Illang: The Wolf Brigade

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Illang: The Wolf Brigade
Illang The Wolf Brigade.jpg
Theatrical poster
Revised RomanizationIllang
Directed byKim Jee-woon
Produced byKim Woo-sang
Screenplay byKim Jee-woon
Jeon Cheol-hong
Based onJin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
by Mamoru Oshii
Music byMowg
CinematographyLee Mo-gae
Edited byYang Jin-mo
Lewis Pictures[1]
Distributed byWarner Bros. Korea
Release date
  • July 25, 2018 (2018-07-25)
Running time
138 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
BudgetUS$17 million[2]
Box officeUS$6.2 million[3]

Illang: The Wolf Brigade[3] (Hangul인랑; Hanja人狼; RRIllang; lit. Werewolf; also known as Inrang) is a 2018 South Korean science fiction action film directed by Kim Jee-woon and starring Gang Dong-won, Han Hyo-joo, Jung Woo-sung and Kim Mu-yeol. It is a live-action adaptation of the Japanese animated film Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.[4][5]

The film was released on July 25, 2018.[6][7][8] Distributed by Warner Bros. Korea, the film had cost 19 billion won (US$17.04 million) to produce. It received mixed reviews and underperformed at the domestic box office, selling around 897,000 tickets against its break-even point of six million tickets.[9][10]

The film will compete in the San Sebastián International Film Festival for the Golden Shell, becoming the second South Korean film to do so.[11]


Set in 2029 where South and North Korea get ready for a unified government after years of preparation. South Korean police launches a special unit, known as "Illang" (The Wolf Brigade), to stop an anti-reunification terrorist group called "The Sect".[12]


A highly-trained officer and member of Wolf Brigade who becomes conflicted after witnessing a girl die before his eyes.
Elder sister of "the girl in red cape" who detonates a suicide bomb.
Chief of training camp for Wolf Brigade.
Deputy head of the public security department and is also a member of Wolf Brigade.
Jang Jin-tae's right-armed man and leading member of Wolf Brigade.
"The girl in red cape", Lee Yoon-hee's younger sister[13]


The film was financed by Union Investment Partners, with production being announced in 2013.[1][15] Filming began on August 16, 2017 in Studio Cube, a South Korean filming complex, and completed on March 23, 2018.[1][16][17]

Costumes for the film were designed by Hollywood artist Vanessa Lee, who also worked on the special effects costume for the 2006 film Underworld: Evolution and superhero costumes in the Avengers film series.[18]

Webtoon writer Yoon Tae-ho penned a prequel titled Illang: Prequel, which took place five years before the events of the film. It was developed by Kakao Pages and Daum Webtoon and was released on June 27, 2018, beginning a weekly run of chapters that led up to the film's release on July 25.[19]


Illang: The Wolf Brigade was released in South Korea on July 25, 2018. Netflix acquired the international distribution rights of the film.[15][20][21]

The film has been selected to compete at the 66th San Sebastián International Film Festival, which will be held from September 21–29, 2018. It was Kim Jee-woon's second film to compete at the festival after I Saw the Devil in 2010. Kim and lead actor Gang Dong-won are set to attend the event.[22][11]

A red carpet and showcase event for the film was held on July 18, 2018 at Times Square Mall in Yeongdeungpo-gu with the attendance of the director and cast.[23][24]


Critical response[edit]

Mamoru Oshii, the writer of the novel which the film is based on, attended a special screening and commented, "I think this is a powerful movie that provokes lots of thought ... The balance between the realistic locations and the futuristic technologies like iron armor and diverse guns was very impressive."[25]

As per Yonhap review, the film "spent so much time trying to recreate the world from the animated movie and remakes it into a big-scale action blockbuster that it never got the simple things right... the film falls short of properly delivering the intense inner conflict felt by Joong-kyung."[26]

Jason Bechervaise from Screendaily wrote that the film "contains moments of stylistic brilliance through some compelling set-pieces. Yet moving the story from Japan to a Korean peninsula which is on the point of reunifying in 2029 results in a film which is both over-plotted and melodramatic."[27]

Box office[edit]

On the first day of its release, the film attracted 274,525 admissions.[25][28] After five days of release, Illang: The Wolf Brigade earned a total of US$5.29 million.[29]

