[ADMIN’S REVIEW] Veteran: Not Your Typical Korean Action Film
I’ve read many reviews about Veteran, and now I got all the hype about it.
I watched this movie with my friends on Saturday night, September 26, in our local theater. We met Yoo Ah In’s standing banner on the hallway and were greeted by the film’s signboards.
we got Veteran rounded-fan for buying three tickets 😀
Right from the film’s get-go, the theater was already filled with laughter. We were taken from one roller-coaster trip to another for one and a half hour and we couldn’t stop laughing. It was full of laughtrip. There is just no room for breathing, both for the comical and the intense scenes.
Quoting Mike McGranaghan, Veteran is electrifying in the way it generates suspense, abruptly stops to allow for a brief moment of comic relief, then effortlessly resumes the suspense.
Veteran is not your typical Korean drama’s story. Yes, it is a movie, but when people expect a dramatic epic story from Veteran just like most Korean movies and dramas tend to exert as their common element, this is not what they will find. (There was one scene though, which put tears in my eyes, but if I tell you it means I will spill out more spoilers).
Borrowing Korea Time’s movie columnist Jason Bechervaise, Veteran demonstrates that summer tentpole films don’t necessarily need big budgets to pull in strong numbers. I may add, they don’t need the pretentious either.
Veteran is a full blown-out action thriller with the full blown-out detective squad and villain. Simply put, Veteran is a story about the good cops vs the bad guys, where the good cops win in the end, in a Jackie Chan-style movie pre-Hollywood debut.
You won’t find any justification of Jo Tae Oh’s voracious action and monstrous character -such as that of typical daddy issue, neither the love line between the characters or “drama” clichés in any sorts. Jo Tae Oh (Yoo Ah In) is just a downright no moral compass guy, and Seo Do Cheol (Hwang Jung Min) is just a hilarious cartoon stubborn cop. But boy, how we root for them. Watching these two go head-to-head is thrilling.
The strong elements from this movie is the fast-paced action and the story. Ryu Seung Wan said that Veteran is a popcorn film. But making the audience enjoyed the movie throughout and even re-watched it twice, thrice for more, is what Veteran successfully did.
The success key is the chaebol’s atrocious story that must have had plenty of resonances in Korea (and also in my country). It has hugely resonated as a cathartic ride-along with a true-blue cop, personally delivering justice in a system where the rich and powerful always seem to have the upper hand. The black and white story takes this simple movie up a notch to another level.
However, for the general audience who doesn’t familiar with (or couldn’t careless about) the chaebol and corrupt justice system, Veteran is still amusing throughout. Each cop’s character, no matter how small his portion is, brings hilarity, even with just one or two punchlines.
All the characters, from the good to the bad guys, are not wasted. They made the story even more filling. Even for the subtle and small parts, Jung Woong In (he surprised me because I’m used to his villainous roles in the past) execute well.
Yoo Ah In did a great job of depicting such as ruthless pampered sociopathic heir to a family-owned mega corporation. He perfectly conveyed how the character’s sense of self-entitlement has reached dangerous extremes. Every time the cops showed up on the screen the theater laughed, and every time he showed up with that disturbing child-like smile, the theater turned quiet and we felt anxious.
Yoo Ah In made me want to smack his boyish face and kick his perky ass the way Miss Bong does. There was a scene where Jo Tae Oh’s bodyguard strangled his neck in the combat practice session, and I half-wished that he broke it quickly for the better world. It’s a bonus that Yoo Ah In really did well in the bare-hand fight scenes, I don’t mind him doing it all day long.
The film moves quickly from one scene to another, that if we don’t pay much attention to it, we will miss some good things. I guess that’s why most people watched it again and again, because it is invigorating.
Two things that I want more from Veteran: First, the car-chasing scene in Myeongdong’s hustle bustle street is really good. I paid attention to this scene since Director Ryu said that Yoo Ah In drove the car by himself without a substitute driver. But, in the end I expected more bare hand fights between Hwang Jung Min and Yoo Ah In in Myeongdong street. I think this part could be the culminating scene than the car-chasing. I really want to see it moar!
And second, I wish Miss Bong (played by Jang Yoon Ju) gets a lot more screen time and shows more ass-kicking. She’s a badass woman, just like Hwang Jung Min’s sassy yet elegant wife (played by Jin Kyung). It’s pretty rare to see strong women like them in the Korean action films, so this is refreshing too.
I told my friends that Veteran is Jang Yoon Ju’s first film ever, and they were very surprised. Because there was not even tiny bit trace of awkwardness in her acting. She deserves more recognition.
I shall not forget to mention Cheon Ho Jin’s superb acting as the honest, cool and fun detective supervisor ever. He has limited screen time but gets people excited every time he is on. I’m happy that he will reunite with Yoo Ah In in Six Flying Dragons. Can’t wait to watch them in one scene.
That’s all my first impressions on Veteran. I will watch this movie again next week and see what I have missed. Lastly, quoting Twitch Film journalist Pierce Conran: Ryoo Seung-wan’s latest plays even better with a crowd. Go see it with your friends and have fun watching!
– Furbabe –