Shiri (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Shiri (2002)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Billed as Full Metal Jacket meets Heat meets Nikita, Kang Je Gyu directs this wildly popular action-thriller about tensions between North and South Korea. The film opens with agents in North Korean spy school T19 engaged in an unbelievably difficult rigorous training regime. The school's fanatically committed leader, Park Mu Young (Choi Min Sik) singles out the beautiful and sinewy Lee Bang Hee (Kim Yun Jin), an ace student and a deadeye shot, for a top-secret mission. A couple of years later, South Korean intelligence agents are baffled by a spate of murders of scientists working on a top-secret defense project. Agents Yu Jong Won (Han Suk Kyu) and Lee Jang Gil (Song Kang Ho) suspect the North Korean Lee but cannot locate her. One day, Yu finally spots Lee Bang Hee icing an arms dealer with a sniper rifle. At the same time, North Korean spy Park Mu Young and his fellow commandos take out a military convoy and swipe a top-secret substance called CTX, an explosive that is completely undetectable. Park and Lee's plan slowly becomes horribly apparent: to blow up a North and South Korean friendship soccer game, launching a war that will bring South Korea under the North's hegemony. At the same time, South Korean intelligence is starting to suspect a mole in their midst and evidence seems to point to Yu's girlfriend. This film was screened at the 1999 Pusan Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovimore
Rating: R (for strong violence and some language)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Kang Je-Kyu
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 9, 2002
Box Office: $29.2k
Runtime:
IDP Distribution - Official Site

News & Interviews for Shiri

Critic Reviews for Shiri

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (14)

Features explosive effects and flashy action best viewed on a large screen.

Full Review… | June 14, 2002
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Compelling, kinetic, fast and furious.

March 21, 2002
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

It's a post-Cold War action yarn with a nose for Hong Kong-style melodrama, and a loopy cop drama with undeniable entertainment value.

Full Review… | March 14, 2002
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

There's a neat twist, subtly rendered, that could have wrapped things up at 80 minutes, but Kang tacks on three or four more endings.

Full Review… | February 16, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Suffers from all the excesses of the genre.

February 16, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

A huge box-office hit in Korea, Shiri is a must for genre fans.

Full Review… | February 8, 2002
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Shiri

Shiri. A fish that can be found in both North and South Korean fresh-water streams. A pretty appropriate title for this film. You'll understand if you watch it. Min-Sik Choi gives a nice monologue about it during the film as well.What we have here is Korean's take on a cop action film. Now I have seen many Hong Kong films of this type, but what this film has on all of those, excluding Johnnie To films, is a good story.The first half of this film plays out like a typical police film. It moves quite slowly, as to try and build up the characters, but it becomes a little boring at some points. Luckily, the second half of the film is much better. The action picks up and the story unfolds, leading to a pretty good ending. The fish concept for this film is also a unique touch.Another place where this film excels is in the acting department. All main characters, Suk-Yu Han, Min-sik, Choi, Yunjin Kim, and Kang-ho Song put on better than decent performances. It is really nice to see Min-sik Choi and Kang-ho Song on opposite sides of the law.There isn't a ton of action as you may be led to believe, not to mention the poster can be misleading, but there is enough of it. The shootouts are actually pretty good, especially the one that starts in the auditorium, but the shaky camera work takes away from them a bit. I know this is a technique used in these types of situations, but it isn't that successful here.This film is no Heat by any means, but it is still a more than adequate action-flick. Should you find the time to watch this film, I would say go ahead.

skactopus
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

½

Check the poster for this one. Koreawood has learned a lot from Hollywood. You will never see the shot from this poster in the movie. Not even close. Sadly. If only . . . . What do you think they're selling here? Good looking automatic pistols? Yeah, right. Seriously, though, Kim Yun-jin is a good looking woman. Hey! Two of my favorites in action, Song Kang-ho and Choi Min-sik, on opposing sides in the race to assassinate the heads of North and South Korea. Will this help to speed up reunification? Remains to be seen. This movie topped the all-time gross in Korea for Titanic and rocketed the Korean film industry onto the international stage, all for only about a 5 million dollar production cost. Pretty amazing. James Cameron, eat your heart out. As far as Korean films go, this is not bad as an action thriller, although I have to say that the plot is less than crispy. The opening training scenes of the North Korean soldiers, well, who knows. After everything I've heard about the RoK soldiers during the Vietnam War, I'm willing to believe their counterparts up north are pretty tough as well, and I can't say I needed to see them go through training to demonstrate that they have learned how to kick borat. This movie also doesn't seem to know how to end. C'est la vie. I like the fish motif here. The shiri/swiri, from what I understand, is an indigenous Korean fish, apparently quite ancient, that swims the clearest waters, perhaps subterranean, which run throughout the country, regardless of artificially imposed borders. It's not the strongest metaphor, but it's decent. I will say that I hope they used animatronic fish for the scenes where the tanks get blown out. I hope.

binky013
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

Hollywood action blockbuster, made in Korea. You will feel the strong influence of 90's Hollywood action flicks, just set in a Korean setting with Korean actors. You have your Hollywood staples; Doomsday bomb, rogue unit with questionable motives, countdown timer, troops with questionable aim. So, the question is, how does Shiri compare to the American blockbuster?

The answer is, quite well. The film takes a definite shift in tone at The Big Reveal (which I predicted quite early). Both halves of the film are quite entertaining, and the ending is poetic. I wish Park's motives had been a little better established, but I'm probably expecting too much from a Hollywood; sorry, Korean action flick. Nice action, good special effects, and a surprisingly solid story with some nice twists and turns. I like how the action is able to slow down at times to allow us more attachment to the main characters. Recommended viewing for action fans.

BlueTorch
Curt C

Super Reviewer

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