November 10, 2007

Shiri: She-bang She-bang

Shiri, Kang Je-gyu's enjoyable political thriller, has a riveting opener: With barely a word of dialogue, an extended montage of shooting, stabbing, screaming, running in the rain, and eating slop introduces us to the dehumanization undergone by a North Korean rebel military outfit. Yet the star pupil of this factional force isn't Pyongyang's answer to Sylvester Stallone; it's Kim Yunjin, the same lovely actress who made a splash stateside with her role in the cult series Lost. To call her character in this film a femme fatale strikes me as missing the point. Such an assertion just cheapens her antiauthoritarian convictions...or the effectiveness of the brainwashing. (That's your call.) But as she kill, kill, kills, she's destined to break as many hearts as she shoots because she can't shed her convictions as easily as her disguising wig. Though this flick has some slow sections before the big shoot-em-up in the stadium, it's also got some unexpected treats like a makeout scene in an aquarium and an excerpt from a Korean production of Guys and Dolls. The light military protection of a newly discovered, scent-free liquid bomb is an improbable plot point but from the looks of the resultant explosions perhaps that material was overhyped.


  1. Shiri is an "A" grade film. A tense political thriller with the right dose of action and romance. It expertly delivers a high-octane and action/espionage style like the James Bond and the Bourne films.

  2. I didn't like this one very much. It was like they were trying to make a Hollywood blockbuster.
    That's not why I watch Korean film...