The Yellow Sea Reviews

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Top Critic
David Jenkins
Time Out
October 18, 2011
A listless succession of brutal, consequence-free stabbings encase a pair of lengthy chase set pieces, both technically adept, both utterly ridiculous.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Philip Kemp
Total Film
October 25, 2011
At nearly two and a half hours long, The Yellow Sea is overkill in every sense.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
November 29, 2011
The Yellow Sea is far less interested in character than in choreographing pursuit scenes spiced with Asia Extreme levels of violence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Thomas Caldwell
Cinema Autopsy
August 13, 2011
An exhilarating film with action that is breathtakingly kinetic and visceral.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Mark Stafford
Electric Sheep
October 19, 2011
I was never bored, it's fast and funny and edge-of-the-seat tense; it's just that I'd still like to see the end of the film it started off being.
Graham Young
Birmingham Post
December 14, 2011
Although the central story is compelling, even fans of this ultra-violent genre might find The Yellow Sea (the water between China and Korea) is too long and dark, especially given the way the leading characters wear black at night.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
William Goss
MSN Movies
March 21, 2013
...does boast its fair share of gripping moments.
Philip De Semlyen
Empire Magazine
October 18, 2011
A violent thrill-ride to a dark new corner of Asian cinema.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Anton Bitel
November 10, 2011
a gripping existentialist thriller, where jealousy, greed and desperation lead inexorably to a chaos of carnage, and where exile and death cross their borders to merge into an emotionally-charged sequence of final images.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
December 1, 2011
A rush of a movie from South Korea that slips and slides from horror to humor on rivers of blood and offers the haunting image of a man, primitive incarnate, beating other men with an enormous, gnawed-over meat bone.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Sean Axmaker
Parallax View
June 10, 2011
The overriding tone is bitter irony and brutal hypocrisy. There's no honor among thieves here.
Jeremy Heilman
July 14, 2011
An epic noir thriller that contains no small amount of excitement, it suggests that Na might well be the best action director currently working in Korea.
Full Review | Original Score: 62/100
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
November 29, 2011
Writer-director Na Hong-Jin achieves a vibe of urban desolation right off the bat, and deepens the mayhem with acutely observed and charged details about illegal-immigrant life.
Matt Singer
October 3, 2011
Frenzy is fine, but a little bit more clarity, at least narratively speaking, would have been nice.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Mark Olsen
Los Angeles Times
December 1, 2011
A breakneck mix of bone-crunching freneticism and bloody close-quarters knife-fighting with a strand of romantic melancholy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile
December 5, 2011
Probably the year's best crime drama and might be confirmation that there is a new master of the genre, spinning tough as teak tales, ready to emerge
Philip French
Observer [UK]
October 23, 2011
[A] highly efficient Korean thriller...
Peter Bradshaw
October 20, 2011
Perhaps The Yellow Sea does not really hang together, and, yes, it could perhaps have lost 30 minutes. But its power and bite-strength are impressive.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Derek Malcolm
This is London
October 21, 2011
The action is epic but there's psychological depth too.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5

Empire Magazine
October 21, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Neil Miller
Film School Rejects
September 28, 2011
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