- Great and Unique, but could've been better 8/29/2006 12:00:00 AM by johnkim1104
Like "The Brotherhood of War (Tae Guk Gi)" and "Silmido" this movie touches upon the most sensitive and emotional issue for Koreans while demonstrating an upgrade of the Korean film industry which has been exploding especially since "Swiri" was released in 1998.
Great actors and actress, great performance and the script, but one of the few shortcomings was some background music which was not perfectly consistent with the theme of the movie. For those who are not familiar with the North-South issues, this movie may be confusing to categorize just as an action movie or one with more in-depth interpretation of the political issues.
What viewers should notice though is that these days the South Korean filmmakers enjoy making controversial movies (such as those mentioned above), which reflects their cultural, artistic and political maturity; South Koreans or Americans are very often bad guys and North Koreans are often good guys or poor victims, left with no better choices. In other words, less and less stereotyping.
In the scene where Sin (Jang Dong-Kun) meets his elder sister for the first time in 20 years... I'm telling you, their performance was simply amazing, especially Lee Mi-Yeon's. I even felt sorry for those who don't understand Korean perfectly, having only to depend upon the English subtitles which in no way convey the full meaning and nuance of the totally different Asian language. Obviously they speak in the movie with a very strong (but, of course, perfect) North-Korean accent (this is very impressive too), that particular scene was too outstanding to categorize the entire movie into any single genre.
Depending on the DVD editions, in the last fighting scene between Sin and Kang where Sin says, "...the f***ed up thing is that we understand each other."(English subtitle) What it really means is their ironical situation that they speak the same language (Korean) even though they are enemies.
With better and more consistent background music (and some other improvements not really worth mentioning), I would've given it a 9. (This does not mean that the entire background music sucked. I'm only pointing out those in the car chase and fighting/shooting scenes)
- An action movie with amazing settings and a profound acting 7/17/2012 12:00:00 AM by kluseba
Here comes another solid movie from the country that currently produces the best films in the whole wide world which happens to be South Korea.
Don't worry about the critics. The economical, political and social component of a divided Korean peninsula is an issue in this movie and one should at least have a basic knowledge about this conflict to understand this movie. But this delicate topic doesn't dominate the movie and makes the whole thing too melodramatic. It's rather a positive elements as it adds some spicy ingredients to a promising melting pot and it adds some depth and development to many characters in this movie as you will see.
The movie still stays a tension filled action movie about a lonesome pirate that wants to attack the Korean peninsula with nuclear garbage. The acting of both the main villain and the main hero is authentic and unique to both of them. The supporting actors such as the main villain's sister also do a great job. The amazing thing about this movie is that the bad guy is more than just your average terrorist. There are many reasons why he has become the one he is and sometimes good and evil are not clearly distinguished. When it comes to the confrontation between the good and the bad guy, one realizes that they have a lot in common and could have been big friends in another situation. This is what makes this movie emotional, tragic and not too expectable at some points. Towards the end, the flick becomes a true tearjerker but I mean this in a positive way. The movie truly touched me because the stories behind the characters are really well thought out. They are dramatic, emotional and tragic.
The story is not complicated but still detailed enough to remain interesting and demand a certain kind of attention. The movie just has the right mixture of dialogues, narrative flashbacks and explosive action scenes. The settings are also amazing. The movie plays in several countries from Laos to Russia and exposes many beautiful landscapes and different cultures without being too educational.
The only two small flaws during this joy ride are a little bit confusing beginning as too many different characters are introduced at the same time and you need a lot of concentration to get out who's doing what. The second point is a too predictable ending that reminds a little bit too much of many Hollywood movies. I really felt that I have already seen similar stuff a couple of times before at that point. A final showdown on a ship during a storm including terroristic pirates and a courageous military special unit that refuses to obey any orders to save the world on their own is a thing that uses too many stereotypes. Nevertheless, this movie still remains quite underrated, should get more praise and I would definitely watch this again.
- An Average Korean Blockbuster 8/5/2006 12:00:00 AM by EricYJChoi
This new film by Kwak Kyung-Taek is dubbed a blockbuster, having used up the most expensive budget in Korean cinema history. The money does show up on screen and the locations are nice and exotic. But the movie is somewhat disappointing in other respects.
The first hour is very boring, one that had me restless. The music sounded like something from an expensive video game and many scenes dragged on far too long. After witnessing the most uninspired car chase I've seen in a while, I was ready to give up on this movie. However, Lee Mi-Yeon managed to save the film single handedly with an incredible performance. It's a shame she's on screen for such a short time but with her introduction, the film suddenly finds energy and was entertaining from then on. The film could have used some better characterization and more interaction between the two protagonists. It is mostly the flawed screenplay that is the blame here concerning our lack of emotional attachment to the main characters not the actors themselves; they both do a suitable job. More of Lee Mi-Yeon could have always helped as well. As it is, this movie delivers somewhat as entertainment but it could have been much better.
One scene that will remain in my mind from this film is when the two protagonists meet at the train station. This is one of the few times when the music complemented the scene and the result is truly cinematic. Only at this turning point does the movie find its mark but when it does, it's more than watchable.
- Ace movie! The best so far this year, after Sha Po Lang... 7/7/2006 12:00:00 AM by Chindah
If you like your typical American movie, with your typical over-the-top-ness & your typical unnecessary love scenes: go by the commentary above..
I have to agree in that is very much a Korean movie; the acting is solid, the lines make sense and the scenes aren't dragged out too long.
The movie in a nutshell: A boy bittered by the massacre of his family grows up into a modern day pirate, aiming to destruct 'the evil south'. Queue lots of killing, an amazing amount of Russians, your fair share of beautiful scenery and torn emotions as the two leads' understanding of each other grows.
- Comrade, have you ever eaten human flesh? 7/8/2007 12:00:00 AM by lastliberal
Dong-Kun Jang (Nowhere to Hide) is an angry man. If you have seen the documentary Seoul Train, you would know why. He tries to escape North Korea through China to get to South Korea, but is deceived by everyone. He sees his parents slaughtered, and is separated from his sister. The only thing on his mind is revenge against both North and South.
He manages to get some nuclear material and has a brilliant plan.
Director Kyung-Taek Kwak keeps the movie moving as Jung-Jae Lee is called upon to track down the angry man and retrieve the material. He finds his long-lost sister and uses he as bait.
There is more than an action film here. It takes that to place in the US, but there is Korean romance buried withing the film. Too bad there was not enough time for more.