ON IN CINEMAS
EIFF 2019: Unstoppable (2018) writer and director: Kim Min-Ho
N.B. This film is not on general release in the UK at present. It is showing at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on Monday 24th June 2019.
A businessman’s wife gets abducted
This South Korean action-thriller features Dong-seok Ma as Dong-chul, an ill-starred businessman who is trying to make a living selling king crabs at a fish market. One day, while driving his wife Ji-Soo (Ji-Hyo Song) home, a car bumps into the back of his at the traffic lights. The car in question belongs to Ki-Tae (Seong-oh Kim), a gangster running a human trafficking operation. After the couple have an argument with the vehicle’s driver, Ki-Tae gets out and apologises to them. After vowing to report the incident, they continue their drive home.
The following evening, Dong-chul and Ji-Soo go out for a meal. However, they have a bust-up in the middle of the restaurant and the latter decides to take a taxi home. When she arrives, she is abducted by Ki-Tae and his men, resulting in Dong-chul embarking on a two-fisted crusade to get her back with the help of his best buddy Chun-Sik (Ji-hwan Park) and a bumbling private eye named Kwon (Min-jae Kim).
Watch a trailer:
A serviceable thriller but lacking in new ideas
Dong-seok Ma (billed as Don Lee) is the best thing about this fairly standard Taken-style abduction thriller. During the action sequences, he’s a hulking and imposing presence who effortlessly hurls his opponents around like King Kong on steroids. On the other, hand, he possesses a certain gentle humility during the quieter moments that makes him immensely easy to root for.
The film itself is quite serviceable but goes on for too long (the 117-minute runtime should have been reduced to 100 minutes at most) and ultimately offers very little that’s new. Seong-oh Kim makes for a regulation psychotic villain, whilst Min-jae Kim and Ji-hwan Park function as little more than comic relief sidekicks. The action is well-handled but generally amounts to little more than sundry villainous henchmen getting pummelled around and thrown into furniture.
Unstoppable passes the time ok but, as South Korean thrillers go, it’s a long way off the likes of Oldboy, I Saw the Devil or The Villainess.
Runtime: 117 mins
Dir: Kim Min-Ho
Script: Kim Min-Ho
Starring: Dong-seok Ma, Ji-Hyo Song, Seong-oh Kim, Min-jae Kim, Ji-hwan Park