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  Typhoon Gone With The Wind
Year: 2005
Director: Teung-Taek Kwak
Stars: Dong-Kun Jang, Jung-Jae Lee, Mi-yeon Lee, David McInnis, David No, Chatthapong Pantanaunkul
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Twenty years ago a pair of young siblings from China were not allowed to gain asylum in South Korea, even after their parents had been killed by Chinese soldiers. They were separated and the young boy grew up to be Choi (Dong-Kun Jang), an extremely bitter terrorist who bore a huge grudge against Korea, so much so that he implemented a devious plan. In the Pacific, an American ship carrying a secret cargo was intercepted by Choi's pirates, and so began a threat to the Koreans, North and South, that only one man could prevent...

And that man is James Bond! No, not really, but some saw the similarities between this East Asian action movie and the British agent. However, look a little closer and you'd see that despite the ginormous scheming of its villain this film was more concerned with his inner life, making this an improbable psychological thriller on a grand scale. It was scripted by its director Teung-Taek Kwak and in the tradiition of such things, it was the characters' pasts which loomed large in their present and future.

The man who is out to stop Choi is a South Korean agent, Kang (Jung-Jae Lee), our would-be hero who is far less charismatic (or some would say, less over the top) than the bad guy, and has few qualms about shooting innocent bystanders when it comes to completing his mission. These early scenes of him exhibiting his violent streak don't exactly enamour him to you, although presumably they are intended to show him as the most determined man for the job.

What it actually does is make you sympathise with Choi, and if he weren't planning to kill millions of people with nuclear waste in a second Chernobyl disaster kind of way, you might want to see him turn his life around. The only person he seems to care about is his sister (Mi-yeon Lee) who is tracked down by our hero and found to be suffering from a brain tumour (not the luckiest family around, are they?), but Choi is obsessed with meeting her again nevertheless.

Kang manages to set this up, but the trade for the sister and the nuclear material comes a cropper and the poor woman ends up suffering a gunshot wound (see what I mean?). Choi spirits her away to his waiting ship he renames "Typhoon" which promptly sails into not one but two typhoons, ensuring the film lives up to its title for a spectacular finale. Visually, the film is hard to fault, but alas it's so heavy going with many ponderous character asides to build up the emotional resonances that it becomes something of a bore. Frankly, there's not much fun to be had, and the action sequences could have been more frequent too.

[Premier Asia's two disc Region 2 DVD has the film on one disc and the extras on the other, including a making of featurette, interviews and production diaries.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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