|The Yellow Sea (2010)|
|Starring:||Ha Jung-woo, Kim Yun-seok, Lee Chul-Min and Cho Seong-Ha|
|The Plot: Gu-Nam (Ha Jung-woo) lives in the Chinese city of Yanji, which is placed between North Korea and Russia. He works as a taxi driver and has accumulated a great deal of debt due to his love for gambling. This gambling seems to come from a rather self-destructive streak within his life. His wife, who was supposed to be leaving in order to help the family, left for South Korea several months back, but no one has heard from her since. Their child currently lives with Gu-Nam’s mother, while he attempts to clean up his act and make a better life for the family. This gambling debt that looms over his head, however, makes such a goal impossible. When the gangsters finally come to collect from Gu-Nam, they find that he is unable to acquire the money that they want. So, they offer him a chance at survival. He is ordered to leave for South Korea and kill a business man, and bring back the dead man’s finger. When he does this, all debts are forgiven and his mother and son may live in peace. If he screws up, though, he and his family are dead. When Gu-Nam arrives in South Korea, he finds that the process of killing another human isn’t as easy as it seems. He begins planning elaborate plots, while also searching for his missing wife. Eventually, on the very last night, Gu-Nam goes in for the kill: but someone else beats him to the punch. Gu-Nam still manages to grab the dead man’s finger, but he is caught on camera and now everyone in South Korea knows what he looks like. With the law out for him and having no way back to China, Gu-Nam must evade the police and find another ship that will smuggle him back. However, with this new attention focused on Gu-Nam, his employers also want to see him wiped out. That means Gu-Nam is being hunted by everyone, and he’ll have to rely solely on his wits if he wants to survive this arduous battle.|
Taking on a “blockbuster” feel, the final half hour of The Yellow Sea becomes slightly reminiscent of a rather disturbed Hollywood production. The tension escalates to such a high level that the audience becomes enveloped in this cat and mouse chase that unfurls. Yet, despite the odd intricacies of this film’s plot, there develops a great number of action stunts and daring setpieces. A sequence that show an 18-wheeler flip over and crash into a dozen cars is only the start of one massive chase sequence that sees more collateral damage than I think I have ever seen in any South Korean film previous to this. Despite the early tones that make this seem like a very personal journey that will at most feature a tiny bit of bloodshed, the movie develops into something much larger than that. Essentially, it is as if all of South Korea is thrown into chaos and bloodshed due to this one man and his lost wife.