In an alternate future, Japan has won World War II, and has chaged the future as we know it. The outcome has had a great impact on everything, and it’s a completely different world in 2009 Lost Memories. It is a world in which Japan now has Korea under it’s sphere of influence. An artifact exhibition hosted by the Inoue Foundation is layed seige to for an unknown purpose by an underground Korean anti-government group called the Hureisenjin.
The two JBI (Japanese Bureau of Investigation) agents assigned to deal with the terrorist situation are special agents Sakamoto Masayuki (Jang Dong-Geun) and his close friend Saigo Shojiro (Toru Nakamura). After the raid, Sakamoto begins to investigate the case and begins to believe he’s caught up in a conspiracy that leads him to believe that Seoul may not be a part of Japan and sets out on his own to find the truth. However what he finds may be beyond even he could imagine.
Enter 2009 Lost Memories, a completely new and invigorating sci-fi film with Japan and South Korea collaborating to bring this blockbuster to life. And what an excellent film it is! A first glance, 2009 seems to be a general run-of-the-mill cookie cutter action flick, but wait! It’s so much more! 2009 is the first of it’s kind, that is, it successfully mixes the action and sci-fi genre with a decent and thought-provoking storyline to provide a thouroughly engaging cinematic experience.
2009 starts off with an anti-government group called the Hureisenjin attempting to steal a crescent-shaped object from an artifact exposition. Their motives aren’t yet clear as to why they desire to acquire it. Sakamoto soon discovers that Seoul may not be a part of Japan afterall as he sets out to find the secret behind the relic that the Hureisenjin aspired to embezzle and how it connects to Seoul and the history of Korea. What he finds, is beyond what he could’ve possibly imagined, taking him through the past and present.
Unlike past blockbuster hits such as JSA and Shiri that dealt with divided Koreas, 2009 tackles the idea of an alternate reality in which Japan had won World War II. Consequently, Japan is able to take control of Korea. But in order to further that idea, Inoue is able to travel back in time to guarantee that Japan gains domination of Korea. Sounds interesting doesn’t it? I sure think so. I’m usually not a big fan of science fiction movies, but this movie lays these elements on just right. We’re not overburdened with loads of techno babble. It just gets right to the point, and sticks to it without any complications. And that’s good. 2009 is a thought-provoking movie indeed, but it knows when to relax a bit on the technical details and lay on the action and suspense.
"20,000 rounds, that is where the secret lies." Well, I wouldn’t say that that’s where the secret lies, but it sure does play a big part in what makes this movie so successful. Billions were spent on the production and making of 2009. “6.4 billion won in basic production costs, a staggering 8 billion won in total production costs, 1,000 staff members, not including extras, 2 years of planning, 1 year of pre-production, 8 months of filming, 120 shoots, 180 thousand feet of film, and 4 months of post-filming work.” This makes it the most expensive movie at the time of it’s release back in late 2001. Production costs aside, the action scenes are what set 2009 apart from the rest. From some truly thrilling shootouts in the Ito Hall, to the raids on the Hureisenjin headquarters, and even the car chases involving Nissan Skylines, the action scenes are some of the best I’ve ever seen! 2009 wins hands down with regards to action scenes when put up against other action films.
Regarding the acting capabilities of the two main leads, I just have to say that Jang Dong-Geun and Toru Nakamura have done a fantastic job in bringing their roles of Sakamoto and Saigo to life. You can almost sense that this alternate reality has actually happened. Jang Dong-Geun must simply be applauded for his ability to speak Japanese for his role as a Japanese agent.
Overall, this movie must be seen for it’s exhilarating action displays and it’s engaging sci-fi elements. If you’re not into science fiction, well then you’ve got great action scenes to get yourself in a hoopla about. If you’re not into action, well then I recommend seeing this simply for the great storyline and sci-fi pieces. Either way, you can’t go wrong with 2009 Lost Memories.
Though the DVD case lists the product as Region 3, it is actually Region ALL. Enterone provides us with a fantastic 2 disc Special Edition of this very excellent movie. Disc one contains the feature presented in great 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with no noticeable print defects. Audio options include a thunderous DTS track and a pretty good Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Extras on Disc One include Audio Commentary (unsubtitled), Cast & Crew information, Still Gallery, Music Video, Theatrical Trailers, and a TV Spot. Rounding out this Special Edition is Disc 2’s “Another 2009 Lost Memories” features. These include Interviews, Production, Documentary, Inside of 2009 Lost Memories, and How to Make The Movie Sound. All extras are unfortunately not subtitled in English.