former mercenary like Baek Yeo-hun would never be the good guy in a Hollywood
movie. “Good” is a strong term for the former employee of a Blackwater-like
outfit, but he is immeasurably better than the cabal of crooked cops running
rampant through the city. Inconveniently, Baek nearly starts the film as the
dead guy, but an unsuspecting ER doctor has the misfortune of saving his life
in Chang’s The Target (trailer here), the Korean
remake-reconception of Fred Cavayé’s Point Blank, which releases today on DVD and digital, from Lionsgate.
adapting Cavayé’s French fugitive-style thriller, Chang (a.k.a. Yun Hong-seung)
opted to go bigger and bolder every chance he could. Instead of a burglary, Baek
steps into a frame-up intended for his developmentally challenged brother. They
were not expecting someone with Baek’s particular set of skills, but he nearly
makes a premature exit anyway. Dr. Lee Tae-jun manages to save him, but he is
rewarded for his troubles with the abduction of his mega-pregnant wife, Jeong
Hui-ju. The kidnapper’s demand is straight forward, but difficult to execute—trade
the recuperating Baek for Jeong.
Dr. Lee smuggles the suspect out of the hospital, turning into an outlaw as a
result. Unfortunately, Baek refuses to cooperate, giving the doctor the slip.
Eventually, Lee will catch up to Baek—and they will even join forces when they
realize a band of corrupt coppers is trying to kill them both.
the formerly comatose anti-hero was a mere safecracker in Cavayé’s original,
albeit one played by the hardnosed Roschdy Zem, Baek is a bad cat of an
entirely different stripe. He takes over the movie from the innocent Wrong Man doctor, turning it into an old
school beatdown. He is the kind of grizzled action hero who can easily take on
twenty men at once. It might not be credible, but it is really fun to watch.
of like the original, Target climaxes
with a showdown in the police station, but Chang cranks up the action to levels
nearly as earth-shaking as Alan Yuen’s explosive Firestorm. He really lets Seoul institutional buildings have it, unleashing
all kinds of bedlam in the hospital and police station. However, Jun Chul-hong’s
adapted screenplay also increases the emotional stakes with the addition of
honest Inspector Jeong Yeong-ju’s implied lesbian relationship with her junior partner,
is totally in Ryu Seung-ryong’s steely, hardboiled power zone and he duly
knocks it out of the park. He is perfectly counterbalanced by Yu Jun-sang, who
is flamboyantly evil as Senior Inspector Song Gi-cheol, the ruthless
mastermind. Although he loses a lot of screen time in the translation, Lee
Jin-uk manages to withstand the withering force of Ryu and Yu’s hardcore personas.
Somehow, Kim Seong-ryeong and Jo Eun-ji also manage to add some depth as Inspector
Jeong and Park.
Wrongfully accused thrillers sometimes get a bit
angsty because of the alienation involved, but like Choi Ho’s rock’em sock’em Big Match, Chang keeps the adrenaline amped
so far up, genre fans will not sweat the dire existential stakes and just enjoy
the ride. Crackling good fun, The Target is
enthusiastically recommended for action fans. It is now available on DVD and
digital from Lionsgate.
Labels: Action films, DVD, Korean Cinema, Remakes