Bullet Points: The Suspect
A couple of weeks ago I went on a bit of Korean movie kick. It’s good every once in a while to just watch a bunch of flicks out of your normal wheelhouse. Although I love to watch foreign films I rarely will spend an entire week just watching movies from a specific country but that’s what I did. Out of the movies I watched The Suspect was one of my favorites and definitely the best action movie of the bunch. So here is my Bullet Points for said movie….
The Gist: Former North Korean special operations agent Ji Dong-chul (Gong Yoo) defects to Seoul and is seeking revenge for his slain family when he becomes a suspect in the murder of his mentor. Holding what could be the formula to a chemical weapon, he is closely pursued by counter-espionage agent Colonel Min Se-hoon (Park Hee-son) and deadly enemies from all sides. Ji must take desperate measures to guard the formula and learn the truth about the fate of his family.
Ji Dong-chul is constantly being chased and shot out for the entirety of the movie.
The Cast: Gong Yoo might not be a big, beefy-looking action star in the vein of Sylvester Stallone or Dolph Lundgren but he does a fine job with the action sequences throughout the movie. I always have a bit of a problem watching newer Asian movies as the hairstyles are just different over there and it seems like at some point the hero is walking around with that shaggy Justin Bieber haircut where he constantly has to move the hair from his eyes. It’s hard to look tough brushing your hair out of your face. He makes it to a Sports Clips or something at some point so luckily he doesn’t look like a pussy for the whole movie. I liked his portrayal of the lead character but he is in a constant state of sadness throughout the whole movie. I want a little anger with my revenge! He needs to watch some Taken or Commando to understand that his revenge should be delivered with a few more one-liners and a lot less crying. The rest of the cast was fine. I liked the Colonel and the reporter lady who helps the audience learn about all of the corruption (how convenient) works well within the framework of the film.
There must be an incredibly high lung cancer rate in Korea cause it seems like everybody is a chain smoker there.
The Villain: I always talk about how I like a good villain is needed to balance out movie when the hero isn’t amazing and we didn’t really get one here. The plot didn’t call for a main villain to be able to stand toe to toe with Dong-chul, but it allowed for many of his sleeper agents to be after him and that worked really well. Most villains fall into either the role of Lex Luthor or Doomsday; a maniacal genius who uses his intellect to ruin shit or a brawling bruiser who smashes and kills using his body as a weapon. The villain here falls much more into the category of Lex Luthor but having his connections allows for him to sick his proverbial dogs on Dong-chul and give us fight after fight followed by a couple of rad car chases.
Korean Lex Luthor.
The Action: The action in The Suspect is to me the best part. The story isn’t going to win any awards for creatitivity but they cram loads of really good action sequences into the film. The action isn’t just relegated to fight scenes but also a few good shoot outs and a couple of awesome car chases. My favorite fight scene was probably when Dong-chul finally caught up to the other agent and they fought using the syringes as weapons. That might not sound as cool reading it but it was uniquely badass. The character of Min Se-hoon was a welcome cause he was as brash as they come and destroyed half of Seoul chasing Dong-chul around.
His insurance company is going to be pissed.
Take it Home:
- Blink and you’ll miss it: The data disc that everyone is out to get is being hidden in a DVD case for Vengeance. Let’s just say that Dong-chul had some vengeance of his own to dish out.
- Run time: My biggest problem with The Suspect is that it runs for 137 minutes…that was way too long. It actually seemed like it was longer because the main character doesn’t really talk much and many of the action scenes were fast cuts in the style of Greengrass’s Bourne Series. I gues it took 9 months to shoot the movie since they had to film so much.
- North & South: I like to watch these movies because as an American I have less knowledge about the Korean peninsula and I feel like I come out of them knowing more about the relationship between the North and South Koreas. This film would work really well as a period piece set in Civil War America. I could see the lead character as a former Confederate agent who abandons the cause and heads north to Union territory.