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Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Berlin File Movie Review

Ryoo Seung-wan's "The Berlin File" confirms the director's prowess as an action director of note. The South Korean has crafted a film of absolutely frenetic pace and, despite the spinning plot twists that might leave you having a problem separating the good guys from the bad guys, it's worth it.

The setting is post-cold war Berlin and the spies include North and South Koreans, Americans, Germans, Arabs and Israelis, and possibly some others that I could not identify.

Jong-sung (Ha Jung-woo) is a North Korean agent who is part of a meeting in a hotel room where an illegal arms deal is taking place. Every foreign agent in town apparently knows it's going on and the South Koreans have a particular connection, having had everything in the room previously wired. They watch and listen as the combatants dicker over the specifics of the deal. The deal goes bad and Jong-sung kills a bunch of them during his escape. South Korean intelligence operative Jin-Soo (Han Suk-kyu), who has been watching the proceedings sets out after him.

Myung-Soo (Ryoo Seung-beom), another North Korean agent has a different agenda. He has gone rogue and is out to convince their superiors that Jong-sung and his wife are traitors. Jong-sung is unaware of this. All he knows is that things keep happening to him and his wife and he is trying to make sense of it all.

The rest of "The Berlin File" is a series of chases, gunfights, hand-to-hand combat and unfurling of everyone's motives. The action is impeccable. The stunts are as good as one could ask for. The set and look of the film are both beautifully executed. Despite a plot that is a tad shaky at times, and my usual distaste for action flicks, I had a great time. If you like action, file this one in the must-see pile.

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