The story of a cab driver in Yanji City, a region between North Korea, China and Russia. His wife goes to Korea to earn money, but he doesn't hear from her since in 6 months. He plays mah-jong to make some extra cash, but this only makes his life worse; but then he meets a hitman who proposes to turn his life around by repaying his debt and reuniting with his wife, just for one hit.Written by
First I have to admit that nowadays the more I watched Korean movies, the more I appreciate their good work with a stretch range of variance themes. For right now I am in a state that I will pick a recommended Korean movie over the mega budget Hollywood flick any day of the week. Since my first introductory of Korean movie more or less a decade ago with the like of 'My Sassy Girl', 'Sorum', 'Memories of Murder', 'Oldboy', etc, things only get better.
And with 'The Yellow Sea' I can't help but to once again utter my sincere compliment. The movie basically divided into four segments each related to the situation of our protagonist. The protagonist himself is a grey character between evil and good, which didn't come as surprise, as many Korean movies has done a lot deal with such a character, take 'Oldboy' or 'I am a Father'.
The first segment is meant to tell us about the dark and depressing background of the protagonist and the motive following his grim decision for the audience to tolerate. The second segment is what followed after and I assured you it will thrill and hold you at the edge of your chair. Very pacey and full of suspense that the second segment itself could stand as a suspenseful modern noir, of which Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder will nod in full agreement.
But I think what followed after the second segment is where the movie slipped over. Director Na Hong Jin (from 'The Chaser') tried everything to provide a decent thriller, but maybe he just tried too hard. The way he prolonged the movie and transformed it into multi characters rather than kept focusing on the main character, the die hard character in bloody melee combat, the car flipping and car chasing scenes which was superb and not inferior to that Hollywood's made, those were all but just not add up to the movie's substantial but rather blurred the entire purpose of the movie.
If the movie is intended as a powerful thriller drama then it surely slipped in the latter half of the movie. A decent thriller drama can not be stuffed with too much action flick I guess. Nevertheless I still like the movie very much and would like to recommend it to all Asian(or Korean) movie enthusiast. Only that I really wish the director made the movie only three quarters as long, stayed focus on the protagonist's gloomy campaign and ended it up the way it was. It would be a dark and a too powerful movie instead.
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