The Divine Fury (2019)

The Divine Fury (2019)

divine fury

Director (and writer): Joo-hwan Kim

Cast: Seo-joon Park, Sung-ki Ahn, Do-Hwan Woo, Woo-sik Choi

Demonic possession and exorcism is not a very popular horror subgenre nowadays (in comparison to say, the much more popular zombies and hauntings). The Divine Fury is a story about a young boxer Yong-hoo (Seo-joon Park) who has strayed from God when he loses his father when was a child despite his intense praying but now has been granted a stigmata that allows him to exorcise demons. By coincidence, he meets Father Ahn (Sung-ki Ahn), an exorcist from the Vatican and ends up hesitantly helping him initially but finds his way out of his hatred for God gradually and seeing his purpose in the whole ordeal.

The Divine Fury

Let’s face it right now: Korean movies are usually on the longer side of things. This one runs at a little over the 2 hour mark. Because of that, it has some pacing issues. Most of them occur in the beginning as it aims to set up the story and has much less action and much more talking. The talking bits sometimes are a bit padded and dragged out. Some of it feels empty and adds not a lot to the characters especially one that its next film announced at the end credits will feature. It also uses this to add more questions to the focal characters especially the cryptic bits about the bad guy. There is a mixed emphasis on faith and religion here but doesn’t get explored as intriguing while the exorcism is more in its action sequences. There are some oddly-timed dialogue content here and there.

The Divine Fury

However, what does work here is that each of the scenes build towards the story as a whole and the world of exorcising and who is behind these evil happenings. It uses a story-telling choice where the audience sees what will happen: who will be possessed, who is the villain as well as the lurking evil, but still manages to leave the resolution and reveals the answers like the whys gradually throughout. The second act is more action-packed which has some great moments from one point to the next jumping from one exorcism sequence to the next. Each set piece and victim adds another level of tension and depth to this version of exorcism as the viewers learn about this skill alongside the main character, Yung-hu. While the second act excels in its few moments of exploring exorcism and horror, the third act is where The Divine Fury excels through and through. There is not only exorcism but the final showdown with the villainous character, Ji-sin (Do-hwan Woo) which is intensely action-packed along with some great effects and fantasy elements added in.

The Divine Fury

Overall, The Divine Fury struggles in it set up in the first act. Its a bit lacking in its character development and it suffers from its length but the team-up of Father Ahn and Yung-hu does have a decent development. However, it redeems itself gradually in its second and especially its final act. Its use of exorcism scenes and how the possessed characters act and movements are one of the outstanding elements. The acting from its characters are on point and while the progression struggles in parts, especially in its conversation that attempts to give its characters depth and feels disjointed in those bits, when the movie focuses on its main storyline of exorcism and tracking down the mysterious villain, it truly excels and intrigues. It helps that the director has a really nice grasp of creating an unsettling atmosphere and the building suspense properly. Its not perfect but there’s a lot of positive elements that help overcome some of the early execution issues.

The Divine Fury will be available on Well Go USA on November 19, 2019.

Hong Kong: Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

A few days ago, when I was talking about Hong Kong transport and how my family lived at the far ends of subway and train lines, I wasn’t joking.  It takes me more than an hour to get to my grandmother’s place on my dad’s side. They live in this faraway close to countryside area called Lam Tei in the New Territories.

On the first Saturday I was back, we coincidentally had a huge family reunion with relatives that visited from China.  It made for a dim sum meal looking like this one.

Red Seasons Restaurant

Family reunion @ Red Seasons Restaurant

That was just the extreme at dinner, meaning there was a few dishes excluded from this view.  I didn’t mean to exclude it, except its a bit tough when I end up spending time with my little nephews and they are young and obviously attention grabbers.  Red Seasons restaurant however is a chain in Hong Kong and I’ve seen them in various areas in Hong Kong. It has decent food.

It was a beautiful (and extremely hot) day, so we decided to go to visit Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery which is literally situated behind the restaurant with the whole group.  Other than my aunt, no one had actually been to visit before.

Whats interesting about Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery is that it was renewed completely a few years back.  Timeline is uncertain here but it has a traditional section which was the old building and the new building is pretty modernized.  We took the traditional side to enter.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Traditional side of the temple

I’m going to say that Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery (very much like other monasteries) have done a good job with the surroundings.  This one is smaller but it still has a very nice atmosphere.  It has a mini waterfall with ponds full of koi.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Pond full of koi

It has a little rock structure where you can walk around in

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Rock structures

Its walkways are lined with desert roses.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Desert roses

The older part of the temple is adorned with gold posts and looks really intricate.  Although it definitely does show its age since it looks a bit worn out here and there, it does hold a certain beauty as well.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Older side of the temple

Walking over to the newer side, we find that its literally a white building.  You have take an elevator to go up to the top.  Up there, it is a walk around the Buddha to be blessed.  Even if you don’t believe in that, you can pretty much look at the awesome scenery.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

The view on top on one side.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Looking over the older temple

Other than the view, the first attraction is the few golden Buddhas located inside the hall.  I had to take the picture outside because it bothers some people to take a picture inside where people are praying so this really zoomed in..

