Country: South Korea
Movie Review: Set in 1933, “Assassination” is a historical espionage thriller that focuses on the Korean resistance movement created in the aftermath of the Japanese invasion of Korea. Plotting against the Japanese leaders, a group of exiled rebels, operating from Manchuria, China, seek to avenge the fall of their country in the hands of the illegitimate occupiers and recover what was taken from them. The assassinations are planned to occur in Gyeongseong (Seoul), and the targets include the Japanese high-ranked commander, Kawaguchi, and a pro-Japanese Korean businessman, Kang In-gook. The only one capable of leading this mission is An Ok-yun (Jun Ji-hyun), an infallible sniper who has first to be released from a Shanghai prison, where she’s serving time with her dauntless mates: the guns' aficionado, Big Gun, and the expert in explosives, Hwang Deok-sam. In charge of taking them out of the prison is Yeom Seok-jin, an agent of the provisional Korean government who had managed to escape out of prison in 1911. Embracing the risky mission with all her strength, An Ok-yun will also have the chance to meet with her estranged twin sister, Mitsuko, who was separated from her when they were babies, and now is going to marry commander Kawaguchi. The mission becomes even more complicated when she finds out there’s an informer among her comrades. Moreover, two inexorable assassins, Hawaii Pistol and his follower, Old Man, were hired to destroy the team and stop the mission. Director and co-writer, Choi Dong-hoon, who had fairly entertained me in his previous “The Thieves”, could have done much better here. Sadly, the several conspiracies, ambushes, traps, and shootouts, are presented with a phoniness that pushed me away from the story in an early stage. Mr. Dong-hoon, regardless having recreated the period with nice looking images by the cinematographer, Kim Woo-hyung, assembled a cheap Hollywood imitation thwarted by a scattered narrative, convoluted plot, lack of conviction in choosing the direction to be taken, and indistinguishable characters that didn’t show sufficient arguments to make us care. In addition, the excessive duration of the movie increases the viewer’s discouragement in the face of an inept execution that never spoke with a voice of its own.