Hostage: Missing Celebrity

Hostage: Missing Celebrity (Korean인질; Hanja人質; RRInjil) is a 2021 South Korean action thriller film, written and directed by Pil Kam-sung for Next Entertainment World. It is a feature debut of the director and is based on the 2015 Chinese film Saving Mr. Wu.[3] Starring Hwang Jung-min, the film is about the kidnapping of Korean top film star Hwang Jung-min by strangers. First, he thinks it is a prank, then he soon realises that it is no joke, as the kidnappers demand from him a huge amount of ransom within 24 hours. The film with a production cost of ₩8 billion[1] was ready for release in 2020 but its release was postponed due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.[4]

Hostage: Missing Celebrity
Main poster
Revised RomanizationInjil
Directed byPil Kam-sung
Screenplay byPil Kam-sung
Based onSaving Mr. Wu
by Ding Sheng
Produced byKang Hye-jung
StarringHwang Jung-min
CinematographyChoi Young-hwan
Edited byKim Chang-ju
Secret Warrior
Filmmaker R&K
Distributed byNext Entertainment World
Release date
  • August 18, 2021 (2021-08-18)
Running time
94 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Budget₩8 billion[1]
Box officeUS$13.1 million[2]

Hostage: Missing Celebrity was theatrically released on August 18, 2021.[5] As of December 22, 2021, it is the third highest-grossing Korean film of 2021, with a gross of US$13.07 million and 1.63 million admissions.[2][6]



After a film premiere, a famous actor is kidnapped in the middle of Seoul. Thinking it is a prank, the actor is relaxed, but when he faces cruelty, he realizes the gravity of the situation. He tries to find an escape route as kidnappers demand a huge ransom within 24 hours. Then the struggle begins, which is very different from what he has seen in films.


Special appearance



The film is a remake of the 2015 Chinese film Saving Mr. Wu.[12] It is a reality action film in which actor Hwang Jung-min is playing himself. In a press conference, Hwang Jung-min said, "I think it would be easy to play myself, but it is rather difficult to reveal myself." He further said, "I think the audience enjoyed the situation where Hwang Jung-min and Hwang Jung-min coexist in a movie more realistically."[13] The film was shot in idle area of the military base in Gandong-myeon, Hwacheon-gun, Donghae Police Station, and around Namsan-myeon and Sabuk-myeon in Chuncheon.[14]



The film was released on August 18, 2021,[15] on 1289 screens.[16]

The film was officially invited to the US Fantastic Fest, a genre film festival held from 23 to September 30, 2021, in Austin, Texas, United States.[17]

Hostage: Missing Celebrity was invited to 41st Hawaii International Film Festival in 'Spotlight on Korea' (Korean film sector) section. The festival was held in Hawaii, US, from November 4 to November 28, 2021.[18] It has also been invited at 16th Paris Korean Film Festival, which will be held from October 26 to November 2. It was showcased in 'Evenement' section of the festival program.[19] In April 2022 it was invited at the 24th edition of Far East Film Festival at Udine held from April 22 to 30 2022.[20]



Box office


According to the Korea Film Council's integrated computer network data, the film ranked number 1 at the Korean box office by recording 97,097 audience on its opening day.[21] Maintaining its top position at Korean box office for the second[22] third[23] and fourth day,[24] it recorded 1 million cumulative audiences on 10h day of its release, thereby becoming the 3rd Korean film of 2021 to cross 1 million mark.[25]

As of December 22, 2021 it is at 3rd place among all the Korean films released in the year 2021, with gross of US$13.07 million and 1,638,437 admissions.[2]

Critical response


Lee Yu-na reviewing the film for YTN praised the debutant director Phil Gam-seong for his apt handling of the film and Hwang Jung-min for his performance. Yu-na opened the review writing, "A film with a simple plot wins with Hwang Jung-min's unrivaled acting skills. In terms of completeness, it is a masterpiece that never lags behind among the tentpole films this summer." She opined that the film has 'heightened the reality' by portraying Hwang Jung-min's character as himself.[26]

Kim Mi-hwa reviewing for Star News wrote that the film is from a new genre of 'reality action' setting where the main actor is acting himself. Praising the direction of Phil Gam-seong, she said, "Even though it is a feature film by a new director, it does not stop breathing and boasts a smooth flow." Praising the performance of Hwang Jung-min in reality action setting, Mi-hwa opined, "As Hwang Jung-min said, if you watch the movie, you will find yourself cheering for him." She concluded, "Just seeing the discovery of new actors is enough reason to watch Hostage: Missing Celebrity."[27]

Kim Ji-won of Ten Asia opened the review writing, "The movie Hostage: Missing Celebrity took the reality of 'acting veteran Hwang Jung-min' as the setting of the movie. Realism and fiction are properly blended to bring out a high level of immersion." Ji-won praised the performance of new actors and opined that this ensemble as hostage-takers has added to the sublimity of the film. Analysing the depth of reality and fiction in the reality-action film, she wrote that narrative of the film was well ordered and Hwang Jung-min's acting kept the watchers engrossed in the film. She wrote, "It [the film] also has the virtues of an entertainment movie with unrefined realistic action scenes and quick control through appropriate screen transitions."[28]

