- 2 hr 5 min
Shiri is a 1999 South Korean action-thriller film directed by Kang Je-gyu. The film stars Han Suk-kyu, Choi Min-sik, and Yunjin Kim. Shiri was the first film in South Korea to surpass 2 million tickets sold. The movie is about government agents tracking down a terrorist organization that plans to take over South Korea by detonating a powerful bomb in the heart of Seoul.
Shiri begins with a prologue detailing North and South Korean relations, and how South Korea has welcomed North Korean defectors. We then meet Jinwoo (Han Suk-kyu), a fiercely determined South Korean intelligence officer who is tasked with tracking down the members of a North Korean terrorist group operating in South Korea. He is joined by his partner, Lee Jang-gil (Song Kang-ho), and they begin to track down the members of the terrorist group.
The intelligence officers' search for the terrorists leads them into contact with two assassins, including the beautiful Hee (Kim Yun-jin), who happens to be the ex-girlfriend of the group's leader, Park (Choi Min-sik). As the story unfolds, the terroristsâ plan becomes clear â to plant a powerful bomb at a highly sensitive location in Seoul, causing mass destruction and political chaos.
As the deadline for the terrorist attack approaches, Jinwoo and Jang-gil race against time to prevent the bomb from being detonated. The chase leads them through the streets of Seoul, into the tunnels connecting the North and South, and finally to the place where the bomb is hidden.
The main characters of Jinwoo, Hee, and Park are all well-developed and complex. Han Suk-kyu brings intensity and focus to his performance, and manages to capture the determination of a highly trained intelligence operative. Choi Min-sik gives Park a malevolent presence, and often carries the scenes he is in with his gravitas.
However, the standout performance of the film is from Yunjin Kim, who plays Hee. She brings a complexity and depth to her character that is rarely seen in action-film heroines. She is both the lover and nemesis of Jinwoo, and her character arc is the most interesting of the three main characters.
The filmâs action scenes are well-choreographed and intense. There is a striking sequence in the movie where the two main characters engage in a tense standoff that reveals the hidden connection between them. The film's pacing is brisk, and director Kang Je-gyu keeps the audience engaged throughout the tense and suspenseful story.
What sets Shiri apart from other action-thrillers, however, is its commentary on the divide between North and South Korea, and the political implications of their relationship. The film's exploration of the various political factions at play is well-handled, and ultimately leads to a satisfying climax.
The filmâs soundtrack, composed by Lee Dong-jun, is also noteworthy. The main theme is haunting and melancholy, underscoring the somber tone of the film. The music complements the narrative and enhances the emotional depth of the characters.
In conclusion, Shiri is a remarkable action-thriller that impresses both in terms of storytelling and technical execution. With its well-developed characters, intense action sequences, and political commentary, the movie is often hailed as a classic of Korean cinema. The movie's success has paved the way for a new era of Korean action-thrillers and has allowed the world to see the true potential of South Korean filmmaking.
Shiri is a 1999 action movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 5 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5 and a MetaScore of 50.