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  • The plot to assassinate Japanese high ranking officers takes a group of Korean agents into spiral of betrayal. It is told in surprisingly large scale, shifting back and forth to events preceding and following its historic attempt told by numerous characters. In heart, it is an excellent drama with focus on stylish noir cinematography and slick visceral action.

    Story admittedly takes a bit to gain momentum. There's an intricate web of espionage and it might get overwhelming with its many timelines and characters. The back stabbing or direct front shooting could get confusing early on. Fortunately, after it sets the foundation the pace pushes forward relentlessly until the end. Ji-hyun Jun as An Ohk-Yun the lady sniper is impeccable, she's attractive on-screen and also looking very capable for the demanding spy role.

    Acting is great all around, considering there are many intersecting personalities, everyone plays their part amicably and these characters are presentably memorable. It offers a few subplots, which might seem overly dramatic or cliché at first, although the presentation is adequately precise in ensuring that it remains a legitimate drama thriller.

    The action is superb, capitalizing its last century setting and multitude of fancy oriental scenes. Barrage of bullets and deception are portrayed with massive intensity. It plays with fight scenes as well as gun-slinging action remarkably well. Furthermore, the slick nature resembles the quirky bloody showing from Tarantino movies, the flamboyant flair is a treat for action fans.

    There's no lack of treachery, vengeance and sheer animosity in the harsh era which may feel overburdened at times. Still, with exquisite human drama and solid action, Assassination keeps the aim steady to deliver a delightfully exhilarating spy thriller.
  • This is a marvelous film about the Japanese oppression suffered by the Koreans over 4 decades. Most of the film is set in 1933 during an assassination attempt on a Korean collaborator and a Japanese official responsible for horrors inflicted on the Koreans in Manchuria in 1931.

    The central character is a sniper for the Korean Independence Army (Jun Ji-hyun) who takes on the assignment. The film is filled with all sorts of interesting characters, with names like "Hawaii Pistol" and "Big Gun", and there are double crosses and even triple crosses along the way.

    The photography is terrific, the atmosphere is nostalgic, and even the music adds to the film's value. Writer-Director Choi Dong hoon keeps the acting moving right along.

    Rather than merely an assassination film, this is more of a story of relationships, and at the core is one family's journey through the tumultuous times, although you may not recognize this at first.

    The subtitles are a little hard to read, and some of the characters are hard to tell apart, but otherwise this is an excellent film. I was particularly taken with the acting of Jun Ji-hyun and Ha Jung- woo
  • "Assassination" or "Amsal" is an engaging and epic mixture of an espionage action film and a historically inspired drama. Both genre parts are equally balanced and the modern special effects aren't so overloaded that they feel out of context in a movie set more than eighty years ago. The film convinces with an intellectually appealing script, diversified and great characters and acting performances and a solid mixture of historically inspired storytelling, personal drama parts and tense action scenes. There is no doubt that this is one of the best movies of the year.

    Over the course of almost two and a half hours, the film tells the story of an assassination attempt on a Japanese governor and a pro-Japanese Korean business tycoon by Korean resistance activists during Japan's colonial rule of Korea. The movie is set at different times and even the perspectives slightly change which makes the movie a little bit hard to follow in the beginning. The film takes all the time it needs to introduce the different characters and the historical settings which adds a lot of depth to the characters, details to the historic elements and emotions to the story. These are the reasons why the slightly long introduction that might be hard to sit through for wider audiences is absolutely essential to the rest of the movie.

    The first slow-paced hour builds up to the furious last ninety minutes of the film. The final two thirds of the film feature a stellar acting performance, a smart use of camera angles, costumes, locations, soundtrack and special effects by the director and a clever story with many predictable but also unpredictable twists and turns in form of different conspiracies.

    Especially the fate of female sniper Ahn OK-yun who is portrayed by an absolutely stunning Jun Ji-hyun in the best performance of her career is a key element of the movie. Most viewers will probably care a lot about the twisted ups and downs of this engaging character.

    The showdown of the movie is one of the best directed action scenes in world cinema this year and in the history of Korean cinema in general. It's not as memorable as the fighting scenes in "Oldboy", "The Man from Nowhere" or "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" but it gets quite close and has a breathtaking choreography. The coda of the movie which takes place almost two decades after the actions of the main plot is an excellent way to end a great movie on a high note.

    Due to it's complex story and high number of directional ideas, I would recommend watching this movie several times. This emotional action-drama is definitely worth your attention and one of the cinematic highlights of the year. I can't wait to revisit this great film and buy this movie on DVD or Blu-ray next year.
  • It's another amazing film from Korea.

