Nowhere To Hide (South Korea 1999)

Rating: *
Review Date: 5/12/01
Written And Directed By: Lee Myung-Se
Cast: Park Joong-Hoon, Jang Dong-Kun, Choi Ji-Woo

Pretty terrible on all accounts. My second venture into Korean action cinema turned out to be a real stinker that could easily pass for a bad American B-movie or an equally bad music video. A true example of nerd filmmaking - the movie tries so hard to be stylish and cool that it just comes off as being pathetic. (in fact, it really reminded me of films like "Killing Time," "Killer Tongue," and "Razor Blade Smile" in style and execution) A gangland murder takes place in the opening minutes of the film, and the dorky and violent Detective Woo (Park Joong-Hoon) spends the entire movie tracking down the murderer and terrorizing everyone else along the way. He's rude, crude, and sloppy and has a real hip-hop goofiness about him. His partner is Detective Kim (Jang Dong-Kun), who's a very sharp and sexy chap. After beating up enough people and terrorizing the bad guy's very attractive girlfriend (pretty Choi Ji-Woo), Woo and his team finally catch up with the villainous Sungmin in an abandoned train railyard. Woo and Sungmin face each other in an unconvincing hand-to-hand showdown in the rain and mud before Sungmin is finally arrested.

First of all, it's boring and unattractive. The cinematography is fair, but the editing is atrocious. The film flaunts a rebellious and aggressive attitude in an attempt to overcompensate for the lack of a plot and the absence of any interesting characters. What few special effects there are, are poor and unnecessary. The film also tries to be funny, and fails miserably. A real chore to sit through, but at least Choi Ji-Woo is pretty to look at.