Mary Poppins Returns
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South Korea is the land of 1000 revenge films. It takes something incredibly special like Bedevilled, The Yellow Sea, or I Saw the Devil, all masterfully made films, to truly impress me when it comes to South Korean revenge films. As implied by the rating, this isn't close to being among that list. I'm not a religious man, but I find the story of Young-soo searching for revenge against the man that has held his daughter hostage for almost a decade while still being pastor far more compelling than what we actually got. When the film begins you see Young giving a sermon to his churchgoers about forgiveness for your enemies and what not. He finishes his speech, steps away from the podium, takes away his robe, and heads outside where he says: 'the hell with this shit.' And that's it, he's a pastor for 5 minutes. It doesn't play any real significant part in the story. It is a turning point for the character and the disappoint me he feels as god, in his eyes, has failed him. But, again, it doesn't really play a part in everything that happens after he renounces his religion. Some people bring it up, but it only serves to remind you that they wasted a perfectly good chance to tell a compelling story about a man that's between a rock and a hard place. He's torn between his religion and his desire to get his daughter back AND get revenge on the villain. It wouldn't have been something unique to this film, but I think it would've made for a vastly superior movie. What transpires after the first 5 minutes of the film is fairly standard revenge and unimpressive. I never thought the film was bad, but it just didn't offer anything worth highlighting. The motivations of the villain are a little goofy to say the least and why he'd choose to keep one of the girls alive. Basically, he was doing it so he could buy this very expensive amplifier from this old man. Yes, you read that right. This guy is risking life in prison, maybe even the death penalty, if S. Korea DOES have it, for a fucking amplifier. It was completely absurd beyond belief. If that's the motivation you give him then don't even bother at all. It would be preferable to have him say that he's doing it just because he likes to tear families apart. Maybe you can even tie it to the whole religion thing by having an atheist villain and this was his way of destroying Young's illusion that god exists. And this idea coming from someone who is an atheist. Even that would've been preferable to what we got. Then again, it's all a matter of execution. You could have the movie I just described and it might still get the exact rating. It's just a matter of getting the right pieces to fit the puzzle. And I didn't think the film was even that bad, it's just running through the motions and telling stories that have been told elsewhere. The acting is decent, nothing to write home about. Surprised about the lack of melodrama, but that's always a positive. Perhaps if I hadn't been so spoiled by S. Korea's topnotch revenge thrillers like: the Trilogy of Vengeance, The Chaser, Bedevilled, I Saw the Devil, among others, then I wouldn't been bothered so much by it. And I certainly wouldn't have over-analyzed it. But I HAVE been spoiled and it, unfortunately, and perhaps unfairly, affected my opinion of this film. There's an infinite number of ways this film could've been worse, so I'm at least thankful that it was as average as it ended up being.
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