    There was a lot of stuff to take in, that could be overwhelming for someone like me who has to use subtitles to keep up.

    A lot of sub stories were going on around the main story of Japanese occupation of Korea.

    Lucky for me the film making was very visual, the best way to weave a movie so it was not hard to understand everything that was going on and there was a lot, but it all fit together beautifully.

    The cinematography was well done as well as the costumes designs and I loved the action sequences. There was scenes that used CGI, but they did not over use it which is done too much in pictures.

    Very impressive.
  • The always entertaining Gianna Jun headlines Assassination, a thrilling historic drama set during the 1930s in Japanese Occupied Korea. An OK-Yoon (Jun) is an expert marksman released from prison to execute a daring plot. Hired by Yeom Suk-Jin (Lee Jung-Jae), she is to take Soksapo (Cho Jin-Woong) and Hwang Deok-Sam (Choi Duk-Moon) to Seoul, where they will terminate Kang In-Gook (Lee Kyoung-Young), a vile Japanese sympathizer.

    At the same time, Hawaii Pistol (Ha Jung-Woo) and his accomplice Younggam (Oh Dal-Su), two expert assassins who care only for profit, are hired to eliminate the assassination team, though problems arise when Hawaii Pistol confronts OK-Yoon, and finds himself torn between his mission, and a possible future with his beautiful target.

    Unlike Choi-Dong Hoon's The Thieves, where audiences were left guessing which characters had nefarious agendas, the director in this instance reveals the identity of the traitor almost immediately. This however, does not come at the expense of the plot, as we watch how the villain manipulates other characters, and eventually begins to psychologically suffer from living a treacherous existence. Often during the film, audiences are privy to information that characters are denied, and though we acknowledge interconnections between characters that even they know nothing of, further details could have been provided to flesh out the heroes and antagonists alike. As an example, though clues are provided as to why OK-Yoon was given a prison-sentence, a definitive answer is never provided.

    Again, unlike The Thieves, the use of humorous dialogue is kept to a minimum, accentuating the morbid tone the film primarily exhibits. The action scenes moreover are very entertaining, heightened by the settings, that are occasionally rarely seen in such a genre, the explosions and gun battles that take place dazzling the screen. At the same time though, these scenes predominately transpire later, the film being more of a war drama, than an action film.

    Assassination is set over several decades, the way the multiple narratives intersect to reveal how moments shape the plot, alongside character's lives, accentuating the story. At the same time however, the stereotypical Korean melodrama does render the film predictable, poignant moments in the narrative being capitalized to gather emotive reactions from viewers, the resulting consequences being very foreseeable, which diminishes some of the film's more powerful moments.

    The feature is a very typical war film, in that it represents only one side of the confrontation, in this case, the Koreans, who are portrayed as sympathetic victims. This is heightened by the villainous qualities of the antagonists, Japanese soldiers like Kawaguchi (Park Byung-Eun) being visualized as deranged murderers, whose loathsome deeds render them inhuman.

    There are occasional moments of beauty to be had over the film, however, much of Assassination demonstrates the horrific violence that transpires, condemning such actions, while embracing the belief, those who can do good, should vehemently do so. Despite The Thieves being a more enjoyable film, Assassination will certainly stay with you, long after it has finished.
  • I remember that a few years ago I loved 'Jeon Woo-Chi' from this same director. It was so awesome, the mix between the modern world and ancient myth with the usual Korean style presentation, a little different from other similar western films due to the cultural difference. After that, this the second movie of his I am watching and I had two opposite thoughts in the two halves of the movie.

    Initially, I felt I chose a wrong movie. One of the reason was, I could not get the film characters right due to complicated introductions. Too many main characters and that's a too much to recognise if you're not a Korean or not familiar with the Korean faces/actors. Somewhat I was confused, at least in the first quarter. In the second half, especially after the story moved to Korean, I get used to it and afterwards it was very smooth.

    The other reason was obviously the length of the movie. Only because of the puzzled opening order. Later the story development was so good, I began to feel comfortable with the narration and after that I did not notice the runtime at all. I have no source to confirm whether it was based on the real or simply a cinematic fiction, but it was very interesting as it progress. So don't force yourself to watch the movie, but it you do, then give it a time in the beginning and be focused, later definitely you will be in a position to get through as easily as I did.

    "Damn, we could all die tomorrow. Let's dance."

    Actually, it all began in the year 1911, and moved to 20 years later during the Japan's occupation of Korea. The resistance freedom fighters plan a series of assassination of the Japanese leaders in the nation's different regions. One such man was a powerful native business tycoon. When everything goes wrong, the story begins to take a turn, complicates further by revealing the old secret. How much it affects and to whom, followed by the final battle sequence.

