Starring: Han Suk-Gyu, Song Kang-Ho, Kim Yun-Jin and Choi
Directed by: Kang Je-Gyu
is a highly controversial film in its homeland of South Korea.
Director/writer Kang Je-Gyu, has touched a nerve with Korean people
and boldly addressed the unrest that still sleeps hidden beneath
a peaceful façade between the North and South.
Shiri you don't just get a helluva action film, like a
Collateral Damage or any number
of the blow-em-up-good American nitch of heavy FX action and oodles
of testosterone-filled pictures, you also get a subtle history
lesson in cold wars, governmental distrust and the animosity that
divides and ultimately drives people to revolt. A chilling look
at how volatile peace is.
goes, a North Korean terrorist, disguised as a revolutionist,
by the name of Hee has spent the last ten years making vicious
attacks on South Korea's heads of state, buildings, civilians
etc.. All in the name of the revolution North Korean extremist
commandos wish to ignite.
Hee is a she, a woman (Kim Yun-Jin), and not the frilly soft-spoken
stereotype of a young Asian gal by any stretch of the imagination.
She's a ruthless soldier hell-bent on her cause. She's been out
of the scene for a while. In hiding, waiting, the North Korean
task force and super agents Ryu and Lee (Han Suk-Gyu and Song
Kang-Ho) are suspicious she's back in action when a few horrible
events around Seoul, seem to have her signature sniper style.
also suspect she and her group of terrorists have stolen an odorless,
colorless liquid bomb called CMX and plan to set forth a revolution
by instigating hate between the two divided lands.
enough, after a brief warning that indeed let's the agents know
Hee is back full-force, she and her band of commandos follow through
with a horrible threat and blow up an entire city building filled
with innocent people.
World Trade Center. Obviously the film was shot pre-September
11th and this particular scene is all too close to our hearts,
but the scene needed to stay to impact the story. The graphics
used for the explosion are deeply disturbing and will have you
holding your breath.
no question of the lengths Hee and her men will go to, Ryu and
Lee are put into overdrive.
CMX can level an entire city block it's so destructive. The building
was a tenth of its strength. The agents don't know what the next
target will be, and only have an old still photo of a girl they
believe to be Hee. The pressure is on. Unless these two agents
can figure out her true identity, and the next target before
the group strikes again, thousands will perish and a war will
special effects and language barrier transcending acting make
this foreign film a must see. Boosting Korea's most popular actors
and a few relative new comers to the action genre, director/writer
Kang Je-Gyu pulls off his film in any language. Some of the scenes
did seem a bit jumpy - but it's an action film - let it go!
uses metaphors and beautiful cinematography to pull you in
as it introduces you to the underbelly of society. People who
are willing to kill for their beleifs...Timely huh? It's actually
a few years old (it is over 3 years old). Shiri
wildly popular in Korea -South Korea - and has had more viewers
than Titanic ! That's something in such a heavily populated
country! Bravo to all the studios that decided to import and release
it here in America.
a strong antiwar film that's timing was delayed due to politics
etc. But, with all of Hollywood jumping on the War film bandwagon
(about ten thousand opening in the next three months I believe)
this is little different and still oddly universally patriotic.
Sure, Shiri will reopen your eyes and remind us all how
fragile peace is, but at the same time it serves up some genuine
Recommendation: Beef bulgogi and Bam baap.
aside: Even the title is a metaphor. Shiri is a fish found
only in the streams of North and South Korea. The fish travels
upstream (like a salmon) when spawning, oblivious to the political
turmoil the country may be experiencing; like we all should be,
Shiri simply lives its life without fear or need for boundaries
or hate...To survive it must be united with both parts of the