The Chaser Review – The Chaser is a South Korean psycho thriller released in 2008. Eom Joong-Ho is a corrupt ex detective turned pimp. He is worried as two of his women have gone missing. He thinks someone is selling them and tries to track him down as he send one of his women Mi-jin to the customer who was the last to see the other two missing women.
The Chaser is yet another brilliant psycho thriller that is engaging throughout. Director Na Hong-jin has narrated a story that has a strong take on the corrupt politics in South Korea. The scene in which the Mayor comes out of the hospital and complaints why there is no press and then run away seeing an injured men walking towards the hospital is very cleverly done. The characterization is done very well, as per the theme of the story every character in the movie has their negative shade. Kim Yoon-seok has performed very well in the role of a corrupt ex-detective and a money minded pimp. The sound engineering for the movie is very well done. Not using background score but the use natural sounds from the surrounding is very effective in keeping the thriller on. Overall if you have enjoyed movies like Old Boy and I Saw the Devil you would like this one too.
I Saw The Devil – is a South Korean psychological thriller released in 2010. A psycho serial killer Kyung-chul kills the fiancé of a secret service agent Soo-hyun. Soo-hyun takes a painful revenge on Kyung-chul by injuring him and then let him get treated to get well and then again injuring him.
The film is strictly for those who can with stand gory movies and is not suitable for kids. The movie is shot boldly with very explicit violent scenes. Director Kim Jee-Woon has given a different genre of movie after his star studded The Good The Bad The Weird. Choi Min-sik has performed the role of a psycho killer very well and is very scary. Lee Byung-hun is very convincing as a secret agent out to take revenge. The scene where he sees the body of his fiancé and tries to control his emotion is a notable performance. He has maintained the mood throughout as he is on the run to chase the killer. He is good at playing negative shade character and as this character has the negative shade it had aptly fitted him very well.
The recent Bollywood movie Ek Villain is very similar to this plot. Although the makers have denied that it was adapted from this. There are lot similarities between the two although the Bollywood version is a mellowed down version of this movie. The Bollywood version goes into giving a reason for the serial killing which is not there in this movie.
Watchable – for psychological thriller fans
The Good The Bad The Weird – is a South Korean western style cowboy adventure drama released in 2008. A bounty hunter, a bandit and a thief are after a treasure map in the 1930s Manchuria.
The foremost thing that strikes you in the movie is the ensemble of popular star cast. Director Kim Jee-woon has given a star-studded movie which in every way keeps the audience glued onto their seats throughout. Song Kang-ho in the role of the Weird is outstanding in his performance. Lee Byung-hun and Jung Woo-sung have also done their roles very well. Although the movie is adapted from many western cow boy movies it still has many elements of a Korean movie which makes it unique in its own way. There are two high points in the movie the initial train robbery sequence, what an ecstatic experience it would have been to see the stars in action on a big screen. The other one is the 15 minute long chase and fight sequence on the desert of Manchuria. The stunt choreography is absolutely stunning. The movie does have a very interesting climax. If you are fan of adventure drama this one is a must watch.
The Man from Nowhere – is a South Korean action thriller released in 2010. A pawnshop owner whose past whereabouts are unknown befriends and develops a bond with a little girl in the neighborhood. When she is kidnapped he would have to use his skills from the past and go the lengths to save her.
The movie is very thrilling and engaging right from the first scene. Although the plot is similar to Taken, the story has much more darker shade and some brutal action scenes. The narration is crisp and stays to the point and does not wander much. Won Bin’s performance is very commendable and is the strength of the movie. His hair style for the major part of the movie is mysterious covering half of his face. Director Lee Jeong-beom has cleverly used the police investigation angle to reveal his past rather than using clichéd sequence of him justifying his past. As his past is revealed you see his hair cut off and see his full face. It’s a simple but clever use of metaphor for the mystery surrounding him.
A Bollywood movie in the making based on this story is slated to be released in 2015. If you are fan of movies like Man on Fire, Taken, Old Boy then this is a must watch for you.
Memories of Murder – is a South Korean crime thriller released in 2003. The movie is based on true incidents of serial killing that occurred between 1986 and 1991 in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province in South Korea. In a small city, a woman is raped and murdered. Soon the detectives realize it is just one of the many serial killings that occur. A local detective and a detective from Seoul with conflicting personalities have to team up to track down the killer and stop future murders.
This movie is directed by Bong Joon-ho prior to The Host. If you are fan of crime thrillers and serial killings this would be a must watch for you. The story is so intriguing and plots open up with even more complicated knot as the movie progresses. You might have seen similar plots in many movies in the recent times (I will leave that for your guessing :)) . But still this one is class apart from all those I have seen. As you see in The Host even in this movie there are some strong social takes. Weaving the current state of affairs into a script is brilliance of Bong Joon-ho. The lead actors Song Kang-ho and Kim Sang-kyung have given very engaging performances and the transfer in their personalities as the movie progresses is brilliant.
Overall this movie is one of the best movies made on serial killing. This one is a must watch for all movie buffs.
The Host – is a South Korean science fiction and thriller released in 2006. As a side effect to the release of toxic waste into the Hans River an unknown mutated giant creature originates and starts attacking people. An affected family stands against all odds to fight the creature.
I was not very fascinated by the plot of a creature coming out of a river but still wanted to watch this because of the rave reviews it has got. I ended up liking this movie! For the firsts, it is not another Godzilla type movie. This has a very strong political statement against the US military dumping toxic wastes into the river. The movie has it scary, satirically funny and emotional moments. Apart from the socio-political statement what stand out in the movie are the way the screenplay has been written and the characterization of the people in the family. Everyone character is carefully thought and is a representation of various people in Korean society. There is a scene where in the father describes why his first son is so dumb and blames himself for the upbringing of his son. You would see many such instances which have been crafted in a satirical fashion. The lead characters Song Kang-ho and the girl Go Ah-sung playing his daughter has performed very well. Director Bong Joon-ho should be credited for taking up such a subject and telling a compelling story!
If you do not watch this movie superfluously but pay attention to the details of the scene and the plot you would enjoy it. This one is yet another master piece of South Korean Cinema.
Old Boy – is a South Korean suspense thriller movie released in 2003. A man named Oh Dae-su is abducted and imprisoned in a dark room for 15 years. In the meantime he learns his wife is murdered, he is the prime suspect for the murder and his daughter is adopted by a Swedish family. After 15 years he is released on the roof top of a tall building. He is out to find the reason why he has been tortured to this extent and vows to take revenge on his abductor.
The movie is known for its unique plot. It is strictly for mature audience for its content and it is gross in parts. The tone has been set like that to give the impact of the torturous life the lead character has gone through. As the movie progresses Oh Dae-su discovers the identity of the kidnapper and the story unfolds. The screenplay is done brilliantly and the climax would leave you dumb stuck. It is a movie that has the potential of keeping you disturbed and at the same time give a feeling of having watched a brilliant movie. The plot of keeping a man abducted in an unknown room for unknown reason has been used in various movies which had released later including the recent Tamil movie Ivan Vera Mathiri. Overall this is a must watch if you have open mindedness and have a strong heart.
Must Watch – not for the weak hearted