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Film / Ilang: The Wolf Brigade

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Man is wolf to man

Illang: The Wolf Brigade (sometimes known as Inrang: The Wolf Brigade, which has been used at least once) is a 2018 Korean science fiction dystopian movie directed by Kim Jee-woon. It stars Gang Dong-won, Han Hyo-joo, Jung Woo-sung and Kim Mu-yeol. While the movie has wholly adopted from Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, it does have parts of the Kerberos Saga included in does as part of giving it some mythology gag.

The movie has been streaming overseas via Netflix. Illang has been entered in the San Sebastián International Film Festival for the Golden Shell award.

Illang had a movie budget of US$17 million with Korean box office revenue hitting at US$6.2 million, which is considered a Box Office Bomb. In recent months, it has a Cult Classic following, in part because of its relation to the Kerberos Saga.

To promote the movie, Yoon Tae-ho was tasked to pen a prequel webcomic prior to the movie's opening on July 25, 2018.

Illang is set in the year 2029 when the two Koreas decided to agree on a reunification treaty that calls for the establishment of a provisional government that will allow for the easing of transition for both countries to reunite peacefully. However, China, Japan, Russia and the US have enacted sanctions against this move for fears that it'll become a strong economic powerhouse in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, right-wing opposition against a reunification move with the North has given rise to opposition groups, including the Sect. The Korean National Police Agency establishes a paramilitary special forces unit known as the Special Unit in order to hunt down the Sect and other anti-government groups operating in South Korea. Over time, the unit is feared by the public for taking out a group of female school children while investigating a school for supposedly being an anti-government hideout. They began to use the iconic red eye masks to hide their fears and hesitations from the public.

During a raid on a Sect hideout in the sewers, SU officer Lim Joong-kyung witnesses a young girl commit suicide with a satchel of explosives hidden in her bag. He is placed on limited duties due to supposedly ignoring orders to kill or apprehend her. While on leave, Lim gets involved with the girl's older sister, Lee Yoon-hee.

Lim realizes that his involvement with Lee may be part of a move within the South Korean government to publicly justify their reasons to disband the SU, thanks in part to the Ministry of Public Security.

You can see the English translated trailer here.

This film provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The movie starts in the year 2029.
  • Action Prologue: The movie starts when Sect terrorists opens fire on anti-riot officers and protestors alike with burning barrels used to smash their ranks, which forces the SU to be deployed.
  • Adaptational Badass: While Fuse was no slouch in Jin Roh, Lim is far more capable of defending himself, taking out multiple squads of armed Public Security without needing his Protect-Gear. He also manages to go toe to toe with them when unarmed in his Protect-Gear during the climactic sewer battle.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Lim refuses to shoot Lee Yoon-hee at the end of the movie, fighting with his former instructor over it. In Jin Roh, Fuse shoots Kei to remain in the Kerberos Unit.
  • All There in the Manual: The prequel webcomic by Yoon Tae-ho gives details on how the Special Unit was established and most of its early operations the unit was deployed in.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The SU, with its mandate to track down the Sect.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: The Sect returns from Jin-Roh. But while the animated movie has them as pro-communist guerrillas, the Illang version has them painted as anti-North Korean unification terrorists.
  • Meaningful Name: Illang (or Inrang) means Werewolf in Korean.
  • Mythology Gag: The entire movie is based on Jin-Roh, but tied in to the theme of Korean reunification.
    • The Government Conspiracy motive returns. Although this time, it involves the MPS and the Korean NPA instead of the factions in Japanese law enforcement.
    • The SU uses the MG-42 as their main HMG.
    • The presence of female SU officers is a nod to female Kerberos officers such as Midori Washio in the Kerberos Panzer Cop manga.
    • The SU going rogue and taking over police stations is one for StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops, inspired from the sieges between the TMPD and Kerberos.
  • Last Stand: The SU attempts to draw out MPS officers in the sewers in an ambush after they learn that the rest of South Korean law enforcement wants to disband them by force if needed.
  • Product Placement: Per Korean movie, expect to see Hyundai and Kia vehicles, especially the Hyundai H350 van.
  • Setting Update: The film takes place in a Korea about to re-unify in the year 2029 instead of the alternate history Japan of Jin Roh.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Lee Yoon-hee survives to the end of the film, unlike her counterpart Kei in Jin Roh, who dies at the end.
  • Surveillance Drone: Surveillance drones were used in the start to track down the Sect terrorists before they went hiding underground. Later on, an Attack Drone is used to hunt down Lim.