|Starring||Lee Jehoon, Woo-sik Choi, Jae-hong Ahn|
|Alternative Names||사냥의 시간|
In a future, dystopian Korea, two young men on the fringe of current society welcome back their friend from a 3 year prison term.
He has a plan to get their lives back on track.
But a highly trained and efficient killer hunts after them after their successful black market casino heist.
Welcome to this review of the Korean thriller Time To Hunt. A fair warning that this review contains spoilers so look out for the heading in the sections below.
What's this Movie About?
Jang Ho, played by Jao-hong Anh from Secret Zoo, and Ki Hoon, played by Woo-sik Choi from Parasite, welcome back their friend Jun Seok, played by TV actor Lee Jehoon, into the new Korea – a dystopian future where Korea is under extreme international financial pressure, where the Won is worth nothing and payments are made in US dollars.
Their area has been turned into a slum, but Jun Seok has a plan. He wants to use the money they stole before he went to prison to move to Taiwan, open a shop and live in peace.
When he is told that the money is worth nothing, they devise a plan, alongside a fourth member Sang Soo, to rob the safe of a mob-run casino.
Thinking they’ve gotten away with the heist, they plan their escape to Taiwan, only to come face to face with Han, played by another TV actor in Hae-soo Park, a highly skilled and efficient assassin who hunts them down.
Is it Worth Watching?
This is a movie of two very clear halves, and if you are like me, you’ll like one half and loathe the other. More on that will be covered in the upcoming sections.
As a thriller, its fairly average. There is the required tension built up all through out the film, but it’s let down by the way it ends up being played out.
The cast is solid, and the acting is spot on. So let’s move onto the next section…
What are Some of the Memorable Moments?
The first half is where all the interest in the movie will be. It opens up in this broken-down Korean city where something has happened that has shifted the power balance to the powerful.
Visually, this is presented in a way that Korea is well known for. Large detailed sets are filled with destruction and vandalism that really highlight that the world has gone to hell.
Our two main characters are just a couple of lost souls who are desperate to get their lives back on track. They want to go legit, but their criminal records won’t allow it.
The heist of the casino is the most thrilling aspect of this film. There is a real sense of accomplishment when this motley crew of low level amateurs steal a large volume of cash from the faceless casino gang. Their plan goes off without a hitch, and you can debate how realistic that is, but this is a movie, and you feel relief for our characters when they manage to make their successful getaway.
What's Not So Hot?
Before we head into Spoiler Territory, let’s talk about some of the things that let down the second half of the film.
First is the rather swift and unwelcomed shift from focussing on the dystopian world, to a gang trying to outrun a determined killer. I wanted to know more about this world we were presented with. How did Korea end up like this? It is the biggest unanswered question of this whole movie.
The second, as I covered in the previous section, is this “faceless” gang who run the casino. At no time are we shown why they are bad, or what bad things they have done that deserve them to be robbed. They’re just an unexplored and unexplained plot device that quickly forgotten about after the heist.
Now onto the spoilers
We never learn anything about Han, the assassin who hunts the three boys down. He seems to be this unstoppable and unkillable being who either is tied to the police force or just has very high up friends. But we never find out anything about him and why he is so efficient. When we are introduced to him, he is interrogating and threatening the man who sold the boys their weapons. The characters seems to know who this guy is, but no one ever thought to tell the audience who they were.
There is also a very confusing, almost stupid scene, in the carpark of the hotel where the assassin lets the three boys go because he wants to hunt them. Sorry, what? His job is to hunt and kill these guys, he has them dead to rights, but decides he wants to play a game with them?
Sorry, that doesn’t fly right with the type of character he is. And it was at this point of the movie where I completely lost interest in caring what happened in the rest of the film, and considering it happens just after the half way point, that’s a lot of time left watching a movie that I’d lost respect for.
Had the filmmaker explored more of the world and setting our characters were in, then this would have been a really interesting movie. Otherwise, if it wasn’t going to be explored at all, it shouldn’t have been used as a setting.
If the movie wanted to be a tale an unstoppable and efficient assassin who wants to kill the three men, then it should have started by exploring him as a character and giving him more of a backstory.
And don’t get me started on the ending.
My recommendation is: Your Choice. Check it out on Netflix now.
If you’ve seen it, what did you think?