The Fatal Encounter

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The Fatal Encounter
The Fatal Encounter-poster.jpg
International poster
Revised RomanizationYeonrin
Directed byLee Jae-kyoo
Produced byChoi Nak-kwon
Written byChoi Sung-hyeon
StarringHyun Bin
Jung Jae-young
Jo Jung-suk
Han Ji-min
Music byMowg
CinematographyGo Nak-seon
Edited byShin Min-kyung
Good Choice Cut Pictures
Distributed byLotte Entertainment
Release date
  • April 30, 2014 (2014-04-30)
Running time
135 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
BudgetUS$9.6 million
Box office₩29.9 billion

The Fatal Encounter (Hangul역린; RRYeokrin; lit. The King's Wrath) is a 2014 South Korean film based on a real-life assassination attempt on King Jeongjo. Jeongjo is portrayed by Hyun Bin, in his first role in a period drama and first acting project after being discharged from mandatory military service.[1][2][3]

King Jeongjo (1752-1800) was the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, nicknamed the "King of Misfortune." When he was 10 years old, Jeongjo witnessed the death of his father Crown Prince Sado, who was executed by a royal decree ordered by his grandfather, then-King Yeongjo. During his reign, Jeongjo was subsequently caught in the midst of fierce party strife between the Noron and Soron factions, and survived seven assassination attempts just in his first year as king. The film is inspired by Jeongyuyeokbyeon, one such assassination attempt on Jeongjo by his political opponents in 1777, the king's first year as the nation's ruler. The Fatal Encounter depicts the 24 hours leading up to that event in Jeongjo's life and those around him.[4][5]

This is the feature film debut of director Lee Jae-kyoo; he previously helmed the television series Damo (2003), Fashion 70's (2005), Beethoven Virus (2008), and The King 2 Hearts (2012), as well as the online movie The Influence (2010).


In 1777, one year after he began his reign, King Jeongjo lives a perilous palace life amidst opposition and threats from those around him who harbor political ambitions. He prepares himself for possible attacks by working out alone in the palace. Jeongjo is a calm and considerate man, but he is also afraid. The only one he trusts is his loyal court servant Gap-soo, called the king's shadow.

When Gap-soo was young, he was sold to a cruel man named Gwang-baek, who illegally and brutally trains orphaned children to become professional assassins. Gap-soo befriends Eul-soo, another orphan who is a few years younger than him. When Gwang-baek is instructed to give one of his children to become a court eunuch, he asks Gap-soo and Eul-soo to play the game of rock-paper-scissors; Gap-soo purposely loses the game in an effort to protect Eul-soo. Thus, Gap-soo is castrated and sent to the royal palace. There he meets Jeongjo, a young boy who is still mourning his father's death. Meanwhile, Eul-soo continues enduring harsh training and grows up as a merciless killer.

Years later, Eul-soo, now the deadliest member of the secret group of assassins, receives orders to kill Jeongjo within 24 hours. He infiltrates the palace, where he falls in love with Wol-hye, a gungnyeo (or female court servant). Jeongjo's mother Lady Hyegyeong is also locked in dangerous conflict with the late King Yeongjo's much younger widow, dowager Queen Jeongsun. Meanwhile, Gap-soo confesses his dark past to Jeongjo and swears to protect him.[6]



The Fatal Encounter was released in South Korea on April 30, 2014. The film also had a limited theatrical run in 25 North American cinemas on May 23.[15]

Box office[edit]

The Fatal Encounter attracted 1.7 million admissions and ₩13.1 billion (US$12.7 million) on its first five days in the theaters. The opening was the biggest for a local release in 2014, though it trailed to debuts of Hollywood tentpoles Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.[16][17]

Despite receiving mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics after its press screening,[18][19] the period blockbuster has sold over 3.2 million tickets two weeks since its release.[20][21]

It grossed ₩29.9 billion and sold 3.85 million tickets in South Korea.[22]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
23rd Buil Film Awards
Best Cinematography Go Nak-seon Nominated
Best Art Direction Cho Hwa-sung Nominated
Best Music Mowg Nominated
51st Grand Bell Awards[23]
Best Art Direction Cho Hwa-sung Won
Best Costume Design Jeong Gyeong-hee Nominated
Best Music Mowg Nominated
Technical Award (martial arts) Yang Kil-young Nominated
1st Korean Film Producers Association Awards
Best Lighting Cha Sang-kyun Won
Best Art Direction Cho Hwa-sung Won
Best Sound Kim Chang-seop Won
20th Chunsa Film Art Awards[24]
Technical Award Nominated
9th Asian Film Awards[25]
Best Composer Mowg Nominated
Best Costume Designer Jeong Gyeong-hee Nominated


  1. ^ Lee, Sun-min (30 April 2013). "Hyun Bin set to appear in new film". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  2. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (29 April 2013). "Hyun Bin to Become King in Historical Film". TenAsia. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  3. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (29 April 2013). "Hyun Bin to Return with His First Sageuk Movie". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  4. ^ Jin, Eun-soo (4 April 2014). "Hyun Bin back as a muscular King Jeongjo". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  5. ^ Conran, Pierce (2 May 2014). "In Focus: The Fatal Encounter". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  6. ^ Do, Je-hae (2 August 2013). "Period pieces dominate Korean cinema, TV". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  7. ^ "Hyun Bin Says Acting a Challenge After Military Service". The Chosun Ilbo. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
  8. ^ "Hyun Bin Recalls Fitness Regimen Fit for a King for Latest Flick". The Chosun Ilbo. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  9. ^ Lee, So-dam (17 May 2014). "Interview: Hyun Bin Regained His Love and Passion for Acting After the Marines". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  10. ^ Lee, So-dam (17 May 2014). "Interview: Hyun Bin's Back Muscles Took 3 Months to Build but Disappeared in 2 Weeks". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  11. ^ Kim, Su-yeon (30 May 2014). "HYUN Bin of THE FATAL ENCOUNTER: A Smart Actor Whose Name Has Proven Trustworthy". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  12. ^ Kang, Jung-yeon (3 July 2013). "Jung Jae-young to Join Hyun Bin's Pic". TenAsia. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  13. ^ An, So-hyoun (29 July 2013). "The King's Wrath Casts Jo Jeong Seok, Park Sung Woong and Jung Eun Chae". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  14. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (30 July 2013). "Cho Jung-seok Joins Hyun Bin's Film". TenAsia. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  15. ^ "The Fatal Encounter to open in North America in May". The Korea Herald. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  16. ^ Ma, Kevin (6 May 2014). "Fatal Encounter has year's best opening". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  17. ^ Conran, Pierce (7 May 2014). "THE FATAL ENCOUNTER Scores Biggest Korean Opening of 2014". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  18. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (25 April 2014). "Fatal Encounter deathly boring". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  19. ^ Lee, Claire (27 April 2014). "Fatal Encounter fails to be memorable". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
  20. ^ Lee, Claire (11 May 2014). "Fatal Encounter draws 3m viewers". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  21. ^ Kim, Hee-eun (13 May 2014). "Hyun Bin's Fatal Encounter a box-office winner". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  22. ^ Cremin, Stephen (9 July 2014). "Market share of South Korean films plummets". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  23. ^ Conran, Pierce (24 November 2014). "ROARING CURRENTS Tops 51st Daejong Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-11-25.
  24. ^ Ma, Kevin (9 March 2015). "Hard Day leads Chunsa Film Art nominations". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
  25. ^ Yoon, Ina (4 March 2015). "Korean Films and Artists Nominated for the Asian Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-03-19.

External links[edit]