Korean gangster film ‘Night in Paradise’ premieres on Netflix

Photo Courtesy of Netflix.

“Night in Paradise” is available to stream on Netflix as of April 9.

The blood-splattered Korean gangster film, “Night in Paradise,” directed by Park Hoon-jung came to Netflix on April 9. The Netflix original serves as Park’s latest gruesome film since “The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion” (2018) and “New World” (2013).

The title of the film is misleading as scenes of bloody gang fights depict anything but paradise. The film relies too heavily on shock value but is saved by masterful cinematography that highlights the beautiful ocean scenery of Jeju Island. Despite the irony of such an idyllic location being the backdrop for gory violence, “Night in Paradise” used shock value as the only way to tell an otherwise predictable story of gangsters.

The protagonist, mobster Tae-goo, is determined to get revenge for the murder of his sister and niece. After rampaging against the enemy, Bukseong gang’s leader, Tae-goo is sent away by his gang boss, Yang. While things cool off in his absence, Yang begins to invade the territory of Bukseong. This lands Yang in a life-or-death situation where he sells out his gang and Tae-goo in order to save his own skin. 

“Night in Paradise” lacked elements of newness to breathe life into a story audience members have seen plenty of times before. Another flaw that was displeasing was the lack of character development, especially in the film’s singular female main character, Jae-yoen. This is disappointing when considering Hoon-jung’s previous film “The Witch: Part 1” featured a complex female lead. Jae-yoen was an attempt at the “girlboss” archetype that opposes the traditional inclination of Koream film that focuses on male characters. 

Rather than seeing Jae-yoen’s character develop, her role becomes overshadowed by her potential love connection with Tae-goo. Jae-yoen becomes a plot device that furthers a male-dominated storyline. 

Despite the shortcomings of “Night in Paradise” there are some strong moments. The film’s cast delivered captivating and convincing performances. The film also includes scenes packed with decadent Korean food that aids the visual appeal of the film and a bonding agent for its characters.  

Overall, the film was a turbulent experience, one that picks up and slows down with no real purpose other than to disturb the audience. This film is not for the faint hearted, as it leans on the crutch of brutal violence and gore. The jerky nature of the film distracts from the storyline and the opportunity to develop aspects of the film that could have made it more intriguing. 

Rating: 2/ 5 

Sophia Pearson can be reached at [email protected] or @sophia__pearson on Twitter.