Monday, January 07, 2008

Typhoon (2005)

Typhoon is an action/adventure thriller from Korea. It is directed by Kyung-Taek Kwak and stars Jung-Jae Lee as our hero & Dong-Kun Jang as Sin the villain. The story is simple. Long ago Sin's family was denied entry into South Korea, and was betrayed by a South Korean bureaucrat. After watching his father and mother die, and being separated by his sister Sin has it in for the two Korea's. Sin along with his gang of modern day pirates hijack some ballistic missile devices, and buy some Russian radioactive waste. He plans to annihilate the two Korea's by spreading the radioactive waste with balloons set to a timer to explode over the two Korea's. In steps our hero Kang Sejong. He's a South Korean navel officer who is called into duty to stop Sin.

The budget seems extensive, and so the action sequences and special effects are plenty, but what this film can't hide is it's "pan-Korean nationalist sentiment". That's a quote from some review which I thought summed the movie up. To say that it's sentiment is strong is an understatement. It's a patriotic film to the South Korean national defense force. What I liked about the film was that our villain was sympathetic. In some warped way he is trying to avenge his families honor. It's a nice plot point. In the end the two protagonists duel it out on a sinking ship with explosions and fire all around. I guess American cinema does have it's imitators around the world.

The film takes place in many locations and has the scope of a big budget action/adventure. At 124 minutes the film is a bit long, and could use some cutting. The film is presented in 2.35 : 1 format, and it looks very much like a big budgeted Hollywood film. The interesting thing in this film is that the villains are a bit more well rounded. They do have the audience's sympathy, and it's an interesting thing to do to put in an action/adventure film. usually the villain is all bad, and when he or she buys it we feel no remorse. In this film there is a certain sadness. Even at the end there is a piece of dialogue that tells us that Sin wasn't as bad as he lead us to believe. For an interesting look at foreign action/adventure films Typhoon should be seen.

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