9 February 2010 | divemaster13
Wow, this action/comedy gangster/heist flick really delivers the goods!
Mix several parts "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels," a dash of "Go," a smidgen of "True Romance," and fights as brutal as "Fight Club" (but with women giving and taking beatings as much or moreso than the men) -- put it all through the filter of a Korean gangster film and you have "No Blood, No Tears," a tour de force by hot young director Seung-wan Ryoo ("Die Bad"; "Crying Fist").
The plot is complex. But not so that you can't follow what is going on as it happens. Don't plan on being two jumps ahead, however. Just let the movie come to you and you will be rewarded.
The whole issue of the heist and most of the fights (which are pretty brutal) don't really come into play until the second half of the film, but there is plenty of good stuff in the first half to get you there.
The story is centered around two good female leads. Hye-yeong Lee plays Kyeong-seon, who owes the local neighborhood loan shark a lot of money. She's got a certain past and tends to solve problems by a beer bottle across the head or a kick to the gut. Then we have Su-ji (played by Do-yeon Jeon)--the frequently smacked around moll of a low-level gangster. A chance encounter puts them together and gets the wheels turning on how they can make off with a whole lot of the high-level gangster's money.
There are double crosses, triple crosses, and lots of surprises along the way. A multitude of other characters play important roles. Inept police detectives; idiotic street punks who switch back and forth from being informants for the police and trying to get in on the goods themselves; loan collectors who don't know if they should start taking off fingers or sit down and eat lunch with the debtor. Perhaps most impressive is a gangster tough (credited as "Silent Man") played by famed martial arts action director Doo-hong Jung. He has a great fight scene where he really gets to strut his stuff.
If you are tired of the same old Hollywood plots, fights, and chases, do yourself a favor and seek this film out.