Emergency Measure 19

Emergency Measure 19

Rating: 4/10
Year: 2002
Genre: Comedy
Director: Kim Tae-Kyu
Cast: Kong Hyo-Jin, No Joo-Hyun, Hong Kyung-Min, Kim Jang-Hoon

To some people, Emergency Measure 19 is no doubt a dream comes true. It has brought almost all the popular idols in Korea together. Try to imagine, Kangta, FinKL, ShinHwa, Click-B, Baby Vox, Ha Ri-Su, and many more are all in one single film! If you are a K-Pop fan, merely the cast list is already the biggest allurement for you to get the film.

The story of this film is quite illogical and whimsical. The Korean government is afraid that pop singers and their songs are having too much political influence, that the chief secretary has decided to pass a new law called "emergency measure 19" in which every pop singer in the country is to be arrested and jailed. The establishment of such insane laws angers the fans and supporters of the singers and it results in a big strike that is going out of control... The plot is quite loose and is built up from many fragments that do not seem to be closely related, for instance, there is a scene where you see ShinHwa is being interrogated in a cell, then in another scene, Kangta is beating some government agents. Most of these scenes are very funny and humorous, but don't expect any intense drama there. In addition, the film also contains some interesting political metaphors that may not appear too meaningful for outsiders who know nothing about the politics in Korea.

To most people, it is obvious that this film is a parody, but in what way, or to be a bit more specific, who is it that the filmmaker wanted to mock? The pop singers? The fanatics? To me, the target seems to be the parents of the fans. The major sub-plot of this film is the father-daughter relationship between the chief secretary and his daughter. What is ironic about this relationship is that, the father is the one who establishes the law, while the daughter is the one who leads the big strike against the government. If the father were able to spend more time with his daughter and understand her needs, it is very likely that the situation will not end up in the way it is. Moreover, in a scene when the government officials are forced by Kang Jang-Hoon to sing a song, they admit that they know nothing about pop song. It is a sarcastic moment since it is these government officials who have decided to prohibit pop songs, but the fact is, they know nothing about it! This film seems to suggest that the ignorance of the parents is the key factor that leads to the radical behavior of the fans.

The lead actress of this film is Kong Hye-Jin. Not being very beautiful, she has been in many films before, including Memento Mori, Guns & Talks, Surprise and many more. Her role as the teen leader is quite persuasive. Among all the cameo of the pop idols, Kangta and Ha Ri-Su are the two you should not miss. Their parts are impressive.

Emergency Measure 19 is funny and sarcastic, but the subject matter is not universal. You need to have some knowledge of the Korean entertainment industry in order to fully grasp all the humors and gags. If you don't even know what is ShinHwa or FinKL, it is very hard for you to enjoy this film and get the most out of it.

Reviewed by: Kantorates