2013, Mystery and thriller, 2h 17m0 Reviews 250+ Ratings
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Sep 23, 2014Pretty solid popcorn film that rises above its convoluted plot to deliver some good action sequences. What I did like about the plot, however, was how it avoided the prototypical 'North Korea wants to destroy South Korea through the use of chemical weaponry' bullshit. They certainly guide you down that path, as a red herring, before they reveal that it's actually a formula for buckwheat as North Korea is going through a period of famine and this deal will help them get out of it. How, exactly, does that play into the film we see, I do not know. I'm pretty sure the explanation is there but it's done so in such a poor manner that even the smartest person will have a hard time piecing this story together. Not that it matters really, because this film is all about the fast-pace and its action sequences. Quick cuts means that the film moves at an incredibly brisk pace in spite of the fact of how long the film actually is. I don't see any reason it should've been as long as it is, since it's not like any of the characters have any interesting backgrounds, but it certainly moved fast that you wouldn't notice its length, for the most part. As mentioned, the characters are poorly developed. The main character is a little uninteresting. His wife and daughter have been murdered, later finding out that his daughter is alive and has been sold to someone in Hong Kong, so that, in turn, makes him into a quiet, stoic, emotionless man who's solely focused on fulfilling his revenge. Basically, he's a walking cliche. Gong Yoo, the lead, is a good enough actor so you could say he makes this work. He emotes when he needs to and doesn't rely on melodramatics to get his point across. I think the people who wrote this movie made the story purposely convoluted to give off the appearance of it actually being a complex story with varying motivations and nuances. I think there's some of that with the defectors, practically, being held hostage by Kim into doing whatever he wants or else he'll kill their families, but it doesn't always work. At least there's some moral ambiguity involved. But, by and large, the film should've really had a simpler and easier to follow story. But it's a spy film, so you get what you get. I've given up on spy films, outside of the James Bond and Bourne series, ever making sense. With that said, this film's brisk pace and exciting action sequences certainly make this film a solid film. You definitely won't be given enough time to be bored and, in some ways, that's the best compliment you can give a film. You might not enjoying this film, but I doubt you'd be bored. Good Netflix watch right here.Jesse O Super Reviewer
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