Shiri Reviews

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skactopus
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
August 29, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2008
A great action thriller set in South Korean with Yunjin Kim of Lost. A great script with a few twists and a great ending.
½ September 14, 2008
This was a pretty slick Korean action flick, though I will admit that I don't remember much about it. I had a few beers in me...which is probably the appropriate state of mind for watching this movie.
April 22, 2008
This Korean spy thriller centers on an assassin from North Korea (Kim Yoon-jin from Lost) and a team of special forces (the leader is Choi Min-sik from Oldboy) that hijacks an shipment of a new type of explosive. Two members of the South Korean counter-terrorism unit (one of whom is played by Song Kang-ho, who has been in JSA, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance, and The Host) must track them down before they blow up Seoul. There is a good mix of drama and action here. One of the South Korean agents is engaged, but she doesn't know what he does for a living. The other is obsessed with finding Hee, the assassin. There are some nice running gun fights with handheld camera work that emphasized the chaos. I really would have liked to see at least one decent car chase, though. Well acted all around and the direction by Kang Je-gyu (Tae Guk Gi), who also wrote the script, was very solid. There is one very sudden twist at the end that really makes you take notice and that really makes the film more than your standard actioner.
½ March 20, 2007
A decent political drama with a romantic side. Believe me when I say this is one bloody film. The director goes for sheer shock value in the opening scene with lots of bloodshed, violence and dismantled body parts. However, this doesn't lend anything to the rest of the story. And what about this so-called super female assassin? She's only vaguely introduced and her character remains underdeveloped, which is a shame. The rest of the film plays out like it should with the good cops chasing the bad guys but always being a step behind and then following up with a "twist" that can be seen miles away.
½ July 10, 2007
Maybe I need to see it again, watched it years ago, but the action scenes in this were so bad and some of the scenes just bugged the hell out of me. But hell, it gets some praise from some people. >_>
May 23, 2006
It's fine, but nothing amazing. An enjoyable action flick with some fairly predictable plot twists.
½ April 28, 2006
The movie that started the whole Korean wave isn't that great. It's a solid action thriller, that's all.
½ September 10, 2013
This is Korea's answer to Tom Clancy and they did it pretty well. Fueled by john woo style action and a backdrop of national pride for the drama, it is Korea's mark in cinema. Though I'd like to see more action from the top assassin Hee instead of her gullible love affair. Her character reminds me a lot Crying Freeman which is fascinating. It could have been better also if they took away the love story and focused on the north and southern conflict.
½ April 3, 2011
Unfortunately banal action movie, especially when compared to South Korea's more recent thrillers. The surprising, though not quite redeeming, quality to this film is the romantic drama presented. It's unfortunate that the director was trying to make an action movie, because the romance was much better developed than the wild plot with it's obvious twist. It didn't help that all the investigation dialogues were flat presentation of the facts. Ultimately, I think this movie was just to tied to the other action movies of this time and genre
½ May 10, 2010
Impressive film, phenomenal body count, loads of action, blood and gore, no nudity, few plot-holes and some interesting twists to the storyline so keep watching for those seemingly incidental bits. Very enjoyable fair with Choi Min Sik of "Oldboy" fame playing his role as only he can. Good for when you have some friends around on a wet evening. 7/10
½ March 26, 2010
compared to most Korean movies, its not that great, but its got such good action and a decent story, and, despite extremely straightforward dialogue to reveal more about a character, its got fantastic performances. also, not that budget should ever affect a movie's decency, the fact that this film was reasonably cheap to make is amazing (and its way more effective than any $200 million film that Michael Bay could ever make).
½ March 13, 2010
Fascinating storyline!
September 6, 2008
This was a pretty good movie at first it was all about breaking down this female solider and becoming a secret assassin but what you don't know is that she's the girlfriend of the main character's friend later on in the movie. I really liked the kisingiri fish philosophy. These two fishes mate forever and if one were to be separated the fish would die of love sick. The action is good, kinda slow at times but ultimately I loved it.
July 9, 2005
It was very exciting and action packed. It was very sad at the end to. I thought it was rather intelligent. Ive never been to Korea so i dont know if there are unification extremists like that but it was pretty exciting.
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