west 32nd on dvd october 13

All right. It's finally here. After a solid film festival run, and then languishing a bit in distribution limbo, Michael Kang's Korean American gangster drama West 32nd, starring John Cho, Jun Kim and Grace Park, finally gets a DVD release next week from Pathfinder Pictures. Here's what it's about:
When John Kim, an ambitious young lawyer, takes on a pro bono case to exonerate a fourteen-year-old boy from a first degree murder charge, he finds a world he never knew existed in the underbelly of Manhattan - the Korean underworld. Infiltrating the knotty and complex realm of Korean organized crime to search for clues, he meets his match, Mike Juhn, a rising soldier in the syndicate. Recognizing John's determination and daring, Mike brings John into his confidence, furtively drawing him into his scheme to re-shuffle the Korean underworld. Though they become fast friends, they just as quickly end up trying to outfox each other as they discover they'll both do anything to win.
And if you like extras, here's a breakdown of the DVD's bonus features:
  • 16:9 Anamorphic Aspect Ratio
  • Audio Commentary with Director Michael Kang and Actors John Cho and Jun Kim
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Production Gag Reel
  • Music Video for Heather Park's "Leave Me To Dream"
  • Interview with writers Michael Kang and Edmund Lee
  • Official Trailer
The movie stars John Cho, who you know from the Harold and Kumar movies, was last seen in the hit summer blockbuster Star Trek, and is now starring in the new ABC drama FlashForward. Here's his note regarding the release of West 32nd:

When I came to Los Angeles to pursue acting 10 years ago, it felt like I was one of very few Korean American guys in town. In the years since, the situation has changed dramatically – I would never have guessed then that there would be so many prominent Korean American actors working today. And it’s been so exciting to see that growth paralleled by the growth of Korean cinema in the global market.

I began to wonder what it would be like if resources and talent flowed both ways, from the United States to Korea and back? One of the first answers to that question is a Michael Kang movie I acted in called West 32nd. It’s set in New York’s Koreatown; it’s often bi-lingual; it stars Korean American and Korean actors; and it was financed by CJ Entertainment, a Korean company that took a chance on this uniquely entertaining thriller.

On a personal note, the experience of making this film is among the most gratifying of my life. My character’s discovery of his own culture mirrored my own experience with a largely Korean American cast and crew. It was a special time for me.

But the opportunity to give birth to a new category of film – the Korean/American co-production – is also special. In success, I hope this film is a catalyst for stories, talent, and resources to be shared between Koreans and Korean Americans. It would be a shame for us to drop the ball on this now.

West 32nd is available on DVD October 13. We ask that you please alert those you know. This is the way it happens – people emailing friends and family. Thank you very much for reading.

-John Cho
Actor West 32nd
And if you need further motivation to check out West 32nd on DVD, here's a note from star Grace Park, who you also know from Battlestar Galactica and The Cleaner:

The making of West 32nd, with its story, characters and cast, was an absolute gem of an experience. From the moment I read the opening sequence I was enthralled with the tapestry of visual stories that spun around you, seducing you into the underground world that lives and breathes on Manhattan's West 32nd.

Upon meeting the cast at our table read the first day, it was apparent that we were in the presence of casting magic, which became transformed into charismatic, compelling, inviting and dark performances and characters. It is hard to take your eyes off of these people as they live on screen.

Being a part of this film was really important to me. It represents discovery. Discovery of my Korean heritage, peers, working in the Korean language, and the Korean film market. As well for the audience, there's an unveiling, learning and exploration of this unique covert subculture. And finally I had a personal revelation of myself involving self-image, perception and awareness because of my experience of and interactions from playing "Lila".

This film comes at an exciting time with Hollywood and Korea reaching out to each other, broadening and deepening their horizons. This film is a rich symbol of that consummation. Support and watch West 32nd and be a part of history.

Grace Park
Actress West 32nd
This is not a Chinatown bootleg! West 32nd will be released on DVD on October 13 at Amazon or wherever you rent/buy DVDs. And spread the word! You will make my friend Michael Kang very happy. For more information on the movie, visit the West 32nd website here.

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