Virgin Terrorist Mayumi’s Apocalypse (1990)

No, this is not a4571 porn movie. It is as bad as a porn movie, though. Worse actually, because it trades the hanky panky for government rhetoric. It’s propaganda porno. It’s essentially what legendary director Shin Sang-ok 신상옥 had to do before being allowed back into South Korea after his forced stay in the North (no, don’t get me started on this). So in order to be able to go back home from the US, Shin made a propaganda movie about Kim Hyon Hui  김현희,  the North Korean terrorist who blew up a South Korean plane and got caught doing it  (never a good idea and especially not if you end up in the hands of the South Korean intelligence service as a North Korean spy). She was put on trial, confessed and was convicted (after her prison sentence she married a National Intelligence Service member and started a family in Seoul; she still lectures about North Korea). Instead of giving her the death penalty, she was used as a propaganda tool: her book Tears Of My Soul was an indictment of the North Korean regime and she started to appear to tell people how bad the North was (which given the strength of the student movement in South Korea at the time was considered a priority by the government). Now, I have no quibble with that. Any government that blows up civilian airplanes rightly deserves the moniker ‘evil.’ And having Kim tell her story actually tells us quite a bit about what went on in Pyongyang; for example about the fate of her Japanese teacher in North Korea, who turned out to have been kidnapped by North Korean agents to train future spies for operations in Japan. But for Heaven’s sake, do put some effort in the movie if you’re going to make one. In this movie, just about everybody seems to have been on autopilot. The acting is so wooden, Angela Mao and her friends could have used it for breaking tests. Whether this film will have helped convince people that North Korea did nasty things (remember Burma 1983?), I seriously doubt. Part of the efforts centering around Kim, I found out when I watched this piece of excrement in the physical shape of a DVD disc, was this movie. It’s called Mayumi, because her fake passport had ‘Hachiya Mayumi’ on it. It ‘stars’ Kim Seora 김서라 who never made another movie (figures) and George Kennedy! Where the heck did they get him to play in this atrociously bad, bad, bad piece of celluloid waste? Is he a member of the World League Against Kim Il Sung or what? What on earth could persuade an established actor to participate in this orgy of propaganda and cinematic abuse? I was lost for words (doesn’t happen that often) when I saw that the plane taking to the sky in one of the first scenes actually had been a prop used on the Thunderbirds series four decades ago! OK, maybe not four decades, but you get my drift. This is a serious embarrassment for pulp. Low-budgets, crappy clichéd scenario’s, bad acting: I don’t care. But government interference with movie making? I was so upset I kicked this piece of devil’s dung right back to where it belonged in the first place. This movie is so bad I would not be surprised to find out it is actually the product of a North Korean undercover operation trying to discredit South Korean cinema. This is a sad, sad story that killed 115 passengers of KAL 858 and that features a young kidnapped Japanese woman (whose son was one year old when she was taken and who is now trying to get her back from North Korea) and a brainwashed young woman like Kim Hyon Hui. It deserved better than this virgin terrorist insult.

And what’s up with the ‘virgin terrorist’ thing? Does it mean that Mayumi never had a shagging session (being a top secret North Korean agent who even in real life was not unattractive and rumored to be pledged to North Korea’s top spymaster) with one of her colleagues because she would have eaten them for breakfast? And had she been sexually liberated, would the title have been Promiscuous Territorist Mayumi’s Apocalypse? Or Lascivious Terrorist Mayumi’s Apocalypse? What does the (perceived) state of her hymen have to do with her propensity to blow up planes with people in them? Does it perhaps refer to the fact that this was her initiation into terrorism? I don’t know and quite frankly I don’t want to know either. I’ve got better things to do, like watching proper pulp movies in which Manchuria-based Korean freedom fighters settle scores with evil colonizers. On horseback of course. How else?

 

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