Released on June 23, Hard Hit became the first South Korean film this year, which received 500 thousand viewers (a total of 952,000 people watched at the end of its broadcast), marking the revival of the cinema industry there. Next, Escape from Mogadishu (best-selling so far with more than 3.4 million views), Sinkhole, and Hostage: Missing Celebrity successfully broke the six-digit number.
Hard Hit is the second remake of the Spanish film Retribution (2015). A third Hollywood-produced remake (also titled Retribution) is shooting, with Liam Neeson starring. Yes, this is a show that sells action-packed suspense, so its financial success is understandable, and why the remake rights are selling well. Best Movie Site
The plot doesn’t waste time, it immediately positions us in the middle of the action. Seong-gyu (Jo Woo-jin), head of the head office of a bank in Busan, was dropping off his two children, Hye-in (Lee Jae-in) and Min-joon (Kim Tae-yool), when an unknown cell phone rang from in the dashboard. The voice of a mysterious man (Ji Chang-wook), who claims to have planted a bomb under Seong-gyu’s car seat, is heard.
The man asked for some money. If he doesn’t, or Seong-gyu goes to the police, he will detonate the bomb. Also because it works like a mine, aka activated by pressure, the bomb will also explode if a passenger gets out of the car.
Interesting material, but difficult to execute, because both the script and directing (both handled by Kim Chang-ju, who previously was the editor of many big titles such as Snowpiercer, The Admiral: Roaring Currents, A Hard Day, etc.), had to be creative. , although the majority of the story is only set in a car.
The key to a film with this kind of concept is centered on one question, “What does the protagonist do?”. Hard Hit’s protagonist is not an ex-military or undercover agent. Seong-gyu is just an ordinary private employee. Naturally, he just obeyed, and did not rack his brain harder to get around the perpetrator’s trap. It’s not that he’s not smart enough, but that he’s not mentally trained enough to deal with critical situations (which makes the ending seem forced).
Then what does Seong-gyu do? Raise money by calling VIP clients to invest right away. “The process of raising money” does sound tedious compared to “trying to set a bomb.” Can be successful, as long as it is supported by qualified directing. When the gas pedal is pressed and you’re speeding around the city, or each bomb explodes unexpectedly (there’s a bomb other than the one in Seong-gyu’s car), Chang-ju is capable of creating intense action. Movie Review
When it comes to bringing the action out of the car, on a larger scale, Hard Hit is quite entertaining. On the other hand, if the conflict scales down, focusing purely on the dynamics between people, Chang-ju doesn’t seem to know what to do. Monotone. Boring. Even Jo Woo-jin’s all-out performance as a frustrated man behind the wheel, as well as Lee Jae-in’s dramatic talent, who has recently gained popularity thanks to the drama Racket Boys, didn’t help much. If Jin Kyung wasn’t wasted, and his character, Yeong-hee, the leader of the bomb disposal team, was given more portion, maybe this film would have added dynamics.
Hard Hit’s biggest hole is indeed in the writing. There is a subtext about how a heartless corporation can destroy anyone, even internally, but is too shallow to leave an emotional impact. Likewise, the effort of the script to lead the audience to sympathize with the actor. Due to the shallow characterizations that fail to translate the grief (later developing into revenge) of his character, it is difficult to justify his actions, which do not feel sorry for small children.
Besides being shallow and monotonous, Hard Hit is also too dependent on police blunders. Seriously, the cops in this movie are really stupid. They are not aware that Seong-gyu was threatened and thought he was the bomber, did not verify when there was a foreign man claiming to be Seong-gyu’s brother, and other stupidities, which were present not as criticism of the incompetence of the apparatus, but purely as a tool the script used for the sake of give rise to conflict. Top Movie