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"Shiri"

Directed by Je-gyu Kang.
Written by Je-gyu Kang. 
Starring Suk-kyu Han.
Release Year:  1999 
Review Date:  2/11/02 

Folks-- 

Now, THIS is what I'm talkin' about!  Look, I could bother you with the details of this 1999 Korean action-adventure film, which is open here but is not open in almost any other place right now stateside.  We'll keep it simple:  lots of people get lit up in this film.  The body count won't overwhelm you, but the well-staged action sequences just might.  In 1998 Korea, North Korean militants try and hijack a truckload of government-made bombs so powerful that they don't decimate city blocks (as they do in most mindless action films)...they "make cities disappear" because they are so explosive.  Sounds scary.  Scarier still is the North Korean assassin named Hee that is so lethal that she can take out targets behind three-deep lines of soldiers with two handguns while walking sideways.  (You must see the film to know what I am talking about, but as an idea, this stuff is damned cool.)  Two cops--one Korean, one...Korean--must figure out a way to take her and her henchmen out before they assassinate the leaders of both North and South Korea.

"Shiri" is great fun, and director Je-kyu Kang mixes enough romance into the film between one of the cops and his fiancée so that things aren't all action-driven.  They don't come much bloodier than this here in the US, although if you watch a lot of Hong Kong cinema, this is definitely par for the course.  If you are lucky enough to have this film showing in your city, check it out.  It's not "The Killer"...but then again, what is?

Rating:  $9.00 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09