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Yesterday (2002)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Sci-Fi  |  13 June 2002 (South Korea)
5.0
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 658 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 18 critic

1990. A number of children suddenly disappear. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense selects an elite group of scientists for a top-secret mission. Then, 30 years later ... The year is 2020 on... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Seung-woo Kim ...
Suk
...
Hisu (as Yoon-jin Kim)
Min-su Choi ...
Goliath
Seon-a Kim ...
May
So-yeong Jeong ...
Joe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leraldo Anzaldua ...
SI Beard 1 (voice)
...
May (voice) (as Christine Auten)
Greg Ayres ...
Ah-zhou / Walla (voice)
Rick Burford ...
Chief / Psychopath (voice)
...
Hisu (voice)
Victor Carsrud ...
Walla (voice)
Luci Christian ...
Dispatch (voice)
...
Insu Aide (voice)
...
Goliath (voice)
...
Ahm / SI Beard 2 / Home Phone Man / Sniped Goliath Subordinate (voice)
Edit

Storyline

1990. A number of children suddenly disappear. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense selects an elite group of scientists for a top-secret mission. Then, 30 years later ... The year is 2020 on a reunified Korean Peninsula. A string of murders is committed against retired scientists. The Special Investigations (SI) unit staffed by a crack team from the former North and South Koreas and outfitted with the latest technology is brought in to investigate. The killer, however, far from being deterred, taunts them with a signature pendant at every murder scene. In an act of devilish boldness he even kidnaps the son of the investigation team's leader, Seok. Then, in a stakeout, Seok manages to shoot dead one of the murderer's underlings. Cloaked in the man's clothes, however, is Seok's son, now dead by the hand of his father ... Meanwhile, in the megapolis Intercity, the chief of police is kidnapped right in front of his heavy security detail and the culprit leaves another pendant at the scene. ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Crime | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

13 June 2002 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Eilinen  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

Lost me quickly, and I could never really get back into it

If you fully understand the complexities of the plot of `Yesterday,' a new Korean sci-fi action movie, you deserve some sort of medal.

I'll try my best, though. There is a serial killer on the loose killing scientists. This leads to an investigation led by Seok (Seung-woo Kim), who accidentally shoots his kidnapped son, who was trying to escape the clutches of the killer. Later, the chief of police is kidnapped, and her daughter joins in the investigation. She is well trained and ambitious, like Clarice Starling without the emotion.

That is only the film's set up. Later (or earlier. or somewhere along the line) we are introduced to the concept of cloning, and the rights of the clones. This concept, as well as the visual appearance of the futuristic city that the film takes place in, is inspired, to say the least, by `Blade Runner,' which had androids instead of clones.

The film is directed by Yun-Su Jeon, a man with a good eye for visuals; the film looks fine. The problem with the film, it seems, is it tries to do to much; there is a lot of action, shooting and explosions, sometimes during battles where I was not even entirely sure who was fighting whom, and why they were bothering, and there is also a look at cloning in the future, as well as a sort of study into the personalities of the main characters. While I admire films that mix intelligence and ideas with action (`Minority Report,' the best film of last year, is a fine example), I think I need to have some time to breathe, and I also need to be able to know exactly what is going on. Keeping up with the plot is even more exhausting than keeping up with the action.

`Yesterday' is set mainly in 2020, in a unified Korea. It begins though, in 1990, where the scientists who are later to be killed off are picked for a special project, and some children disappear. The film starts off with a fight scene that made me think of the madness of `Black Hawk Down.' The confusion was part of the point of `Black Hawk Down,' here it is a distraction that takes much of the thrill (and all of the suspense) from the action scenes.

`Yesterday' requires a lot of attention and thought to follow the story, but it isn't really worth it. Yun Su-Jeon, I'm sure, has good films in him; what he needs to do now is find a story that he can explore more fully, without losing the audience. The film has split audiences in Korea. I do not hate it, but I did not particularly enjoy the experience of watching it; I ended up admiring aspects of it rather than enjoying it. I was looking at it rather than watching it.

While I think there could be a perfectly good character study about clones set in the future, or a perfectly good action films set in a world with clones and complex characters, the film tries to be both, never quite choosing what its main ambition is. Is it just trying to tell a story in its own way? Maybe, and maybe you'll enjoy its story, if you can keep up. I tried my best to, but didn't find the experience particularly rewarding.

** (out of 5)


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