Typhoon


Reviewed by: sukting

May 03, 2009

Rating: two-point-five

How long

1 hour 45 minutes

Foreword

It's directed by Kwak Kyung-taek, who also brought Jang Dong Gun his first movie award with his smash hit Friend in 2001. Like Joint Security Area, this movie considers the relationship between North and South Koreans. The film has several location shootings in Thailand and eastern Russia.

Story

Choi Myong Sin (Jang Dong Gun) leads a band of well-trained subordinates who hijack ships. In short, he is a pirate head of other Thai pirates. He has major emotional issues with both North and South Korea. So he plans to resolve them with a terrorist attack. South Korea catches wind of his plot. It sends a star navy lieutenant Kang Se Jong (Lee Jung Jae) to intercept Myong Sin to retrieve the nuclear missile weapon from him to stop a nuclear war.

Myong Sin's family sought asylum in South Korea, hoping for safe passage from the Austrian embassy through China and, finally, to South Korea. Betrayed by Chinese and South Korean officials (one of them named Hwang), their parents were killed. He and his sister, Choi Myong Ju (Li Mi Yeon), survive but are separated for 20 years.

She gets raped while stealing food for him. She also loses her freedom in order to help him escape. So he wants to steal secret weapons from South Korea and the U.S. to trade his sister with them. A cat and mouse game starts. Se Jong tracks down Myong Ju before Myong Sin can find her. Se Jong hopes to dissuade Myong Sin from his plan, but Se Jong's superiors back in South Korea have other ideas. They want to kill Myong Sin.

Myong Sin steals his way into Busan where Hwang is. His fury is clear to ask Hwang if he has eaten human flesh. He stabs him in the stomach with his dagger, killing him. When he walks out calmly, he comes face to face with Se Jong but he manages to escape.

The two men meet again and discover some kinship. They readily admit - if circumstances were different, there would have been the possibility of friendship. Myong Sin and Myong Ju have a brief time together. All the emotions and feelings are melted down in the touching scene when Myong Sin finally meets his sister and embraces her. She gets hurt while helping him escape.

Elsewhere, Japan and the US are considering their own options regarding how to avert the serious political repercussions of such a disaster occurring, with the latter launching a submarine to destroy all trace of the nuclear devices. Se Jong has no choice but to assemble his men to hunt down Myong Sin as he has seized the weapons onto a big ship. How sad to welcome Myong Sin home in this manner.

There is a climax aboard a ship that Myong Sin commands the typhoon. The assault occurs during a double typhoon. Seeing Myong Ju in deep pain, Myong Sin chooses to end her life with his own hands. Se Jong is not here to kill him but to stop him. But it is too late, Myong Sin has pressed the button and the ship is sinking fast.

Five missiles have floated into the air. The two men struggle with each other. But Se Jong feels for him and although they will fight to the death, he wishes to have been his friend. He shows sympathy for Myong Sin. The two men have a final showdown with their daggers. Myong Sin kills himself and hopes to see Se Jong again in his next life.

The whole mission is successful but Se Jong is hardly happy. He is now on board a ship to return home. He is upset to find out that the missiles did not explode. Maybe Myong Sin wants to be remembered for what he does.

Conclusion

Typhoon means great wind. Thus budget wasn't a problem as the film used up $15 million. The production budget is the highest in Korean history. It is said to be Korean’s answer to ‘Mission Impossible’. I feel that Korea should stop producing negative movies these days as lately, it has become a trend that Korean artistes end their lives miserably. It is a fairly dark and depressing film.

This movie provides gunfights, explosions and special effects. But it only creates small ripples in a lake instead of forming a typhoon. It is an empty shell – only urging all to sign up for the army. Jung Jae looks extremely dashing in uniform – suave when at sea and in the air. It falls short in character development as Jung Jae isn’t given enough chances although his role is helping the innocent.

Too much is on how Myong Sin’s sister endures torture because of him in the past. Although Mi Yeon is a credible actress, her suffering is too long for me to bear. I am looking for a fast-paced movie – not one slow as a snail. I deem the melodrama totally unnecessary – slow and forced. That makes it more like a tear-jerker than an action film.

Myong Sin is a villain whose troubled past leads him to plot terrorist acts. Dong Gun is good but his eyes seem to be too big for his thin face. The movie also tells how the attack is planned. Jang's acting is formidable, but the role makes Myong Sin into a killer machine, except the part with his sister. ‘Typhoon’ might provide some entertainment but it is easily forgotten. There are compact movements by the two actors. They are great to prevent this film from flopping but I wish more could have been done to the story instead of blaming the authorities on the tragedy.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


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