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

As you walk around, in the back they have a little wheel to turn. Its supposed to bring some sort of blessing, I think. There’s my nephew attempting to turn the wheel.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

I’m not really that knowledgeable to a huge extent of Buddhism. I get the general idea and I like to view it as a philosophy to a better mindset to have a more positive way of life.  If you read both Taoist and Buddhism literature, it has a really calming effect. I’m still learning about it bit by bit.

That’s it for temples/monasteries and religion 😉 We’ll be getting back to food very soon!

Hong Kong: Man Mo Temple

Going to Hong Kong by myself would require a lot of planning.  Except this time, I didn’t really think much of it.  Maybe it was because work was so busy up to the last minute or that I just knew I had some family stuff to help out with and wasn’t sure how much time I had.  However, when daily plans are made and something spontaneously happens that you’ve wanted to do and didn’t really expect it to does actually happen, its a pretty awesome feeling.

My mom and I was taking a nice walk through Central in search of a store and we get to these stairs that I’ve always wanted to go to.

Thats the first spontaneous event. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a good picture for it.  Thats what happens when I’m too lazy to carry my DSLR around even though I did carry it all the way from Canada.  I know, silly, right?

Central Hong Kong

Up the slope

Moving right along, after we go up those steps/slope, we reached this street that we turn onto that eventually dives into the section nicknamed as Antique Street because it has store after store of antique stores with a lot of treasures to look at and take home if you’re willing to pay the price.  From furniture to paintings and ceramics, it all is hidden right here.  Its a pretty nice treat to see all this.

However, I’m not really going to focus on that.  I just bought a house so I don’t have the money for antiques and can you imagine shipping mega heavy ancient furniture back? That would be pretty pricey, and well, lets just say I’m  more of a modern/contemporary style person.

Still, I’m really into looking at temples.  Back in 2009, when I vacationed with my friend to Hong Kong, he built an itinerary consisting of a lot of temples.  We had to take a few off eventually due to time constraints.  This one that I saw is called Man  Mo Temple.  This temple worships the God of Literature and God of War.  Its essentially a must if you are a student because its asking for blessings for better position in your future. In ancient times, it was more related to achieving an administrative role but still, I think it works.  My mom told me to ask for a blessing for a better job.  Haha! Never hurts to try, right? 😉

This temple situated in an interesting area because if you did the path I went, you’d have felt like you travelled through time because I got out of the subway and I surfaced in modern downtown Hong Kong with tall skyscrapers all around and then walking up that slope, it was amazing see the ancient stuff popping up in store windows and then this temple is just another different world.

Temples are normally distinct in their own ways.  Whether its the God thats in there or the set up but there’s one thing thats always there: incense. I’m babbling now, but here it is. Its a temple so no pictures of the God itself especially but in general, I try to dial down on the photo crazy phase because some people find it disrespectful.

Man Mo Temple

The entrance of Man Mo Temple

Going right inside, you step into a middle section with rows of lanterns.  Under them is tagged with a little piece of paper and on it are people who visit the temple and their wishes.  I’m guessing a lot of them will be related to success in some form, perhaps.  Just taking a guess 😉

Man Mo Temple

Lanterns & Wishes

Above is a scene I’ve been wanting to see forever and thats this one:

Man Mo Temple

Spirals of incense hanging above

Isn’t that impressive? I always thoughts this is one of the most beautiful setting for a picture (other than nature).  Inside of those, are also little wishes on the red papers. I believe what happens is that when the incense finishes burning, your blessing is complete.

Leaving Man Mo Temple, my mom and I ventured back home slowly as we skimmed through the buildings in Central and finally deciding to head to Causeway Bay to find a store that I wanted to check out, which apparently had closed. Still, on our way, we found this little area in front of a building.  Don’t ask me the exact location because I don’t remember.

Central

Bulls in Central

Is this possibly the Hong Kong version of New York’s bull? Haha! I thought it was pretty cool plus it does make sense in the working environment.

That was one of the few days on my trip that I ventured into the Hong Kong Island and the busy working world. You will see that I spent most of my time in the Kowloon and New Territories area 🙂

Have you ever visited temples? Do you like to learn about other cultures and history?