Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…
Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts. While trying to track them down, he finds a clue that the vanished girls were all called up by a same client whom one of his girls is meeting with right now.
The experience of watching this movie is akin to having your emotions scraped out with an ice cream scoop. The movie ended and I just sat there feeling empty and helpless, realizing that so many things are unfair and unjust and bad things happen to good people and bureaucracy is always about the power and never about the people.
Current Korean cinema knows how to do revenge thrillers, and they're quite adept at showing the incompetence of the justice system, but what really elevated this movie was the humor. It makes watching the film bearable, indeed it makes it so painfully human. For a film called The Chaser, the chase scenes in here are not at all your typical slick…
How misleading. The Chaser is no revenge thriller. It's police procedural. I've went in with wrong expectations, so things kind of dragged for me. They were sitting around smoking and chilling when I was anticipating for some hammer action, guess it's my fault for stereotyping. Still, surprises are always welcomed. I'm glad to say that The Chaser is one of the better surprises. Think Memories of Murder meet Se7en, Silence of the Lambs meet, uh, Oldboy.
Desperation, violence, torture, they're there. A sick, insane antagonist? Yup. Thinking about Ha Jung Woo's twisted smirk still makes my hair stand on end. Only thing missing is Choi Min Sik, any film's two times better with Choi Min fucking Sik.
I sounded like…
Taking a quick peek at the stars afforded this Korean revenge thriller by my friends here, I have a feeling my take isn’t going to be too popular.
I don’t have an issue with ultraviolence. I love Kim Ki-duc’s work, especially Moebius, and Kubrick’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and Tarantino’s ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ are amongst my favourite cinematic moments. I certainly don’t have issue with the typical Korean revenge film; in fact I can’t think of a single one I haven’t loved. It can’t be that it was about saving a little girl, like The Man From Nowhere, because I loved that one too.
No, I think it’s because this film has less in common with all…
South Korea, 2008.
Another day, another interesting addition to the 30 Countries Challenge. Another day, another interesting addition to the South Korean Revenge Thriller sub genre.
I swear. Koreans just know how to do something magical with movies like these. Puerto Ricans are good at baseball, Ireland makes good beer and South Korea knows how to make batshit insane crime dramas.
The Chaser has got every winning ingredient to make that special sizzling dish of Korean Revenge. It's got grisly violence when necessary, crazy characters, tense chasing and fighting scenes, cool urban style and unbelievable coincidences. It may not be as stylish as Oldboy or as off the wall…
Whew, that was a rough watch. I can't say I "enjoyed" it as that's not the right word to describe the experience, but it is damn good. The Chaser keeps you glued to the screen praying that everything will turn out for the best while simultaneously questioning your faith in both humanity and the legal system.
This film has everything you expect from a Korean thriller, including the mandatory gratuitous hammer violence, but tugs at the heartstrings a little harder than most. Yun-seok Kim shines in the lead role as does Jung-woo Ha as one of the most detestable and downright unrelatable villains that I've seen in a while.
All in all, The Chaser is good stuff and well worth your time.
The first thing that struck me about THE CHASER was how much I loved Song Kang-Ho as an actor. Sometimes the acting style in Asian cinema can be unnecessarily exaggerated or unbelievable, but this guy is so natural and likable (even as a "guardian"), and had me immediately invested in his struggle. The second thing that struck me was that I had the wrong guy. This guy was not from THIRST or MR VENGEANCE... this guy's name is Kim Yoon-seok and I've never seen him before. But I think the important thing is that he is awesome, and the next movie I seek out from South Korea will be THE YELLOW SEA. Oops.
OK, next thing: I love the choice…
Korea has given us some great revenge flicks but regardless of what you might have heard, this isn't a revenge flick, it's a police procedural ... a very dark one with its plot roots in Se7en territory and its character roots in film noir. A disgraced cop, a psycho killer, disappearing prostitutes, dank atmosphere... this film is unrelentingly grim and tough to watch in places but it definitely holds your interest and offers some interesting characters and plot twists. Commendable directorial debut for Na Hong-Jin ... keep an eye on this guy.
Starring Kim Yoon-seok!
A great chase-scene with action, mystery film about the hunt for evidence against Serial-killer. This film has made me feel delighted and glad, it has been long since I have seen such a grand film from Asian cinema. Kim Yoon-seok gives marvelous performance, his chasing scenes in the film are few of grand chasing scenes in the history of cinema. Plot is wonderfully crafted out; Cinematographer Lee Seong-jae should be praised for the doing his crafty work on the film.
Director Na Hong-jin has shown professionalism and skills in directing this full-entertainment film. Musicians Kim Joon-seok
and Choe Yong-rak come up a music that builds up intensity, firstly in the mid-half of start when Eom Joong-ho (Kim Yoon-seok) first encounters the serial-killer Je Yeong-min (Ha Jeong-woo), and at the near-end when Eom surprises Yeong-min at his secret hiding place.
A perfect film.
The defining trait of most serial killer movies is the idea that serial killers are more interesting than the regular people chasing them. It's also often the problem with them, too. The investigators either become paper-thin dramatic foils for our beloved villains (who in turn become showcases for the idea that misanthropy is inherently charming) or have to be "troubled" (results may vary; William Petersen's Will Graham, in MANHUNTER, takes that characterization to its poetic extreme). Hong-Jin Na's scenario for THE CHASER is essentially based on giving the middle finger to that convention, as well as to the equally common ploy of making the killer's apprehension the film's climax. Here, the ex-cop-turned-pimp investigating the crimes is more interesting than the…
You can't possibly imagine how pissed off I was during second half of this film!
It really is draining, emotionally, from first half filled with comedy and gags to much darker development.
I suppose how things worked out was just realistic? No Hollywood happy endings, although I needed one here, I wanted the victim to survive so badly.
I love how Jung Ho was a bad guy at first, sleazy and ruthless and turned into sort of hero placed against psychopathic serial killer. Edge of your seat thriller, one of the finest.
I so love Korean thrillers, they are so dark, bloody, and relentless, one can't stay indifferent. Great story, and based on real life case too!
Probably in the top tier as far as Korean crime thrillers go. Definitely a recommended watch, and something that will likely stick with you.
It is definitely one of the best gripping thrillers. When I watched this movie, It made my skin crawl. If you watched the movie, you could never forget the number '4885' lol.. Jeongwoo Ha and Yunseok Kim are my favorite Korean actors of course and they never let me down;)
New found respect for hammers
Wow. First off, this film is not what I expected based on IMDb summaries. To accurately describe this film, I would take the serial killer aspect of Se7en, the night time aesthetic of Michael Mann, and the police procedural style of Fincher's Zodiac and combine them all.
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