The story of a cab driver in Yanji City, a region between North Korea, China and Russia. His wife goes to Korea to earn money, but he doesn't hear from her since in 6 months. He plays ... See full summary »
Byung-du is a 29-year-old career criminal, working for the middle-rank enforcer Sang-chul. Burdened with a terminally ill mother and taking care of younger siblings, Byung-du is feeling ... See full summary »
After a thirteen-year imprisonment for the kidnap and murder of a six-year-old boy, Guem-Ja Lee seeks vengeance on the man truly responsible for the boy's death. With the help of fellow ... See full summary »
An ex-special agent CHA Tae-shik's only connection to the rest of the world is a little girl, So-mi, who lives nearby. Her mother, Hyo-jeong smuggles drugs from a drug trafficking organization and entrusts Tae-shik with the product, without letting him know. The traffickers find out about her smuggling and kidnap both Hyo-jeong and So-mi. The gang promises to release them if Tae-shik makes a delivery for them, however it actually is a larger plot to eliminate a rival drug ring leader. When Hyo-jeon's disemboweled body is discovered, Tae-shik realizes that So-mi's life may also be in danger. Tae-shik becomes enraged at the prospect that So-mi may already be dead and prepares for a battle, putting his own life at risk. Written by
Another fantastic thriller/drama brought to us by South Korea
Let me start off by saying that I was skeptical whether I should watch this movie because of all the comparisons here to US productions. Because while I did enjoy most of the ones named, not enough to want to see a basically South Korean copycat at the theater.
If you fear the same thing: Don't worry! This movie is exactly what you would expect from great Korean cinema, comparable to the likes of "The Chaser", "Memories of Murder" and "A Bittersweet Life". In this movie, there is lots of rather believable tragedy, little kitsch (there is the occasional unsuitable one-liner and the girl sometimes says things that in my opinion are too mature for her age and yank a little too much at the emotional chain - these are basically the things that brought my rating down to 9/10) and a fair amount of graphic violence and realism in the fighting scenes. There are also some wacky characters just like they appear somewhat frequently in east Asian productions but I think they fit in quite nicely despite the otherwise very serious tone.
If one were to compare it to a US production, I would go with e.g. "A History of Violence" because of the serious tone and the realism but still, the overall style is drastically different.
The whole experience is nicely rounded off with a very beautiful score and the only thing I considered negative besides what I already mentioned was that the plot is moving very fast. At various points I was not sure whether I didn't pay enough attention or whether details were left out. Meaning for instance how one character got the information about another character. These connections of information between characters are not always clear in my opinion but it does not really hurt the story and I am sure that it would be clear with a second viewing - something that this movie absolutely deserves.
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