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Steve R
10-29-2010, 11:31 AM
The Chaser
Korean (just released on R-1 DVD)

This is simply an excellent film and not to be missed. The director Hong-jin Na shows a real deft grasp of the medium, carefully mixing suspense, investigative narrative, the politics of the true events this was based on and a very compelling character arc as a former cop turned pimp tries to save one of his girls before it is too late. He punctuates all of this with some riveting foot chases along the streets of Seoul. They run through the garish neon candy colored shopping district, the crowded old world market stalls and into the narrow streets of the city where only one car can pass at a time.

The police are always jammed tightly together whether inside or outside. They are always yelling, smoking and in a continual state of chaos.

What is fascinating is that the main thrust of the investigation is carried out by Yun Seok Kim as the pimp. He uses his old detecting skills combined with a criminal's no holds bared tactics. We learn he was thrown off the police task force for corruption of some kind. His favorite way to get someone to talk is to kick them - not a fighting kick but a petulant kick that shows his frustration. He looks like he is having a temper tantrum. The look of this film is really something to see too. Sure the rain drenched night time streets are great. However it is rare to see a modern filmmaker use sunlight so well in his lighting.

This is a very bloody film and yes there are hammers. No shakey came though the combat always appears out of control and frightening.

I was really taken by how well the film moves along. There is a gripping urgency that carries you from one scene to the next. Yun Seok Kim as the cop tuned pimp is outstanding as the anit-hero. He is captivating in a Robert Mitchum kind of way, very down to earth cool yet sloppy.

This is highly recommended. I put it here as it easily transcends Asian and Action classification becoming a drama worthy of anyone's attention.

This joins a list of recent Korean films that are simply outstanding. JSA Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Memories of Murder,Old Boy,Tea Guk Gi (the Brotherhood), Musa (the Warrior). The Host.

Randy Thomas G
10-30-2010, 04:09 AM
This is a pretty great film, the twists are REAL twists, you never know where it's going. Until it reaches a scene that you so don't want to happen but are helpless to prevent. Amazing flick.

BTW I would add MOTHER to your list of great modern Korean films. If you haven't seen it yet, do so ASAP, you won't regret it.

Matt Bauer
10-30-2010, 04:25 AM
Without a doubt among the best South Korean films in the last few years. They've really come back to their crime/mystery prominence over the past couple of years after a stretch of nothing very good. I'm really happy to see more and more people checking this out, been championing it to anyone that would listen since a few months after its initial release.