Monday, July 10, 2006

Movie Review: Guns & Talks

I’ve been on a big Asian cinema kick this year and am convinced some of the best stuff in movies as of late is coming out of Japan and Korea. I’m not talking about Anime or weird J-Pop shows. I’m talking about meat and potatoes gritty crime thillers, horror movies, and psychological thrillers. This weekend I had the chance to watch another fun Korean flick “Killerdeului suda,” or in translation “Guns & Talks.”

The story is about four “assasins,” hitmen, contract killers, or whathave you, who…well…kill people. Nothing special, right? To a degree, this is indeed the case. Then what are you telling me about this for Steve, you might be thinking. I’m telling you about this movie because it’s not what these guy do, but how their story is told.

Most of the lose narrative is by the younger of two brothers, Ha-yeon (played by Bin Won). He does a lot of voice over work to sort of introduce the characters and let you know the gist of what is going on with these guys. The other brother, and leader of the pack is Sany-yeon (played excellently by Hyeon-jum Shin), and he’s your typical strong older brother type. Jung-woo (played by Ha-kyun Shin) and Jae-yeong (played by Jae-yeong Jeong) round out the other hit men as the “sharpshooter” and “lose cannon” respectively.

At any rate, so you’ve got these four guys who all work together as hit men, right? And they’re probably all tough guys and stuff, right? Wrong. That’s what I thought was clever about this. They all live in a pretty simple flat and look like ordinary guys. Being that it’s Korea they, of course, drive a Hyundai, so nothing fancy there. They’ve got some nice clothes, but nothing crazy fancy or anything. Hell, they’re even infatuated with the morning news anchor on one of the stations (which actually plays into the movie a bit, but I won’t say how). To anyone living around them they just look like four regular guys. But they’re good, really good at what they do. The younger brother Ha-yeon is going through his growing pains of young adulthood. He’s trying to figure out the place in his world, where he belongs, what his convictions are, yada yada yada, you know the routine. I was a bit concerned as this started to unravel about his character in typical whiney Asian youth fashion. Then, with a snap, you realize that he’s actually the comic relief. Take for instance one scene where he’s reflecting on a big even that’s just unfolded. It’s a voice over narrative, and the four guys are standing there looking out at something, contemplating what’s just went down. Here’s Ha, breaking it down for us when he screws up, so, he starts his narrative over. Screws up again. Then, he acknowledges that the worst part about a narrative is when you screw it up. By now the other three guys are turning to look at him. So, he tries one last time to say what he is supposed to, only to screw it up again. So, he throws his arms in the air and walks off. Mind you, this was all as a voice over to the people on screen didn’t actually say anything and I thought they way they shot this scene was just brilliant. Really poking fun at what I expected to see here.

Another funny scene is where, once again, Ha is breaking it down for us. This time, it’s a combination monologue to the three other roommates, and a narrative to the viewer. It’s tricky, especially while reading subtitles, but I followed it. Basically, he does this whole shadoo about what love is, why it should change their loves, why Jae can’t kill this woman, and he thinks the whole time the other guys are so caught up in his words that they’re crying. The camera shoots them in a way so you can’t see their faces. In the narrative he’s saying how the guys are so affected they can’t even speak. Then, the camera pans and you see the guys are actually laughing hysterically at the campy words of Ha. At any rate, it was a funny scene, and again not what I expected.

There’s some cop stuff tossed in and some subplots and whatnot, so I won’t ruin that stuff for you. All in all, this is like a 7.5 out of 10. They do get wordy at times, but I thought it was an interesting way to present contract killers and the like. It’s Korean, so if you don’t like sub titles, don’t bother. All and all, this was a fun flick that could have used about 10 less minutes, maybe more, but all in all wouldn’t be considered a waste of time.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hitman. Funny.

2:42 PM  

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