The son and daughter of a falsely-accused North Korean traitor are imprisoned for their father’s crime; one day, the son is given the chance to not only earn their freedom, but to erase the stain on their family name by becoming a spy.
Sparing us the needless training scenes, our anti-hero enters the South, the Republic of Korea, as a refugee, where he is “adopted” by North Korean handlers (despite being an adult) and sent to school. Okay, so I’ve no idea at what age Koreans leave school, but this seemed weird… but not as weird as teachers bullying pupils with a wooden cane before leaving them unsupervised. Still, carry on…
The lead soon develops an attachment with a classmate, and even though there’s never any romance per se, there is a genuine chemistry, which makes their relationship feel more meaningful than just two horny teens bonking. And this is important, because we already know she’ll most likely be kidnapped – but certainly used against him – later on by his enemies. This is an action flick, after all.
But what’s this? As our spy sets about his duty, a rival faction’s bumping his fellow spies off as a major player seeks to usurp power in the North.
Yeah, I really liked this part of the plot, just as I really liked how our young spy understood none of it, being naive to the ways of the world. Anyway, the story twists and turns, there are shoot outs, plenty of kick-arse fights scenes and then we get to the ending, which is either going to be the typical Hollywood ending (the hero rides off into the sunset with the girl) or the typical Korean one (i.e. everybody dies), because so far, the film hasn’t broken any seriously new ground to elevate it beyond being a merely good action-thriller. And South Korea knocks them out by the dozen.
So, if you’re new to Korean cinema, you’ll likely love this flick, but for fans who have seen it all before, there’s really not enough here to recommend, even though it is very enjoyable while it lasts.
Review by grandmastersik