Bone-crunching action and spectacularly choreographed chase sequences that defy belief. Enough to fill 3 action films!
from Brighton, England
, 14 May 2012
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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Yanji is a place which exists somewhere near the border between North Korea, China and Russia, a mild-mannered cab driver Gu-nam (Ha Jung-Woo) is given an offer to clear his debts by traveling to Seoul to kill a businessman. Gu-nam is one of three central characters to this film. The second character is the man who has given Gu-nam this task, small-time racketeer Myun-Ga (Kim Yun-Seok). The third main character is Mr Kim (Seong-Ha Cho), an organised crime boss in Seoul who gets caught up in Gu-nams activities.
Whilst making preparations for the killing, Gu-nam also looks for his wife, who has left him. Gu-nam is clearly out of his depth, and things start to go from bad to worse to the completely incomprehensible! Theres double-crosses, triple-crosses, human trafficking, international gangland violence, bone-crunching action and spectacularly choreographed chase sequences that defy belief. Enough to fill 3 action films!
Typical of Korean films of this ilk, everything is raw, visceral, and bloody realistic. The kill-rate is off the chart, and most were caused by some epic knife-fighting. The killing sprees were relentless, none more so than by the brutal Myun-Ga who seemed to revel in dispelling more and more bloody mayhem. Myun-Ga was so watchable that you didnt want him to stop, much the same as Min-sik Chois Kyung-chul stole the show in the equally demented I Saw the Devil.
The Yellow Sea is by no means a perfect film, the last third of the film was let down by some dizzyingly poor camerawork. It could be half an hour shorter, the film only really gets going near the first hour mark. Witnessing Gu-nams transformation from a hapless taxi driver into a Houdini clone and one-man killing machine was probably a step too far.
For such a simplistic plot, director Na Hong-jin ekes out an incredible amount of drama. Though by the end the plot is thick with confusion, to be honest i actually didnt know whether I understood it all or not! But there is a lot to admire in the Yellow Sea, just park your brain and suspend all disbelief and enjoy the type of action that the Koreans have become masters at over the past decade.
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