to be instilled.
In the film’s investigative chapter, Park brings Kwon Yoo’s online gaming buddies together in real life to assist their team leader to clear his name. One may call it convenient scripting - the team comprises of a University Professor, a movie special effects technician, a cyber genius teenager Yeo-Wool (Shim Eun-Kyung) who’s socially inept, and Kwon Yoo who is an expelled national athlete. It is also encouraging to see that Yeo-Wool was not simply cast as a love interest to Kwon-Yoo but instead plays a brilliant supporting role who contributes.
Pitting themselves against some of the most unlikely enemies who operate in society unnoticed, there is an emphasis on cyber crimes and warfare where anyone can manipulate the truth and system to their interest. This is accentuated by the riveting performance by Oh Jung-Se who plays Kwon Yoo’s Public Prosecutor Min Chun-Sang.
It is also becoming clear that traditional skillsets today are no longer capable of combatting threats of tomorrow. Even veteran gangster leaders like Ma Deok-Soo (Kim Sang-Ho) finds himself outsmarted by white-collared elites and tech-savvy teenagers. There is also a subtle hint that legislation and judicial systems need to embrace digitalization and cyber security to address sophisticated cyber threats by the next generation of criminals.
Thematic discussions aside, Fabricated City scores high as a genre film where it is saturated with action sequences (vicious fights and exhilarating car chases) and riveting plot developments. The film is paced like a millennial where it runs at fibre broadband speeds. This may have helped to distract people from a number of plot gaps and implausibility observed in the film.
The film’s multiple reversals of plot twists might be a delightful reason to fill more action scenes to thrill but also resulted in a less concise film that is ten minutes too long. As long as it’s taken at face value, Fabricated City is an effective box office genre blockbuster that entertains and appeals especially to millennials.
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