Park Jeong-seon of JTBC wrote that the reality-action of the film made it appealing and kept the audience engrossed. She gave credit of this to director Phil Gam-seong and opined, "The realistic direction of director also played a big part in this reality." She praised the performance of lead actor and the cast of new actors, as she wrote, "Although they are newcomers who are still unfamiliar with the screen, they each do their job well." Park opined that though the production cost of the film is just about 8 billion won, still "[..] the best possible content was created." Park concluded, "It is a wise film that is well suited to current theaters and audiences."[29]

Awards and nominations

Year Awards Category Recipient Result Ref.
2021 42nd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Film Hostage: Missing Celebrity Nominated [30][31]
New Actor Ryu Kyung-soo Nominated
Kim Jae-beom Nominated
New Director Pil Kam-sung Nominated
Best Editing Kim Chang-ju Nominated
8th Korean Film Writers Association Awards Best New Actress Lee Yoo-mi Won [32]
2022 58th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Director Pil Kam-sung Nominated [33][34]
Best New Actor Kim Jae-beom Nominated
Chunsa Film Art Awards 2022 Best New Director Pil Kam-sung Nominated [35]
Best Actor Hwang Jung-min Nominated
Best New Actor Kim Jae-beom Nominated


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  12. ^ Shin Min-hee (July 15, 2021). "A thriller coming to theaters". Korea JoongAng. Naver. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  13. ^ Han Mi-hee (July 15, 2021). ""실제 황정민과 영화 속 황정민의 접점 맞추느라 고민"" [I was worried about the contact point between the real Hwang Jung-min and Hwang Jung-min in the movie]. Yonhap News Agency (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  14. ^ Lee Hyun-jung (August 18, 2021). "강원도내서 촬영 영화 '싱크홀·인질' 주목" [Focus on the movie 'Sinkhole Hostage' filmed in Gangwon-do]. Gangwon Ilbo (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  15. ^ Bae Hyo-joo (August 18, 2021). "오늘(18일) 개봉 '인질' 황정민표 마라맛 맨손 탈주 스릴러" ['Hostage' released today (18th) Hwang Jung-Min-Pyo Maramat Bare-handed escape thriller]. Newsen (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
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  17. ^ Kim Mi-hwa (September 8, 2021). "'인질', 美 판타스틱 페스트 공식 초청" ['Hostage' officially invited to the US Fantastic Fest]. Star News (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  18. ^ Yoon-hee Lee (August 31, 2021). ""영리한 스릴러"…'인질', 하와이 국제 영화제 공식 초청" ["A clever thriller"... 'Hostage' officially invited to Hawaii International Film Festival]. TV Report (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  19. ^ Kim Bo-young (September 30, 2021). "황정민 '인질', 제16회 파리한국영화제 초청…잇단 해외 러브콜 [공식]" [Hwang Jung-min's 'Hostage' invited to the 16th Paris Korean Film Festival... Successive overseas love calls [Official]]. Edaily (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  20. ^ "Udine Far East Film Festival Confirms Lineup for 24th Edition". Windows on Worlds. April 20, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  21. ^ Kim Ji-won (August 19, 2021). "[공식] "여름엔 황정민"…'인질' 개봉일 1위·좌석판매율 1위 등극" [[Official] "Hwang Jung-min in summer"... 'Hostage' ranked first in opening date and number one in seat sales]. Ten Asia (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  22. ^ Kim Seon-woo (August 20, 2021). "'인질' 이틀 연속 박스오피스 1위…흥행 열기 주말까지 이어질까" ['Hostage' topped the box office for two days in a row... Will the box office fever last until the weekend?]. Sports Seoul (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  23. ^ Jung Yoo-jin (August 21, 2021). "'인질', 3일째 1위 누적관객수 26만명↑…주말 흥행 이을까 [Nbox]" ['Hostage' ranked first for the third day in cumulative audience of 260,000 ↑... Is it a weekend hit [Nbox]]. News 1 (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  24. ^ Hyo-Jeong Yoon (August 22, 2021). "황정민 '인질' 4일째 1위…'싱크홀'·'모가디슈' 삼파전 [Nbox]" [Hwang Jung-min's 'Hostage' 1st for 4th day... 'Sinkhole'·'Mogadishu' three-way battle [Nbox]]. News 1 (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  25. ^ Shin So-won (August 28, 2021). "'인질' 100만 관객 돌파, 황정민 친필 감사 인사" ['Hostage' surpasses 1 million viewers, Hwang Jung-min's handwritten thanks]. Ten Asia (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  26. ^ Lee, Yu-na (August 6, 2021). "[Y리뷰] '인질' 천상 배우 황정민, 마지막 시선에 숨이 멎는다" [[Y Review] 'Hostage' heavenly actor Hwang Jung-min, stops breathing at the last glance]. YTN (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
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