Armed with a licence to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007 and must defeat a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, but things are not what they seem.
North Korea's 8th Special Forces hijacks a shipment of CTX, a potent new liquid explosive, and threatens South Korea as part of a plot to re-unify the two countries. Ryu and Lee, special agents of O.P.--South Korea's secret intelligence service--attempt to track down the terrorists and find the CTX. Meanwhile Hee, the 8th's ultra-bad female sniper, resurfaces to wreak havoc and haunt Ryu. Written by
German film fans were astonished when this film passed the ratings board FSK (known for its extensive dislike of excessive violence) uncut with a "Not under 16" rating. It was expected that the film would not get a rating at all and had to go for a JK approval from SPIO (Head organization of German film business). See more »
The CTX convoy is shown driving to the right, including throughout the tunnel just before the ambush, but then it suddenly switches to the left side of the stripe when stopping at the checkpoint. See more »
(Yeah I know the song is "You Really Got Me" but I couldn't think of a witty title)
The posters and DVD cover are deceptive. Contrary to the image of a hot chick in a sexy slit dress holding a gun, this is not a sexy femspy flick. In fact you never get a good look at the female assassin until the very end; the story is completely from the point-of- view of two investigative agents trying to catch her, with very little info.
So you'd think this is a whodunnit mystery, right? Not really that either. What you get is sortofa action love story with some nice political themes. When I say it's a love story, it's not just a standard boy-meets-girl thing, but it's actually an interesting triangle which is 1 part romance (a detective and a fish store girl) and 1 part "bromance" (detective and his buddy).
All of this is set against the backdrop of a terrorist plot to blow up things & kill people, and that itself is set against the backdrop of political unrest between North & South Korea. There's a lot going on, and the 2 hr movie flies by without a boring moment. In fact it could've easily been an epic miniseries with all its interesting subplots, themes & messages.
As an uninformed American, I thought it was a pretty good flick. But I feel like in order to get the full power, you'd need to be more familiar with the whole division between N & S Korea, why it happened, and how culturally & economically different the two countries are. Sorta like a non-American would have to learn up on the US Civil War before truly appreciating "Gone with the Wind". But in "Shiri" they do a pretty decent job of covering the backstory so I'm not complaining.
The title "Shiri" is not the name of the assassin, as you might imagine, but actually it's the name of a type of fish that supposedly spawns in a different stream before returning to its "homeland". Throughout the movie we get similar metaphors aimed at the reunification of Korea, and indeed the whole plot centers around that idea.
So with that in mind, the movie takes an interesting viewpoint showing both sides of the story (good guys & bad guys), and although the audience's sympathy is mostly with the "good guys", the point is that the 2 sides are not so different as you'd think.
Symbolism, in particular fish symbolism, is very prominent. In between action scenes, there's a lot to think about. And of course I imagine the original Korean language version packs even more meaning. The subtitles seem a little inadequate sometimes.
Like all Korean movies I've seen, this is really violent. But it's actually one of the tamer ones, with most of the violence being gunfire, no gross-out torture scenes or anything. Although we do see someone's head explode in lovely splattervision. Haha, that one was totally unnecessary too... but really awesome just the same!
There's not much comedy in this film. It pretty much sticks to the point with minimal diversions.
"Shiri" is a well-justified use of your time. Imagine "Die Hard" (action) with a dash of "In the Line of Fire" (detective thriller) combined with "Black Sunday" (political intrigue) and a dash of romance & bromance, there you have it.
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