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Genre: Drama Mystery Thriller Thematic Trilogy (South Korea)
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu
Overview: After a man is imprisoned for 15 years, he is let free, with only a few days to discover the reason of his capture.
The role is a good one. Our protagonist has to be played by a good actor since there's a lot of alone time there. The heavy scenes, especially the ones at the beginning and at the end are really well played. I know what the director was thinking, I think, and he pulled it off without doing the Kurosawa melodrama thing too much. The girl on the other hand, a little too standard fare 'weak' little girl, but that's a culture thing I guess.
The look was obviously something they concentrated on. Neat angles, good use of the 'Rule of Thirds' and that sort of thing. The sets were interesting enough, and the fight scenes were nice, dark and visually interesting. Good stuff.
The script, to me, held no great lines, or even anything dynamic. I think the plot could have been better delivered if the lines had been different. There was just something missing from this film to make it great for me, and it must be the way the story is told. I also wish there had been more of that terrific fighting. For a movie that was mostly mysteries unraveling, i guess it had to have better dialogue. Maybe it's the translation. I bet it is.
The plot starts off really, good, ends really well, and the trip itself is good too, but there were these wide open moments of mild boredom. It reminded me a little of the delivery of The Thin Red Line. It's this 4-year-in-the-making War Epic, but there was parts in the middle that just really didn't need to be there except as internal monologue. It's good, yes, but it could have gotten more points if it had been more focused.
There is something in this film that is unlike any other Kung Fu movie ever made. The fighting is realistic. Our hero gets hurt, his punches don't make crazy cracking sounds, he gets tired and pants, his knuckles are all bloody, and the people fighting him sometimes really look afraid. It's ultra-realistic. That gets high marks, but the hyper-stylized delivery of the plot and the way the characters interact, there was just a touch of believability left out for me.
Overall Rating: 72% (Original, But Slow At Times)
Sadly I expected much better. There's yet another remake of this movie coming out in 2006, and I'll probably see it, I think it might be Hollywood though. Still it had so much potential. I liked it, but I had set my hopes up too high.