This is a touching action epic about an all-out war between a subway terrorist who holds a city hostage and the detective who risks his life to save everyone. It's the heart-wrenching story... See full summary »
This is a touching action epic about an all-out war between a subway terrorist who holds a city hostage and the detective who risks his life to save everyone. It's the heart-wrenching story of love and sacrifice that grows in a desperate situation, and the humanity of people trying to save others in the face of extreme danger at breath-taking speeds and on a huge scale. Written by
When reading this review, please bear in mind that I did not see it all in one sitting. On my first viewing, the DVD I rented stopped half way through so I had to take it back and get another copy, so ended up watching it over the course of two days. My perspective of the movie can best be summarised as a skewed piece of entertainment but whether this was down to bad plotting or a poor DVD transfer isn't totally clear.
Anyway, with regards the movie itself, it's a perfectly competent action film very much in the style of Under Siege Two. At first I thought that setting this sort of movie in the rather cramped confines of a city underground line would be restrictive but they do manage to pull it off to some extent. There are plenty of big set piece action scenes packed with flair and panache, the problem is they are too similar.
For a start, every single one seems to be repeated a second time later in the movie. There is not one, but two wildly over the top SWAT team massacres wherein a small group of heavily armed criminals seem capable of just waltzing into a hail of bullets without taking a scratch. It's entertaining yes, but it does leave you wondering just how incompetent Korean SWAT teams must be...Plus, there are numerous one on one martial arts struggles between the two leads, Jay the Cop and T the terrorist (they really put a lot of thought into the names here) and the finale to their climactic scrap is to be brutally honest, rather disappointing.
However, it's not all bad. The action scenes may be repetitive and silly, but they do make for entertaining viewing. Plus, some of the characters are quite touching, the subplot of one of the line operators who's wife is trapped on the tube is handled extremely well and the relationship between Jay and a girl called Kay (see what I mean about the names?) is a bit ridiculous, but still touching. Then there's Jay himself (I can't remember the actor's name), a young Korean man who demonstrates plenty of action hero potential, equally adept with fists and guns and with his brooding over his dead wife, has more depth than the average Stephen Seagal role. He dominates every scene he's in and is reminiscent of a young Chow Yun Fat before Hollywood toned him down.
In conclusion then, a competent film but not a great one. If one thing has come out of this, it shows that Korea can certainly contend with Hollywood and Hong Kong in the action cinema department. In all likelihood, they'll probably produce their own 'A Better Tomorrow' sooner or later but unfortunately, this isn't it.
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