My unintentional focus this year was on the films of Korean action star and self-avowed nightclubber Ryoo Seung Beom. I picked my films this year largely on the mood I happen to be in that day, and that day I happened to be in the mood for a lot of slick, big-budget crime and espionage films.
Bloody Tie sports all the polish and big budget precision typical of Korean action films but combines it with a frenetic, almost anarchic approach that makes the entire thing feel like it’s totally bonkers. The closest comparison is Nowhere to Hide, but you’d have to mix it up with Goodfellas and Battles Without and Humanity.
The script should be giving us something more to root for in Sang-hwan other than “he’s the Chosen One,” but he never really gets much character redemption. He’s a lunkheaded, inconsiderate buffoon when we meet him, and he remains as such throughout the movie. I was wishing he would just get shuffled to the background.
The movie hits the ground running with ice-cold North Korean spy Pyo involved in an arms deal in Berlin that rapidly goes south. The South Koreans, led by disillusioned veteran Jeong, were looking to make a bust they hoped might lead them to a secret bank account that was kept by recently departed Kim Jong-il.