The film was made on a US$17.0 million budget and targeted to attract around 6 million moviegoers. However, due to negative reviews from both critics and audience members, the film screened for only three weeks, and ended up attracting a total of 897,254 moviegoers, grossing US$6.2 million.[30] The number of South Korean film admissions in July 2018 dropped by 21.4% from 2017, to 5.39 million, due to the sluggishness of this film and the absence of intermediate films to replace it. The number of South Korean film admissions in July 2018 was the lowest since 2008.[31]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards Category Recipient Result Ref.
27th Buil Film Awards Best Cinematography Lee Mo-gae Nominated [32]
Best Art Direction Jo Hwa-sung Nominated
55th Grand Bell Awards Nominated [33][34]
Best Lighting Lee Sung-hwan Nominated
Best Costume Design Jo Sang-kyung Won
Technical Award Illang: The Wolf Brigade Nominated
39th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Cinematography and Lightning Nominated [35]
Best Art Direction Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Conran, Pierce. "KIM Jee-woon's Sci-fi Action INRANG Starts Shooting in August". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Shim, Sun-ah (July 25, 2018). "(Yonhap Interview) Director Kim Jee-woon: Che Guevara inspires me to constantly challenge myself". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Illang: The Wolf Brigade (2018)". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  4. ^ Kim, Kyung-hee. "'인랑' 강동원-한효주-정우성-김무열-최민호! 살아 숨 쉬는 다섯 명의 캐릭터 포스터!". iMBC (in Korean). MBC&iMBC. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  5. ^ Conran, Pierce. "Warner Bros. and KIM Jee-woon Team Up Once More on JIN-ROH Remake". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  6. ^ Conran, Pierce. "KIM Jee-woon's Sci-fi INRANG Arms Up for July Release". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Shim, Sun-ah. "Director Kim Jee-woon's 'Inrang' unveiled to media". Yonhap News. Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  8. ^ Yoon, Min-sik. "Hotshots in film industry team up in sci-fi-themed 'The Wolf Brigade'". The Korea Herald. Herald Corporation. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  9. ^ "Korean cinemas earned more despite fewer admissions this summer". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  10. ^ "How 'Illang' went from blockbuster to major box office flop: Warner Bros. Korea's summer release failed to please audiences". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Kim Jee-woon's 'Wolf Brigade' advances to San Sebastian film fest". Yonhap News Agency. July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  12. ^ "Summer box-office preview: the 5 most highly anticipated Korean movies". Yonhap News. Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  13. ^ Kim, Soo-jeong. "신예 신은수 '인랑' 합류…강동원과 두번째 호흡[공식]". Naver (in Korean). TV Report. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  14. ^ "Rookie Ok Ja-yeon to star in "Illang : The Wolf Brigade"". Hancinema. News1 Korea. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Frater, Patrick. "Netflix Picks Up Kim Jee-woon's 'Wolf Brigade'". Variety. Variety Media. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Conran, Pierce. "KIM Jee-woon's Sci-fi Action Drama INRANG Completes 8 Months of Filming". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  17. ^ "S. Korea's largest film studio opens doors to support 'hallyu'". Yonhap News. Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  18. ^ Jang, Sun-hee. "Korean special makeup artist works for 'Darkest Hour'". The Dong-A Ilbo. Dong-A. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  19. ^ Conran, Pierce. "MOSS, INSIDE MEN Writer Pens ILLANG: PREQUEL Webtoon". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  20. ^ Hoai Tran Bui (July 18, 2018). "Netflix Picks Up Kim Jee-woon's Action Thriller 'Illang: The Wolf Brigade'". Slash Film. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  21. ^ "Netflix acquires distribution rights of South Korean action-thriller". Manila Bulletin. July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  22. ^ "'Wolf Brigade' to compete in Spain". Korea JoongAng Daily. July 19, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  23. ^ Yim Hyun-su (July 9, 2018). "Gang Dong-won and Han Hyo-joo to make public appearance next week after dating rumors". The Korea Herald. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  24. ^ Park, Pan-seok. "[종합] '인랑' 강동원·한효주, 역시 프로..열애설 흔들림 없었다". Naver (in Korean). OSEN. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Jin, Min-ji (July 27, 2018). "Despite star power, 'Illang' can't meet high expectations: Local adaptation of a Japanese hit film fails to satisfy movie critics". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  26. ^ Shim Sun-ah (July 24, 2018). "(Movie Review) 'Illang: The Wolf Brigade' eventually loses its way". Yonhap News Agency.
  27. ^ "'Illang: The Wolf Brigade': Review". Screen. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  28. ^ "[fn 인터뷰] 강동원 "'인랑', 감독에 대한 믿음으로 시작..다음엔 재미난 것 하고파"" (in Korean). Star Financial News. July 27, 2018.
  29. ^ Sonia Kil (July 30, 2018). "Korea Box Office: 'Mission: Impossible' Beats 'Wolf Brigade'". Variety.
  30. ^ "영화 '인랑', 화려한 캐스팅·제작비 190억원·김지운 감독… 흥행 기대 3요소의 굴욕" (in Korean). Joong-boo Daily. August 15, 2018.
  31. ^ "인랑' 부진, 7월 한국영화 관객수 2008년 이후 최저…외화는 반사이익" (in Korean). Asian Today. August 17, 2018.
  32. ^ "[23회 부산국제영화제] 부일영화상". (in Korean). 20 September 2018.
  33. ^ "제55회 대종상, 각 부문 후보 공개…'공작' 12개 최다부문 노미네이트". Seoul Sports (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  34. ^ "'버닝', 대종상 작품상 영예...1주기 故김주혁, 특별상 수상 [종합]". Osen (in Korean). 22 October 2018.
  35. ^ "청룡영화상 후보 발표, '1987' 최다·'공작'도 9개부문 후보". Newsen (in Korean). November 1, 2018.

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