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(Review originally written at 28 August 2007)

In its core this is a pretty original action-flick from South Korea but the way the movie is brought to the screen is little original. It uses too elements from other, well known, action movies and does everything in a too formulaic way. which causes this movie to also be little surprising.

Seems like Baek Woon-Hak watched a bit too many Hollywood action movies such as "Heat", "Die Hard", "True Lies", "Speed" and whatever more movie to which this movie shows just a bit too many similarities. Nothing wrong of course with anyone from Korea or anywhere else trying to imitate Hollywood action movies but when its not done in an original way and merely just copies sequences and moments from well known movies, you simply just failed at trying to create anything interesting or original. Especially since this movie is just not as refined as an Hollywood action flick. The style is there but just not the right handling of it all. No matter how good the movie looks, it all feels quite amateur like and childish too at the same time. This is also due to the simple musical score (the composer listened to a bit too many Hans Zimmer scores) and overdone camera-work. You know, it's the Michael Bay sort of cinematography.

The movie also features some awkward humor- and characters that are supposed to be humorous, that also feels mostly out of place and is not consistent with the style of the movie. Think you can say that it downgrades this movies and makes it even harder to take it really as a serious attempt.

It's action is also a reason why this movie is hard to take serious. It's just too much. The movie is almost non-stop action and all of the sequences feel rather overdone and unbelievable. It seems to be unnecessarily hard and straight-forward, which goes at the expense of its credibility. I mean, the bad guys can basically shoot anyone, even a small army of heavily armored tactical units, even when they are right in the middle of them, without having to take really cover or worry about their ammo. Yeah of course, action movies are just never the most credible movies but you can also go too far in some cases. It's like a 12 year old kid wrote the script and had put in every action fantasy he ever had.

Non of the actors also really impresses and it's no surprise non of them really works regularly as an actor, though admittedly its perhaps not fair to judge the abilities an actor who speaks a language you don't. The characters all remain very flat, especially disappointingly also the villains, who normally always are the most fun, interesting and perhaps also most important in an action type of movie.

Korean cinema has better movies to offer than this.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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