Shin Jungkeun began his career in a theater troupe in 1987 at age 21 and has appeared in more than 50 plays for 10 years. He entered the film industry as a minor character in 1997. Thanks to the introduction by actor Jung Jinyoung, who he worked together in Wild Card (2003), Shin appeared in Director Lee Joonik’s Once Upon a Time in a Battlefield (2003), which became a turning point in his filmography. Afterward, appearing in Lee Joonik’s films steadily, Shin Jungkeun made his face known as a movie star little by little.
Running Turtle (2009) is a film that strongly imprinted the actor as a character on the public. In the film, Shin played a sloppy guy combined with a blunt expression and a unique sense of humor, which became the actor’s trademark that has often appeared in other characters he played. Running Turtle won him the Best Supporting Actor at the Busan Film Critics Association Awards, which led him to be given increasingly significant roles and start appearing in TV drama series.
He is often regarded as an actor specializing in villain roles, but if you look closely, you can see that the characters he played most frequently were a police officer or a detective squad chief. Shin also shows his strengths in epic and period drama genres and has his own tricks with the subtle comic tone of acting. Duel: Final Round (2016) is the unique work in the actor’s filmography, featuring a mentor character reminiscent of Beggar So in Drunken Master (1978), showing sleek action and signature comic acting. Shin Jungkeun played his first lead role in The Soup (2018), proving that he could convey not only laughter but also the deep feelings of family dramas.
The biggest strength Shin Jungkeun has is his reaction and harmony with other actors. The aforementioned Running Turtle or Duel: Final Round could be good examples of his impressive reactions to the other actors’ characters while fusion epic films such as The Grand Heist (2012) or The Pirates (2014) showed Shin’s outstanding acting harmony as a member of the group casting. Shin is good at creating chemistry as part of the whole rather than standing out alone. Steel Rain 2: Summit (2020) shows the strong presence of the actor while making good use of his strengths. Amid prominent actors such as Jung Woosung, Kwak Dowon, and Yoo Yeonseok, Shin Jungkeun carried the overall emotions of the movie as a scene-stealer. Playing the second-in-command of North Korea’s nuclear submarine, which was in danger, Shin created an attractive character combining belief, honor, and humanism. Kim Hyungseok