Nowhere To Hide

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime, Thriller

With a little more plot, this could have been a killer. As it stands, Korean director Lee Myung-Se's thriller is a bare-bones, bare-knuckles policier, a hard-boiled action film stripped to almost surreal simplicity. When the head of a powerful drug gang is stabbed to death in broad daylight, two of Inchon's finest are assigned...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
Rating:

With a little more plot, this could have been a killer. As it stands, Korean

director Lee Myung-Se's thriller is a bare-bones, bare-knuckles

policier, a hard-boiled action film stripped to almost surreal

simplicity. When the head of a powerful drug gang is stabbed to death in broad

daylight, two of Inchon's finest are assigned to solve what they believe is

the latest strike in a ongoing drug war. Detective Kim (Jang Dong-Kun) is a

mild-mannered sort who takes his work seriously; his partner Woo (Park

Joong-Hoon), however, is the kind of rouge cop who makes Mike Hammer look like

Miss Marple. Woo's credo: "If I cared, I wouldn't be a detective." Woo punches

his way through a series of suspects until he reaches Juyon (Choi Ji-Woo), the

pretty girlfriend of suspected killer Sungmin (Ahn Sung-Ki). Woo falls for

Juyon, but as the days drag into months, the elusive Sungmin keeps slipping

through his fingers. Lee infuses his Brian DePalma-style set pieces with the blithe, comic ultra-violence of Beat Takeshi, as well as his own love of

visual gimmicks and optical effects. The best of these sequences opens the

film: a beautifully edited, slow-motion assassination set to the Bee Gee's

"Holiday." Lee makes some interesting choices — rather than actually film

the requisite nightclub scene, he opts for a speedy slide-show of stills

— and the film is full of personality. But for all the action, very

little actually happens, and that's probably the point. Lee's far more

interested in each of the parts than the whole. He finds his fun in breaking

things down and seeing how it all works: A chase scene is attenuated to the

point of abstract movement, and an extended rooftop scuffle between Woo and a

thug named Meathead briefly breaks into dance. It's fun for a while, but never

truly engaging.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: With a little more plot, this could have been a killer. As it stands, Korean director Lee Myung-Se's thriller is a bare-bones, bare-knuckles policier, a hard-boiled action film stripped to almost surreal simplicity. When the he… (more)

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