May 6, 2012

Eye for an Eye: Revenge Without Vision

Han Suk-kyu! Yeah, you! Come over here for a second. I want to talk to you. Now please don't take offense, but I was really frustrated with your acting in the abominable heist pic Eye for an Eye. To be blunt, your turn as Captain Baek Sung-chan really irritated the heck out of me. I know the movie's failure is not all your fault. The screenplay by co-directors Kwak Kyung-taek and Ahn Kwon-tae is full of holes. No one would believe that the cop you play would go so that easy on Ahn Hyon-min (Cha Seung-won), the goateed guy who frames him for grand larceny when he just wants to retire and become a pest exterminator. Nor would anyone believe that your character Baek could so consistently predict his foil's next step then just as consistently be tricked for the step thereafter. They certainly aren't going to believe that he's going to put that much stock in any leads provided by Antonio (Lee Byung-joon), the weird-toothed transvestite with whom he's been acquainted for years. Yes, Cha, even if your performance had been brilliant, Eye for an Eye would have been a dud, a second-rate thriller unlikely to make a top ten list covering your career.

But couldn't you have at least made it better? You've been in so many movies that I've really liked -- The President's Last Bang, The Scarlet Letter, Tell Me Something... And you've been good in movies I've had mixed feelings about too -- Green Fish, A Bloody Aria... You certainly didn't make any of those movies worse! But here... Oh, Cha, what are you doing? That high-pitched laugh you keep doing to relate the mad, crazy ridiculousness of it all in Eye for an Eye is both forced and grating. The smug self-satisfied way you have of lighting a cigarette or popping a piece of chewing gum in your mouth isn't as cool as you seem to think it is. Far from it. I hate to say it, my friend, but in this flick, you come across as a poseur, not an actor. There's so much that feels fraudulent in your performance that I've even begun to doubt whether your now-gray hair is prematurely so or whether you've had it dyed that way. Oh Cha, when you're good, you're quite good but here you're quite bad. It almost makes me re-evaluate everything you've ever done. But why do that? I thank you for your other movies. And I forgive you for this one.

On second thought, I might be totally wrong. Because you're still the most memorable part of the movie. It seems unlikely I'll forget that laugh or that affected bravado or that silver hair. I give up. You win, Han Suk-kyu.

1 comment:

  1. How do we tell affectation from camp? The way he mock-bullies the gay dude with proposition, or breaks out an incoherent homoerotic bond with baddie in closer...or the ridiculous bile he rained down on his extra stupid cop minions? This is at least half of an indulgent, trashy B-flick?