    Obviously everyone interesting in this film for Jeon Ji-Hyun's presence. Of course, as usual she was very impressive, but her so- star, Ha Jung-Woo with his weird screen name 'Hawaii Pistol' was also equally good. When I first heard Hawaii Pistol is coming, I thought it was the arms supply from Hawaii. Anyway, it was a grand intro, after his entry the movie was set to explore the rest of the story in a style. The other actors like his hilarious partner and the main villain set the tone for the movie.

    Certainly it is a movie to pick if you want an historic subject other than your regular Korean themes. Beautifully written for the screen, except like I said the editing was confusing for the lack of proper inception. Don't think it's simply about the brave freedom fighters; betrayal, revenge, family, third person caught in, like that it had many stuffs. It is also very rare to see a woman fighter among them. All the action scenes were really well made, because that's the title isn't. The terrific settings of the 30s as well. I can't say about it is a must see or not, but surely a fine historic movie that I am pleased with.

    8/10
  • Based on real events, this may seem a bit convoluted at times, but still very engaging to watch. You can feel the desperation and the pressing times this is portraying. The introduction of the characters takes its time and still sometimes you wonder what the real motives are behind some of the actions being done here.

    Still the action is well shot and choreographed, which is crucial, but the drama bits work too. The pace is nicely done and you almost don't feel this is a long movie at all. The ending might be a bit over dramatized, but it should work with most viewers, especially after the journey we just went through.
  • Set during the 1930s (during the Japanese occupation of Korea) and it concerns two assassinations that our protagonists plot against pro-Japanese targets. The hit team consists of a sniper, a jailed military school graduate, and an explosives expert.

    The first thing to understand about this movie is that it has an outstanding cast, which yields great performances across the board. Ji-hyun Jun is the lead actress; her popularity exploded when she starred in My Sassy Girl (2001), but she's also been on a scorching hot streak lately with films like The Thieves (2012) and The Berlin File (2013), as well as a hugely popular K-drama television series named You Who Came from the Stars (which finished in 2014). I love this actress. I'll watch her in anything. She starred in the sexiest tea commercials of all time, by the way. Assassination also stars Jung-jae Lee (Big Match, The Face Reader, New World) and Jung-woo Ha (Kundo: Age of the Rampant, The Terror Live, The Berlin File, The Chaser, The Yellow Sea, etc.). There are also some very recognizable faces in supporting roles as well. The cast is just loaded! And it's great watching everyone interact.

    The plot is quite complicated, but it is interesting and does a good job of creating a web of conflicts between the characters which comes to a boil later on. It may be a little too convoluted for its own good, which seems to be a trend with some recent Korean thrillers like The Berlin File and The Suspect, but it does force the viewer to pay close attention and watch the movie multiple times to get all of the little details. There are also a few wicked twists and unexpected moments.

    Production values are top notch: the period set designs that are showcased are excellent. You really feel like you're back in the 1930s. Action ramps up near the midpoint and is nicely staged in a realistic manner. It's always cool seeing 1930s technology utilized during shootouts and chases. The entire second half is exciting.
  • Although the first half was some slow paced, the second half of the movie got motion & was overall capturing . Ahn-OK-yun (Jun Ji-Hyun), her small team for assassination mission & Captain Yem (Lee Jung Jae) seemed to be main characters of the plot line in the first place.But then, gradually Hawaii Pistol (Ha Jung-woo) & his sidekick Old Man (Oh Dal-su) got involved , geared up an entertainment show . By the mean time, the plot also developed some momentum to be intrigued. CGI effect,action scenes & the ancient background was so believable & realistic for this movie- so was the acting.By the ending, the movie got some symbolic meaning too.Although it could be a little more jam-packed, more artistic till the last to be memorable & greatly appreciated , Kudos to the director Choi-dong hoon - for accomplishing much improvement from his previous hit- heist movie "The Thieves" (particularly in emotion rendering section).

    So if you wanna check the outcome of some tremendous efforts from director & actors to set up an epic, historical drama film based on true event - independence of Korea, it will be worth watching obviously.

    My Rating: Somewhere between 7 & 8 . :)

    P.S: By watching this movie,completed checking all IMDb enlisted drama-movies of "Sassy girl" Jun Ji-Hyun so far. From TV drama "Happy Together (1999)" to "Assassination (2015)" - there's a daring & frequent transformation from innocent/romantic heroine to hardcore action lady.She's lucky enough so far to receive such co-operative support from directors & co-actors + appraisal from audience along with her ambitious consistency!
  • I actually think Korean cinema is going backwards on its quality. The latest blockbuster smash hit is directed by Donghoon Choi who made top notch popcorn flicks with his latest outing being Thieves. Thieves was an entertaining film but there were signs that it was making a formula which can just be recycled.

