DVD Review: The Chaser

30 Mar

Fast paced and enjoyable, this stylishly directed 2008 Korean thriller by first time writer director Na Hong-Jin puts the bon back in the Koo Bon woong jeong.

Ha Jeong-woo plays Joong Ho, a former police officer turned pimp, who is feeling the pinch after several of his girls have gone missing. When Ho realises that he has just sent one of his girls, Ma-jin, to the john who is suspected of abducting them, he decides to use her as bait. Things take a turn for the worse when it turns out that the girls are in fact being brutally murdered.

Plagued by guilt after not hearing from Ma-jin, Joong Ho begins a frantic chase through the downtown streets of Seoul. Before you can say Ha Jeong Woo Bing plays Je Yeong-min, Ho apprehends the murderer after a chance car accident. At the police station Yeong-Min confesses to the murders but by some lefty bleeding heart law the police can only detain him for 12 hours unless Ma-jin or one of the other missing girls can be found.

It’s quite easy to get settled into The Chaser, its fast and fun with enough classic film noir motifs to keep the popcorn flowing, shaking your fist at bureaucracy gone mad and cheering our hero on as he fights for justice; the only way he knows how.

While the rain and serial killer type weirdness should be instantly recognizable to western audiences, it’s the kind of genre film Hollywood rarely produces well these days. Like the best work of Tarantino, it’s obvious that Hong-Jin has a real passion for good film making and knows enough about it’s conventions to give a sly wink to more astute audiences from time to time. If you don’t believe me, just check out the hilarious symbolism in the final showdown.

If Alice in Slumberland and Where the Dull Things Are leave you craving a bit of the old ultraviolence, you could do a lot worse than ordering some of your favorite takeout and picking up a copy of the Chaser on DVD.

In the meantime enjoy the American trailer with it’s classic voice over narration.

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One Response to “DVD Review: The Chaser”

  1. Ronan April 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    i love every bit of this review.

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