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DVD Review



Starring: Kim Seung-woo, Kim Yoon-jin, Choi Min-soo and Kim Sun Ah
Tartan Video Asia Extreme
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 15
Available 14 April 2008

The Year is 2020 and Seol is now a major city in the unified Korea, which holds the bright new promise of tomorrow and the squalid decay of the past within its bosom. Police officer Seok is still mourning the death of his own child when he is put in charge of a serial murder case. Chance plays a hand when he meets Hui-su whose father, the chief of police, becomes the next victim. Together, with his crack team, they chase down the elusive Goliath, who appears to be killing for motives other than money or politics, but as they get closer to their prey, they also get closer to some truths about themselves...

Yesterday (2002) is a Korean Sci-Fi thriller directed by Yun-su Jeon. The films greatest claim to fame in the west is that it co-stars Yunjin Kim, who also plays Sun Kwon in Lost.

It won’t be spoiling the film to discuss the plot as it is so overly convoluted that I had to watch the thing twice to understand what was going on. This complex plot is one of the problems with the film. I can accept the ripping off of some of the visual style from Bladerunner, the omnipresent skyscrapers and the floating advertising drones, the occasional shot of our dour detective hero walking around in the rain, but what is fairly unforgivable about the film is the lengths that Jeon goes to in order to avoid producing a convincing and coherent narrative. The film is shot full of flash backs, which are not immediately discernable from the contemporary story, so it is often easy to get lost.

The second problem with the film is the acting. Seung-woo Kim, as the lead detective Seok, is dour. When he’s not being dour he’s moody or lost in contemplation, this does not exactly give the actor a great range to play with. This problem also extends to Yunjin Kim’s portrayal of Hui-su, who is also contemplative, or moody, or dour. As you
 can probably imagine, the scenes between these two are often akin to watching paint dry.

All is not lost in the acting stakes as his team show more individualism, though the lack of any back story or point of reference makes it difficult for the audience to care as they are killed one by one. The exception here is Seon-a Kim who plays May, your archetypal black clad kick arse female cop - at least we get to see her laugh at one point.

The third problem is with the print, it’s just too dark. The first part of the film is one protracted fight scene, where it is difficult to know who is shooting at who.

If viewed as a low budget thriller this is not too bad a film - up to the level of a made for television movie - and if viewed on that level it is as enjoyable as it is confusing. Once all the fluff has been wiped away it's not unfair to say that if you replace the replicants with clones then this film owes more than a little to Bladerunner.

Audio options are straight forward stereo or Dolby 5.1 surround with the option of English subtitles. The disc contains no extras, not even a trailer. That sucks!


Charles Packer

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