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The great main actor can't save this overlong biopic
As a big fan of current Korean cinema and even more of the amazing actor Choi Min Sik as well as of Mafia and Yakuza movies in general, I was really looking forward to watch this movie. But in the end it all came very different...
The only positive thing about the movie is the unique acting of Choi Min Sik. He proves that he doesn't only perfectly incarnates twisted and brutal characters but also the one he plays in here. We talk about a corrupt customs official who works at the port of Busan who finds a haul of drugs and begins to team up with a vicious gangster. The character doesn't seem to be clever at all at first sight. He has no experiences whatsoever, is overtly arrogant and doesn't stop talking nonsense. But thanks to a lot of luck as well as to a couple of good deals and relations, he survives by using his partner, his enemies and even the police for his own issues. Choi Min Sik incarnates the character with a lot of humour. On the other side, it's quite hard to believe that this kind of clumsy character has gone so far in organized crime and the movie overall doesn't feel realistic enough.
The movie itself is a biopic with many lengths and a load of more or less important characters. We assist to many meetings at many different places with many different people that are sometimes redundant and add nothing to the story line. Apart of following the career of the main character, there is no truly addicting story that would create an acceptable setting. The dialogues are sometimes quite poor, there is not much tension in the movie and the few action scenes are good but quite rare to find. This movie never gets close to all those big movies about organized crimes such as The Godfather, Once Upon A Time In America, Takashi Miike's Family and so on.
In the end, this movie may only be worth a watch for fans of Choi Min Sik who makes this overlong biopic at least watchable. On the other side, he can't save this film from its numerous flaws and lengths. The expectations for this film were quite high but the final result is more than disappointing.
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