Tuesday, March 10, 2009

REC 75%: No mercy for the rude [2006]

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Startling shifts between post-modern comedy and brutal violence mark tyro writer-helmer Park Chulhee’s “No Mercy for the Rude” as an ultra-hip variation on the ever-popular Korean hit man subgenre. Crackerjack pace, absurdist set pieces and an intriguing lead perf by Shin Hakyun as a mute killer-for-hire have helped boost pic to solid local returns since its Aug. 24 opening, and rousing response at the Vancouver festival points to promising offshore returns at fests and upscale markets on both sides of the Pacific. If ever there were a Korean import aimed at Stateside auds and ready for the Tarantino seal-of-approval, this is it.

An early sign of the film’s strategy of unsettling the viewer is how anti-hero Killa (Shin, looking super-cool) narrates his story, even though he has long refused to talk until he gets an operation to fix a severe speech impediment. To pay for the operation, Killa has opted to work as an assassin, but the knife-wielding killer will only do in obnoxious, nasty targets.

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