Directed by Je-gyu Kang.
Written by Je-gyu Kang.
Starring Suk-kyu Han.
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 2/11/02
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: $9.00 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$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
"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
"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