    Now here comes Assassination and it really indulges itself in that formula Choi created for himself. Characters are given quirky nicknames (Hawaii Pistol, Big Gun), the cast is composed of A-listers who try to compete each other for screen presence, and the story is as generic as it gets with few twists to add shock value but riddled with holes nonetheless. What is new is the sense of cheesy patriotism being shoved down our throats. Yeah as sadistic as it sounds, Koreans just love it when lots of Japanese soldiers die on screen. Sure they are bad guys so they deserve to die! We are fighting for our country so it's okay!

    While Thieves boasted at least some great stunt action sequences rare in Korean cinema, this film doesn't even try. Action scenes are not only scarce but they're also quite generic bang bang shootouts and nothing really sticks in your mind. The camera movements are so full of itself and actually looks like it thinks the action that's taking place is the best ever.

    As usual in lame Korean movies like this Oh Dalsu is the best thing in it. His character has a ridiculous wig, Pringles mustache, smokes a big cigar and wields a machine-gun to blast the baddies. He also packs natural humor and is charismatic here.

    What it all comes down to is that this is basically a cartoon that has been stamped with forced patriotism which Koreans love with blind passion. A film designed to make money (it did) and entertain (it didn't). Try harder.
  • KineticSeoul14 November 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    Watching this movie was like watching another Korean movie called "Anarchists". Which is another fictitious movie with few real historical figures that takes place during a time where Korea was dominated by another country. The story in this however just wasn't all that gripping or memorable despite some twist and turns and some betrayals. Mainly because there just wasn't enough development for the audiences to care. I really wanted to like this movie but was sort of bored with it most of the way through. Other fictitious movies like "Bodyguards and Assassins", is at least more entertaining to watch than this. The direction in this just wasn't as fluid and even the action sequences are very easily forgettable. A movie such as this that revolve around freedom fighters should have more of an impact. The acting is okay, but doesn't stand out because of the poorly written characters. They just don't seem to have that interesting factor or much depth. I was focused more on when this movie would end while sitting through it over how exciting it was. It just didn't have elements that really made you want to care about the cause or the characters. Since it didn't really show the darkside of the situations nor did it have good chemistry between the characters. There is also quite a bit of ridiculous plot holes and scenarios that just doesn't make much sense at all. I am not a fan of Jun Ji-hyun or anything like that, but she was alright in this though. This movie is driven more by patriotism and the cause over anything else to get the audiences attention, but the execution was childish for all the wrong reasons.

    5/10
  • imtiyazmasudbd31 May 2017
    Such a Wonderfully made movie!!!

    I must confirm that this is one the Best movies I have ever seen! Technically, such High class of Direction, Acting, Art Direction, Production Design and Magic of Screenplay!!!

    Salute!
  • This is a true masterpiece, a flawless movie from somebody who has watched thousands of movies , you never know who is going to die who is going to live from all the stars in this movie ! A Historical, action , thriller even Romance movie all in one . Watch it and you will not regret it !
  • Excellent action, powerhouse story, wonderful actors. Strongly recommended as it is so enjoyable, and also more need to know about Korean resistance against Japanese occupation.
  • The dusk picture highlights the historical significance of the old photographs. The whole film is basically free of nonsense and the plot is very attractive. The 3 starring role is also in place. 2 supporting actors are also funny. Why is the same anti-Japanese drama, people can play such a good positive play, and Tan * only brainwashing and brainstorming or the golden robbery of this funny type.
  • Although fast-paced and well-photographed, this film is incredibly childish. Exaggerated acting, over-the-top patriotism and really silly dialogs!

    Still could be enjoyable if it had good acrobatic stunts, some swordplay and so on, but no such luck -- action means only lots of fake shooting. The sets and costumes are often anachronistic, what certainly could be put to good use, but in this case seems unintentional, and so does the humor in most cases.

    Overall I found this a big waste of time. I can understand the Koreans who liked an improved version of their history, but I suspect the Western fans of this flick must have grown up on Disney Zorro... (And even that had better dialogs.)
  • This film is exactly like those ridiculous Chinese TV dramas, trying so hard to portray the struggles of the Korean colonized era by the Japanese. Those stupid and ridiculous Chinese TV dramas telling how the Chinese Communist Party fighting against the Japanese were often so stupid and ridiculous since the Chinese Communist Party and its guerrilla army controlled by the Soviet Communist Sovereign Party never fought the Japanese but their own Chinese National Party armies, stabbing them from behind and using the opportunity to strengthen themselves. Likewise, this film about the Korean people trying to fight against the Japanese is also a very badly scripted, very poorly directed film. There were too many jerk and clown-like characters in it. The plot was absurd, the costumes looked too modern, the dialog lame and most of the actors acted pretentious and one-dimensional.

