Director:  Baek Woon-hak
Year: 2003
Rating: 5.0

Country: Korea

And I thought only Hollywood could make action films this stupid with more clichés hanging off of it than wet laundry at an 18th century washer woman's home. But Korea can too I see. It is sort of Speed meets Die Hard with a hard sprinkling of The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three. It has everything thrown into this but common sense. A runaway train, a power plant, a rickety bridge, terrorists, a bomb on board, corrupt politicians, Metro Central trying to clear the tracks and stop the train, breaks that fail, the wife of one of the Metro controllers on the train, a car full of orphans - and one man who can stop it. And a woman. Ok, the orphans were not on the train - someone missed that one. I am surprised the Korean police force did not sue - according to this they have no idea how to shoot straight. With hundreds of shots they can't take out one man about 30 feet away. There is so much dumb here - things I can't talk about without too many spoilers. I saw that this was the debut of the director Baek Woon-hak and he didn't direct again for 12 years. In bad director hell.

It has a ludicrous beginning that even after finishing the film I have no idea what was going on. A group of terrorists somehow manage to sneak into an airport with an arsenal of weapons and assassinate a VIP. Ok - sure - but then as they make their way out - as leisurely as a Sunday walk - they open the door and about one hundred cops are waiting for them - and they walk through them - then pull out their guns and start blasting - and the hundred cops can't hit one of them - not even a nick, a scratch, a bruise. The only cop who does shoot someone shows up in his civvies and kills one of them and then gets blamed by the cops for letting them all get away.

This is the hero of the film. A maverick cop who gets dressed down every day by his supervisor for going beyond the rules. You may have seen the type. In about a thousand films. He is Jay (Seok-hun Kim) who has a personal grudge against the terrorist who just shot up the airport - what that might be is never exactly clear but probably has something to do with his dead wife that he keeps flashing back to. He is of all things a Metro cop on the pickpocket unit - what he was doing at the airport - eh, who knows. Into this enters my reason for watching this to the very end. A female pickpocket who is very good and has a crush on Jay. This is Kay - played by Bae Doo-na, who I will watch in anything. Obviously. The Host, Sense8 and Linda Linda Linda are a few of her works. Ala Faye Wong in Chungking Express, she breaks into his apartment and sees a picture of the bad guy (Park Sang-min) and so when she sees him in the station she calls Jay who rides a motorcycle right to the train that the bad guy has boarded and jumps on the back. Nothing compared to what he does later. Kay is on the train too and there is trouble ahead.

On a level it is totally ridiculous, but after a while I just sort of went with it - he constantly gets beat up like a rag doll, gets shot, gets thrown off the train (and amazingly catches up with it by running through a maze of rooms and then jumps on it going about 100 mph) - but keeps on ticking like the bomb in the engineer's room.