Action | Shaw Entertainment | 95m | Rated: R
Directed By: Choi Jae-Hoon
Starring: Jang Hyuk, Lee Seo-young, Bang Eun-Jung
Synopsis: A retired hitman living a quiet life is told by his wife that he’ll be babysitting the teenage daughter of a friend she is going on a vacation with. An inconvenient, but simple task, until this young girl gets wrapped up in a human trafficking network headed by an organized crime syndicate.
I was recently speaking with a friend about missing a new, full throttle martial-arts flick in my life. So, I suppose if you wish for it, eventually it will come. Which is certainly the case with Jae-Hoon Choi’s The Killer. It can be hard to gauge expectations with certain international action thrillers. The United States certainly isn’t the only country with B-action movies after all. The trailers for this one though looked to deliver plenty of impressive action and after watching I can safely say it provided all I hoped for and more. It’s a simple premise. The plot doesn’t veer too far outside of the box as this former hitman is suddenly forced to babysit a teenager while his wife is out of town.
The Killer leans nicely into the more comical aspects of the story just slightly to create an engaging vibe while watching. Without undercutting the seriousness of the plot or the grittiness of the violent action. Jang Hyuk is awesome in the lead. On the character side, he’s able to convey so much emotion with a crisp minimalistic approach to his performance. He’s a bit cold, but the compassion is there and there is appeal in seeing him slowly open his heart to this young girl. It was a gradual arc that added a touch of endearment to what otherwise would’ve been another bloody actioner with simplistic story beats. Instead, you can genuinely invest in the characters. You can appreciate the morals of Hyuk’s Ui Gang, and while it may not be traditionally riveting. It is however more than enough to invest in and connect the fight sequences.
There is no doubt the most important dynamic in a film like this is the quality of the action. Fortunately, outside of Hyuk’s well-rounded performance, the action is the best aspect of The Killer. The fight-choreography, the intricacy of it all, and how it’s captured on camera blend together to result in a string of fluid and completely visceral set-pieces flaunting Hyuk as he takes out bad guy after bad guy like a true killing machine as he sets out to protect this young girl. The showdowns and brawls showcase a variety of weaponry and backdrops to keep the fighting and violence fresh. The stunt work is polished and gives it all a realistic impression to have you up on edge. Hyuk is in the middle of it all and you are right there with him as he dispenses carnage with an effortless demeanor.
Final Verdict: The Killer is a stylish actioner with endless attitude and swagger. The visual appeal is impressive as Hyuk takes on waves of enemies to bold and vibrant backdrops. There surely are familiar elements to this movie but the skilled and imaginative choreography, the gritty martial-arts, and frequent gunplay, equals a satisfying film that will definitely entertain fans of the subgenre.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.