Director: NA HONG-JIN

140 minutes| South Korea| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema

While the likes of Mother and Poetry have put South Korean cinema in the art-house spotlight of late, the industry’s more commercial side has also been cranking out some tremendous crime pictures. Na Hong-jin’s latest, a high-tension fish-out-of-water thriller about a Korean cabbie smuggled from China into Seoul to carry out a hit which will pay off his gambling debts, is certainly well up to scratch. Indeed, anyone who caught Na’s razor-sharp serial killer flick The Chaser will need no more recommendation to sample this follow-up. Reversing the roles they played in the earlier movie, steely Ha Jung-woo this time plays the flawed everyman surviving on his wits as the law and a rival gangster close in on him, but the star of the show is undoubtedly the formidable Kim Yun-seok, the cool-but-scary crime lord behind the murder assignment – a man who wields a hatchet with such bloodcurdling aplomb that his efforts make Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy look like a tea-party. Crunching stuff! (Notes by Trevor Johnston).<

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