THE YELLOW SEA

A killer thriller that combines the richness of a novel with enough
breathless action to impress Michael Bay, awash in blood and
delivering an almost three-hour wallop to audiences left reeling from
a succession of fistfights and pursuits (on wheels and on foot) done
so well you catch yourself panting. The length is not a problem
because the movie never slows down, even when it's quiet, which it is
much of the time thanks to the central character, who is most often
silent but always interesting to watch. (The actor, Ha Jung-Woo,
struck me in ways as the Korean [actually Joseonjok] counterpart of
Ryan Gosling's Driver in DRIVE). You know when you sit up and take
notice of a car chase nowadays that there's a director at work who's
discovered how to put new engine whines in old battles. Hong-jin Na,
with only one other feature to his credit, is just such a director and
seems poised to be snatched up by Hollywood. You can imagine front
office types asking their assistants, “Who is this guy?”… and “Let's
sign him.” — Jeff Schultz

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