Director: Park Kwang-hyun
This is a wild, hyperkinetic and improbable ride.
It is The Fugitive combined with Mission Impossible if Richard Kimble had
been brutalized and raped in prison and then tracks down the person who framed
him with the help of a female cyber genius. And the person who framed him
is an evil nefarious bastard who could be a villain in a super-hero movie.
It never slows down and gets more and more absurd and ridiculous as it goes
along but you just have to tell yourself - sure why not - sure he is suddenly
a whiz driving a car - sure he can beat up a group of gangsters - sure he
can escape prison after a car has rolled over ten times - sure he can set
up this intricate outlandish plan in about the time it takes me to get to
my kitchen from my living room. Why not? This is a lot of fun once the prison
segment is over with - but suspend all your belief in reality before entering.
It begins with a huge action scene in which a group of military specialists
drop from an airplane and take on a horde of killers - displaying John Woo
theatrics to mow them down. And then the hero gets killed. Game over. Oh
wait, it is just a video game. And if you think about it, much of the film
plays out like one as well. Kwon (Ji Chang-Wook) is part of a group of gamers
who take it all very seriously and whose identities are kept behind the keyboard.
He is kind of a young slacker with no ambitions who once was on the National
Taekwondo team but gave it up - this will come in handy. He answers a phone
that has been left behind in the video game hall and is promised $300 if
he brings it to an apartment - he does so, collects the money but sees no
one and leaves. And then all shit breaks loose - and falls down on him -
he is arrested by the cops at home with a ton of evidence on him for raping
and killing a young girl. After this film and Miss Conspirator I think it
best if you don't go to the apartments of strangers. In prison the guards
beat him and the head convict (Kim Sang-ho) takes a disliking to him
and enter the two rapists (implied but not seen). It isn't pleasant. But
this sets up the next stage. Revenge.
He breaks out and meets up with one of his game players - Mr. Hairy - who
turns out to be this young cute girl (Shim Eun-kyung) who turns out to be
a master hacker who prefers talking to people on the phone even if they are
next to her and who turns out to be a master perv pretender when needed.
An all-around girl. The other nerd gamers all join up with their special
technical skills and go after the bad guys. It turns out to be much bigger
than just a single frame - it is an organization of killers, cleaners and
more. And run by another computer genius who sees and knows almost everything
that is on the grid. So you have these two computer geeks trying to outsmart
each other. It just goes kooky and the final 40 minutes is an adrenaline
rush of car chases, beatings, action and more car chases. At the end you
have to ask yourself a question - was the part after the video game, also
a video game? And does it really matter? It is slick, stylish and paper thin
but it holds your attention till the end.
I was amazed to find out after I finished watching it that this was directed
by Park Kwang-hyun, whose film before this one was Welcome to Dongmakgol
twelve years previously in 2005. It was a huge box office hit and a wonderful
magical film - but as different from this as one can imagine.