The Chaser (Chugyeogja): Movie review
If the late great Dan LaFontaine had been alive to record the trailer for The Chaser, he would start it with “In a world where guns don’t exist”. It seems that every character onscreen tends to favour fists, hammers, golf-clubs and chairs which somehow is greatly more amusing and scary.
Yes those Koreans really do know how to turn up the “gruesome” dial on us with The Chaser. A subtitled film which doesn’t take its time on telling us a very basic story. It seems that the “good guy” is a pimp, the bad guy is a client who favours hammers above all else and the police are all incompetent fools.
In the promotional gumph for the film, it reveals to us that The Chaser has already been snapped up for a remake (by the people who brought us “The Departed”. This would seem a little worrying at first as anything that needs to be remade tends to “need fixing” as far as the Americans are concerned and before you know it a gritty very real Korean city is transformed into glamourous Hollywood.
So the pimp is not a very good pimp (he doesn’t even know the address of his “workers”), the killer is not a very good killer as he seems to have no problem telling people about it and the police are merely following along like sheep.
Despite the unnecessary length of the piece (and some very crude scene cuts) “The Chaser” is an entertaining watch. However it is one of those films that takes effort to watch. Naturally any subtitled movie released in English speaking countries tends to scare off 50% of the population (for fear of having to read for 2 hours). For those of us prepared to give it a chance, it really does fulfil.
Yun-seok Kim gets better as the movie proceeds falling into his character with relative ease along Yun-seok Kim’s psychotic character made all the more scary due to the fact that his motives are never truly explained.
The Chaser is a movie that you’d watch and enjoy if you give it the time. In the version I saw however it just seems unfinished (and unpolished). Nevertheless, give it a chance and you may just love it. If you are still not feeling keen on reading for two hours, you could always wait for the remake to come out. The fact is though, these U.S. remakes sadly don’t even brush the surface of the original.
For those of you not worried about subtitled moves, may I suggest you watch Audition and Oldboy. Both very gruesome, amusing and quite brilliant movies
3.5 out of 5