    If you want to make a film in such genre, you must have a serious screenplay with believable plots and scenarios, you cannot insert some funny guys like clowns or jerks and put them between or among the other serious characters, making this film turn into a ridiculous farce. Korean films used to be good or even fantastic, but this one is definitely not one of them. This is a very ridiculous film, trying to be serious, trying to tell a serious story, but due to the lack of a serious screenplay and a moronic production team led by a stupid director, signed up too many light weight bad clown-like actors, has completely ruined some of the best actors and the leading actress. I don't know how some of the viewers would consider this film great, but to me, it's just like a childish play written and directed by couple of high school drop-outs. A total waste of the Korean Yuens$$.

    Just can't believe a supposed-to-be-serious film full of so many clown-like characters. What a bomb.
  • "Amsal" is a very interesting and fun movie, that takes a moment of history to develop an over-convoluted and overstuffed plot that, luckily for the viewer, never lets the pace down and offers twists and surprises all of its running time. It lasts more than two hours, but it feels like way less.

    The story seems simple. The Korean resistance gets a team ready to kill a Japanese Commander and his Korean friend. But there is a traitor within the resistance. And a Korean killer for hire. And some other surprises. The plot keeps throwing characters in front of the screen with too much glee and in the first minutes it will be a little bit difficult to follow who is who. Dong-hoon Choi, though, does a great job in keeping the action going and keeping things interesting and twisting enough. The directing style is great (maybe too flashy in some occasions) and it makes the movie feel bigger than it really is.

    The action is also well developed. All the action scenes have a great choreography and keep and orchestrated development, with a very smart use of location. On top of all of this, the acting is top notch, Ji-hyun Jun and Jung-woo Ha doing a great job as always. The characters are a little bit archetypal and some of them too black & white, but the actors bring them to life and make the viewer feel empathy for all of them.

    "Amsal" is a movie worth seeing. Totally recommended.
  • I thought Assassination was really good, and it was an enjoyable and worthwhile watch at 2 hours, not overstaying its welcome.

    The acting was great all across the board. Jung-woo Ha and Dal-su Oh worked really well together on screen as the contract killer duo. Jung-jae Lee was also really great as the defector. Ji-hyun Jun and Jin-woong Jo were also good in their roles, and the supporting cast also did a fine job.

    The cinematography and editing was really well done, giving us a lot of smooth shots which worked excellently during the action sequences, giving it a punchy, yet clean feel to it. It was gorgeous to look at and wasn't hard to follow at all.

    The story was really good, providing plenty of twists and turns and backstabbing delight, throwing the characters into more and more trouble. It portrayed a harsh world to live in and the Japanese were not portrayed favourably at all in this film. They were essentially asian Nazis, evil bad guys, cannon-fodder. The most interesting antagonists were the Koreans who had aligned themselves with Japan.

    There are a few moments where you might ask yourself why certain things were allowed to happen throughout, such as letting a suspect walk away into a room on their own when they're in the middle of being arrested. But nothing major enough I feel to take away from the film overall. Sometimes the story may seem a little clustered and muddled, but it doesn't insult your intelligence and everything falls in place as it goes along and becomes fully cohesive by the time the credits rolling, creating a satisfying spy film.

    My only gripe with this film that I don't see any of the other reviewers has a problem with, was the films soundtrack. I didn't like it at all. It seemed like royalty free music and really brought the movie down at points which was disappointing. Over-dramatic and cheesy at points, unfulfilling and un-epic when it needed to be at others. The sound design is well done though and the action scenes sound great.

    The set design, costumes, lighting, atmosphere of the film looks stunning, genuinely taking you back to the 1930s. It's a feast for the eyes and is awesome to look at. It was humorous, however, with the vehicles as they didn't move fast at all most of the time, moving at a running pace, but thankfully the gun-play amped up the tension and excitement.

    This movie has its problems but I still recommend it, as it is engaging, fun and thrilling. It's not the best Korean movie by any means and it's far from the worst. Dong-hoon Choi has done a really good job here, but not as good as his 2012 film, The Thieves. So overall, I recommend watching this movie as it was a satisfying 2 hours for me, with a good story and cool characters that you care about, with a satisfying pay-off. 7.5/10 really good Korean film.