Saturday, January 24, 2009

추격자 (The Chaser)

Hands down the best action film I saw in 2008.

Eom Joong-ho is a former police officer turned pimp and his girls are disappearing. With the help of his slacker friend and employee Oh-jot, Joong-ho must match wits with a viscous killer and a corrupt and ineffective police force to find his missing girls. To say any more would give away too much of the films many plot twists.

The violence and gore of this film is visceral and raw; disturbingly realistic with a matching plot that is far more hardboiled than the self-proclaimed Oldboy. This is by no means a film for the squeamish. Regardless, instead of resorting to petty scare tactics, these scenes are masterfully directed to produce genuine tension that results in brilliant pacing. While the characters and plot are familiar enough for the genre: bad cop vs. worse villain, I never got the impression the film was lacking in originality. In fact the level of detail in the story and characters left me with a sense of fulfillment I find missing so many Hollywood action films that try to fill those gaps with shootouts, car chases and explosions. By the end of the movie I had come to understand and care for each and every one of the characters. Highly recommended.