December 2, 2010

Blue: Bromance, Romance, Adventure, Dud

Shin Hyeon-jun must have one of the most unconventionally fetching faces in Korean cinema. With his humped nose and goofy grin, he's not anyone's idea of "typical leading man." Yet despite his oddly attractive oddball looks, once you've considered his resume -- The Legend of the Shadowless Sword, Marrying the Mafia II and III, and Face -- he suddenly seems like the face that launched a thousand (uneven) films. He can't save a movie, no, but he can steer it, and if it sinks, survive it. Until Blue. Director Lee Jeong-kuk's soggy submarine drama is that exceptional instance in which Shin goes down with the ship. His slapstick-y shtick holds charm neither in the rocky bromance with his less attractive co-star (Kim Yeong-ho) nor in the doomed romance with their shared love interest (Shin Eun-Kyung). Did Shin mistakenly think that looking handsome in a naval uniform on land and without a shirt while underwater would have us forgiving a movie that lacks a well-dressed plot? If so, he was wrong. And our wandering eyes instead have drifted over to Park Sun-il (the immature loud-mouthed cadet) and Ryu Su-yeong (the psychotic soldier). At this boot camp for deep sea rescue missions, any actor who thinks he can float by looking cute is about to get a cold splash in the face.

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