A chance meet by two men, both with mutant abilities, will kick start a game of deadly cat and mouse that will leave an escalating body count in their wake. A wake that may take one or both of them with it.
This is director Min-suk Kim’s feature film debut. Previous to this he’s known as the writer of 2008’s The Good, The Bad, The Weird. Fans of that first film should expect a similar quality, albeit on a smaller scale.
Some have described this film’s storyline as a Korean “Unbreakable”. I think that’s a pretty apt comparison, though maybe a tad over-simplified. The similarity being that this is essentially an original superhero story. The comparison ends there, however.
I like how the plot grows out of a really simple premise. An old pawn broker hires a young man to help watch out for the thief that’s been stealing his money. This sets things up for our two principle characters to meet. It turns out our thief is a psychokinetic and can influence the minds of others, among other things. His powers have limited influence over our newhire, however, and this really throws our already psychotic robber over the edge. Our do-gooder newhire has an unusual special ability of his own which I’ll leave it to you to speculate on as it’s never quite clear. Oh, and the ending doesn’t help make it any clear.
From the moment our principles meet, the film turns action thriller with escalating stakes for our hero and heaps of frustration for our up till now, unstoppable mind robber. It’s a fun ride with a few surprises for audiences used to the cookie cutter action fare of the west. The pyrotechnics are well choreographed and executed. Varying from foot chases, hand to hand beat’em ups, and an entertaining car chase towards the end.
There are some complaints, however. While the writing is passable and the action enough of a distraction to keep you watching. The character development leaves a bit to be desired. Especially the supporting characters of which there are quite a few. They all do the best they can with what little they’ve been given, but you find yourself not caring when some of them get into harms way. Watching the film, I couldn’t help to wonder if maybe the writer was trying to overtly comment on the nature of being different. Each of the characters is a fish out of water of sorts. Not really fitting in or being comfortable with their current place in the world. You get the sense for the writers intentions, but ultimately it doesn’t play out as well as they probably hoped.
In the end, it might have been better for some of the characters to have been dropped out of the story completely. As it was, there are too many characters to cover in a feature length and they all end up getting short thrift.
Action gets an A
Character Development gets a C
Story gets a B-
Overall score is a B