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Dong-Kun Jang, Tru Nakamura, Kil-Kang Ahn, Jin-ho Seo, Masaaki Daimon ... see more see more... , Shohei Imamura , Ken Mitsuishi , Nobuyuki Katsube , Sa-Pi Lee , Min-Sun Kim , Dong-gun Jang , Gyu-ri Kim

This action thriller with a sci-fi twist takes place in an alternate dimension in which Korea has been subjected to Japanese rule for more than 100 years. Why? Seems that in 1909, a Korean nationalist... read more read more... assassinated a Japanese statesman, which set events in motion that changed history (in this world, Japan won World War II). It's now 2009, and the Korean independence movement is heating up again ... but will this time be any different?

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57% liked it

8,067 ratings


33% liked it

6 critics

R, 2 hr. 55 min.

Directed by: Si-myung Lee

Release Date: May 10, 2002

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DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004

Stats: 224 reviews


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Flixster Reviews (224)

  • August 8, 2009
    2009: Lost Memories was a very ambitious project for Korean cinema. It tries to emulate big name blockbusters, with varying degrees of success. The story itself is very interesting, being set in an alternate Korea, which is now part of Japan. The film certainly piles on a lot of ... read moreentertaining action but the real problem here is the grimy cinematography, it makes it look cheaper than it really is. The action scenes were also not shot at a higher FPS, resulting in the slow-motion footage becoming jumpy and jarring. This is a huge mistake for an action film and blemished each scene it was used in. For a 135 minute running time, the film does manage to hold the attention.
  • February 27, 2008
    A movie that has potential, but never really takes full advantage of it. I have seen a number of different plots for this film and they are, for the most part, true. So, if the plot sounds interesting enough then you should watch this.

    The very beginning of this film should c

    ... read moreatch your attention because you are given a time line from the early 1900s until the present day, which ends up being 2009 in this film. Well a time line doesn't sound all that great, but when it is distorted it is interesting. The Japanese are allies with the US during WWII and the atom bomb is dropped on Berlin instead. It is just too bad this film isn't about Berlin. It is about the Japanese "conquering" the Koreans.

    The first 90 minutes of this film is nothing more than your typical crime drama with a good amount of action thrown in. In other words, it doesn't really utilize this distorted time line all that much. The film is pretty slow and when there is action it isn't that great. It's not that the choreography of the shootings are bad, it is the camera effects (cinematic elements) and the music that is playing during them. It makes all these action sequences overly dramatic, when they really aren't. The only time when this works is in the final sequence.

    Once you get thru the first 90 minutes you will be rewarded. The film makes a sharp turn and the distorted time line comes into play big time. The final 45 minutes really save this film from being a mediocre crime drama. The science fiction aspect kicks in and it leads to a pretty good ending.

    The acting isn't too bad. The only real standout is Dong-Kun Jang, of Tae Guk Gi fame. He does a nice job with both the Japanese and Korean aspects of his character.

    This film could have improved in many places, but if you like crime dramas with some science fiction, then this film should entertain you. Especially the ending.

  • May 22, 2010
    [font=Century Gothic]"2009 Lost Memories" takes place in an alternate near future where Japan never relinquished control of Korea in 1945(in fact, in this alternate reality, Japan was allied with the United States in World War II which does not make any sense unless they fought t... read morehe Soviet Union and Germany. Even then...). The divergent event is an assassination of Ito Hirobumi, the former Resident-General of Korea, on a train platform in Manchuria in 1909. In the true reality, the assassination succeeded; in the alternate reality of the movie, the assassination was prevented.(Thanks to Wikipedia for the info.) [/font]
    [font=Century Gothic][/font]
    [font=Century Gothic]In 2009, terrrorists have attacked a gala at the Inoue Foundation in Seoul. Agents of the Japanese Bureau of Investigation arrive and stop the attack and save the hostages. But Agent Sakamato starts to suspect that something is not quite right and pursues an investigation, not only of the terrorists, but of the mysterious Inoue Foundation.(Sakamato seems to be the only person of Korean descent working in his unit.)[/font]
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    [font=Century Gothic]"2009 Lost Memories" is a stylish action movie with science fiction overtones that has good ideas at its heart and some thoughts concerning identity but merrily goes off the deep end towards the finish. The start is not that great either.(I don't mind a gunfight at the beginning of a movie but I do have to know what is at stake.) Also, it is very slow through some parts and has some definite issues with logic. Unlike "Code 46", the film does not do a very good job of portraying a near future society. [/font]
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  • March 20, 2008
    Interesting premise, but disappointing execution.
  • June 19, 2007
    The plot had tons of potential, but this is one of the most laughably over-the-top, melodramatic action movies ever.
  • May 28, 2007
    Really cool alternate history movie with a tense plot. Very not western in how the movie was told and filmed. Rock on.
  • February 26, 2007
    Towards the end you realize there are a lot more brains to this than you were led to believe. But that's about 2 hours into it. I don't recommend you bothering sitting it out.
  • June 17, 2006
    This movie has a friggin awesome concept behind it... involving what would have happened if we dropped nukes on Germany insteado Japan and what would have happened to Korea? it's so cool and so well done... i highly recomend it.

Critic Reviews

Derek Elley
May 19, 2005
Derek Elley, Variety

There's a shallowness to the central relationship -- compounded by Chang and Nakamura's lack of chemistry -- which undermines the whole film. Full Review

Jeannette Catsoulis
May 19, 2005
Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

A beautifully designed and ambitious example of Korean cinema. Full Review

Ed Park
May 17, 2005
Ed Park, Village Voice

The amped-up Dickian scenario features too many frame-filling fireballs. Full Review

Jeremy Knox
May 21, 2005
Jeremy Knox, Film Threat

The movie gets cold feet. It chickens out and doesn't play fair. Full Review

Maitland McDonagh
May 20, 2005
Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide's Movie Guide

Though it ultimately devolves into megabudget Hollywood action-movie cliches by way of John Woo, Lee's handsome blockbuster is an entertaining variation on the American formulas that have colonized wo... Full Review

December 6, 2005
Film Threat

Click to read the article Full Review

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