Welcome to the Movie Night
Title: Hi Dharma
Date: June, 2
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Buddhanara Temple (Monastery) (Tel: 314-993-0185) 874 Berick Dr. St. Louis, MO 63132
Home Movies - DVDs Korean Movies on "Region-All or 1" DVDs
Hi, Dharma (aka: Let's Play, Dharma)
Original title: Talmaya Nolja
About this DVD
Dharma is a Buddhist monk famous for cutting his own eyelid on the grounds that he felt
that his eyes were heavy, which hindered him from concentrating on his Zen practice. All
Buddhists look up to him, and he is supposed to fill their heart with peace. "Hi Dharma"
("Let's Play, Dharma" directly translated from the original Korean title) gives a hint that
this movie is a comedy with material borrowed from Buddhism. Up to now, some might be
impelled by curiosity, expecting the movie to be unique and original. However, "Hi
Dharma" is a movie that deals with gangsters; the kind that swept over the box-office
during the last summer. Notably, the film unites Lee Won-jong from "Kick the Moon,"
Park Sang-myeon from "My Wife Is a Gangster," and Chung Jin-young from "Guns &
Talks," all of whom did original work in those comedies. This time, they meet as gangsters
who want to take refugee in a Buddhist temple, where the monks want to drive them away.
Compared with "My Wife Is a Gangster," a box-office success that was criticized for
excessive swearing and violence, "Hi Dharma" comes up with rather healthy contents and
even gives some lessons on Buddhism.
Whereas Buddhist monks cannot even kill a mosquito, gangsters brandish swords at
people. In this context, they are standing on the extreme side of life. Bearing some
resemblance in that both people live out of their own houses, have short hair, and appear to
have shady past, however, they soon throw off their reserve and start establishing a close
rapport with each other. After losing a power struggle inside the same gang, Jae-gyu (Park
Shin-yang) takes his henchmen to a temple located in a secluded mountain. They receive
permission from the very old chief monk (Kim In-moon) to stay at the temple, for the time
being. However, every minute that goes by they cause trouble. They get on the monks'
nerves by asking embarrassing questions, making a noise late at night, and so on. Finally,
the monks decide to kick them out and the gangsters propose to play five matches: if they
lose in the matches, they will leave the temple.
The matches include playing soccer; doing Buddhist bows 3,000 times; staying in water for
a long time and playing "flower cards" ("hwatoo" in Korean). As the movie "Cup" dealt
with boy monks in the Himalayas going nuts over the World Cup, "Hi Dharma" features
monks, who are supposed to be otherworldly beings, doing the worldliest things, arousing
laughter. Although the scenes showing the monks and gangsters play the matches take up
the most part of the movie, however, the laughter coming from the scenes provoke
somewhat forced and futile one rather than the one that brings forth catharsis. The
sequence of episodes is no better than the sections featured in TV comedy shows, such as
MBC's "Comedy House" or KBS's "Gag Concert."
To make the simple plot richer, the movie includes an unattainable love story between a
Buddhist nun (Lim Hyun-gyung) and the gangster Nalchi (Kang Sung-jin), as well as a
psychotic (Kim Young-joon) who prepares bar exam at the temple, shows up from time to
time, behaving wildly and using strange words. However, the settings above don't really
mix with the plot, ending up as simply superfluous.
One good thing about the movie is that the characters, ranging from a very old chief monk
to a 5-year-old boy monk, delivered their roles quite well. In particular, a long-time actor
Kim In-moon's acting as a wise old chief monk was as real as it could be, and Chung
Jin-young, who acted as the second highest monk, was excellent in delivering the comic yet
The director seems to have included some Buddhist lessons probably hoping to evade
criticism that "Hi Dharma" is just another gangster movie. It would have been better if the
lessons had melted together naturally with the episodes, instead of being simply spoken in
lines by the old chief monk.
A group of professional gangsters get the short end of the stick and run for their lives by
hiding in a Buddhist temple. The monks are suddenly placed in a position where they have
to live with the crooks. As they await the saving phone call of their boss they become an
annoying presence for the monks training in the way of the Buddha. They get a grant to
stay at the temple, but then they also must train as monks. The monks and the gangsters
become gripped in a taut tug of war to see who wins. All of a sudden the gangsters have to
live a temple life, instead of the luxuries they used to enjoy before. Can they eventually
bade farewell in good will to the monks? Well, go see the movie.
Subtitles: English, Korean
Country Made: Korea
Region Code: ALL
Year Made: 2002
Running Time: 95
Special Features: Cast & Director's Audio Commentary, Cast and Crews,
Making Featurette, Outtakes, Trailer, NG Cuts, Music Video, Moving Pictures - Gallery
Hi dharma 2 - Showdown In Seoul
In order to complete a mission give by the deceased head monk, the monk trio from
the original starts a journey to find Mushim Temple in Seoul city, a completely
foreign environment from the one they're accustomed to. However, what they find is
that the temple is in big financial trouble and in danger of being taken over by
gangsters who are the legal owners of the land. Now the monks have no other option
but to stay in the city to protect the temple, and another showdown with the
gangsters seems to be inevitable.
Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?
Directed by Bae Yong-Kyun - Starring Pan-Yong Yi, Won-Sop Sin, Hae-Jin Huang
Image Entertainment - Rated Not Rated - 137 min - Religious Drama -
Region: 1 (USA & territories, Canada)
The title refers to a Zen riddle for which there is no answer. Noted painter Bae Yong-kyun
spent several years devoted to carefully and lovingly creating this challenging, meditative
and exquisitely photographed film. A young man aspires to the priestly life and so travels
to a remote mountain hermitage to study under an aged Zen Master whose corporeal days
are numbered. The master lives alone there with a small orphan boy. As the days slowly
pass, the master occasionally shares his wisdom with his followers. Much time is spent
following the boy as he learns about the nature of life in the smallest of ways. Sometimes
the older acolyte has brief memories of the past he recently left. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi