It’s a period caper set in the late-eighteenth century, and replaces the targeted diamond of The Thieves with a more literal kind of ice which a corrupt official is keeping in cold storage to win influence in his bid to usurp the throne.
In 18th Century Korea, ice is a much sought after commodity; initially controlled by the government, an unscrupulous businessman manages to take over the product and use it for his own ends. Meanwhile, ice guardian and soldier Dong-Soo (Ji-ho Oh) is arrested and exiled for a period of time after his crew dies in the takeover bid; and mild bookseller Duk-Moo (Tae-hyun Cha) becomes determined to take revenge when the same businessman has his best friend tortured to death. So Duk-Moo comes up with an elaborate scheme to steal all the ice from the businessman’s warehouses, and soon he draw Dong-Soo into the plot. But they need to gather together the top specialists in the fields of information-gathering, tomb robbing, explosives expert, driver, master of disguise and money-man if they’re to be successful in pulling off the plan…. Elements of a wacky Ocean’s 11 type plot mix with some serious treatment about the class system in Korea in the 18th Century and a little bit of romance to sweeten the plot; this is very clever, with an excellent ensemble cast and a lot of funny moments mixed with action-packed suspense. I have to say that there were so many characters (I’ve only described a couple of the main ones here), at times I was kind of confused about what was going on, but it was quite a lovely experience just the same.
The movie revolves around a guy who wants to take revenge of his past by a witty trade. The journey also involves around various other interesting, funny and unique characters like the tunnel digger, bomb maker, etc. Really, when the movie picks up, you feel thrilled and excited as to what would happen the next. Broadly, the story of the movie isn’t a very great one, but the screenplay is something that amazes you. The unique style of characters, their roles, etc. takes the show away. The main character plays through out the movie as the centre piece weaving the entire scheme of theft carefully, but as an interesting one should be, it has it’s own twist and turns.
Tone of madcap rambunctiousness
Cha Tae-hyun – Lee Deok-mu, the intelligent bastard son of the minister of the right, the court’s only clean official. The laid-back bookseller initially chases pretty girls and rare exotic books, but after his father is falsely accused of a crime by his political rival, Deok-mu becomes the leader of the heist gang.
Oh Ji-ho – Baek Dong-soo, a trained soldier and ousted chief guard of the royal ice storage
Min Hyo-rin – Baek Soo-ryun, a diver and Dong-soo’s sister
Lee Chae-young – Seol-hwa, a spy-gisaeng
Sung Dong-il – Jang Soo-gyun, the chief financial backer of the gang
True Korean patriots with a grand political cause
In the late 18th century of Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), during the last years of King Yeongjo’s reign. Ice is a commodity more valuable than gold. Blocks of it are harvested from frozen rivers in winter, put in royal storage and distributed or sold throughout the year for general consumption. When corrupt officials conspire to form a monopoly and fix its price, a gang of 11 professionals is formed to stop the scheme — and to do that they must make all the royal ice blocks in five storage rooms disappear for a night.
Directed by Kim Joo-ho
Written by Kim Min-sung
Produced by Oh Jeong-hyun
Cinematography Lee Seong-jae
Edited by Steve M. Choi
Music by Kim Tae-seong
Distributed by Next Entertainment World
Release date 8 August 2012
Running time 121 minutes
Country South Korea