Bronze statues of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his father and the late North Korean founder Kim Il-sung are unveiled to the public in Pyongyang

Die Hard was great, wasn’t it? How can you not like a movie where the bad guy’s called Hans Gruber? A hat-tip to the Bond movies perhaps (before they too became for choice of a better word- shit)?

DH 2 wasn’t a patch on it (How many good movies feature snow? Even the Von Trapp’s refrained from using it). But they brought it back with a worthy attempt for the third installment (still can’t work out how they worked out the gallon jug conundrum – then again I’m somewhat arithmetically challenged), but by the time we see Brucie in his semmit for the predictably shittily-titled ” Live Free or Die Hard” (Jesus…) I’d long given up on it.

It was with some surprise ( combined with a certain element of “what the F***!”) that I read the other day they’re releasing a fifth episode of the franchise on Valentines Day 2013. Whether it’s called “A Good Die To Die Hard (be careful what you wish for) or the Die Hard 24/7 (whoever thought this was going to work is obviously lacking certain brain cells – i.e. 90% of them) isn’t really the issue. It’s more of a concern just how they’re going to get Grandad in a vest (and his boy) into some more contrived shenanigans, but this time in Russia. I can hear the shady stereotypes being written from here.

Now, just a couple of days after Valentine’s Day, we had Kim Jong il’s posthumous birthday, and in truly over-the-top style Our Friend’s In The North unveiled a bronze statue of him and his old man on horseback. It just reminded me of the Roy Rogers (albeit in a slightly tenuous way) conversation in the aforementioned original Die Hard.

North Korea marks late leader Kim Jong-il’s birthday

My favourite part of this clip (other than the inspection of toothbrushes that is) is when they talk about KJI’s “supposedly caring side”. Of course, the powers that be in North Korea want the image portrayed of their leaders (and the same goes for those of us not living under an oppressive regime to some extent) to be seen in a certain, more favourable light. And then there’s the Kimjongilia. The Kimjongilia is a flower named after ‘The Dear Leader’ and an eye-opening documentary that needs to be seen by more people to get a better perspective of the atrocities that have (and still are) going on in North Korea.

More recently, we’ve seen an influx of  articles pop up telling us just how awesome it is in (or is going to be in North Korea). First, North Korea, New Land of Opportunity? actually proposes that investing (or opening/operating a business) in the North is a viable option. Next, the BBC chip in with Made in North Korea: Business in a ‘communist monarchy’ where it documents the story of a Swedish entrepreneur (who eerily looks like the vampire kid from  ‘Let The Right One In’ ) and how it all went tits up for him after setting up a clothing factory). Or my favourite is this complete muppet (he’s Spanish, and I don’t think the two muppery-related incidents are related?), who really believes that he’ll be at the top table for ever more.

        Xavier Cervera

 “Yippie-ki-yea”, indeed…



Author: From a Late Night Train

Teacher. Musician. Ponderer. Had lived in Seoul, South Korea since 2000. Moved back to Glasgow, Scotland in May 2017.

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