|Hwang Jung-min in a scene from the film "Deliver Us From Evil" / Courtesy of CJ Entertainment|
By Kwak Yeon-soo
Hwang Jung-min's charisma and inner warmth shines through in his performance in the stylish, hard-boiled action film "Deliver Us From Evil."
The flick tells a story of hitman In-nam, played by Hwang, who is set to retire after carrying out one last hit in Japan. However, he finds out he has a nine-year-old daughter he never knew existed and that she has been kidnapped by a criminal gang in Thailand.
In-nam travels to Bangkok to search for his daughter, but finds himself on the run from the ruthless villain Ray, played by Lee Jung-jae, who wants to avenge the death of his brother.
Hwang said playing In-nam's character was difficult because he had to repress his emotions in the film, internalizing everything that gets in the way of doing what he has to do.
"In-nam feels a sense of remorse and regret, and he's upset about what he's doing. I mainly focused on expressing that anguish and helplessness so audiences would understand that he's not proud of the work he does and no longer wants to hold onto it," Hwang said in a written interview with The Korea Times.
The veteran actor shared that the big plot of the story comes from the idea of a sinner seeking redemption through saving another. The title, inspired from a Christian prayer, paraphrases this plot.
"In-nam's goal is saving the child, thereby forgiving himself for his past wrongdoings. The child is the only hope for him," he said.
The flick takes action scenes to the next level ― with everything from hand-to-hand combat to shootings, stabbings and bombings.
|Actor Hwang Jung-min / Courtesy of CJ Entertainment|
"Filming the action was always a challenge because we wanted to make sure nobody gets injured. We also trained hard to keep fit and in shape," he said.
Hwang said he chose to star in the film because the script felt very interesting and fun. "I wanted to give the audience a little bit of relief through 'cathartic' action scenes," he said.
On filming in three different locations ― Thailand, Japan and Korea ― Hwang said filming abroad was more demanding because it limits last minute changes.
"In the case of domestic filming, it's possible to make last minute changes to certain scenes or request film crew to bring additional equipment. However, they are not allowed when filming abroad," he said.
When asked what it was like to work with Lee again in seven years, Hwang said, "Lee is always great to be around and work with. We spent hours together rehearsing and choreographing fight sequences, hoping nobody gets hurt. We kept telling each other, 'If there's a problem, stop before the action,'"
Hwang and Lee starred in the 2013 hit crime drama "New World," in which Hwang played the ringleader of a corporate crime syndicate, and Lee was his right-hand man.
In "Deliver Us From Evil," Lee plays a merciless assassin who doesn't care about why he has to kill In-nam. The two showcase insane onscreen chemistry that amplifies brutal, bloody action and chase scenes.
Being dubbed "10 million" actor, as his films "Ode to My Father" and "Veteran" surpassed 10 million ticket sales respectively, Hwang expressed gratitude for people showing unwavering support.
"I don't feel burdened by the box office results. I feel grateful for the audience calling me a 10 million actor. Of course, it'd be really nice if every film could be a hit, but I'm trying hard not to put much thought into it," he said.
Hwang is currently in Jordan to shoot his upcoming film "Negotiations."
"Deliver Us From Evil" will hit local theaters, Aug. 5.