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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kim Yoon-Seok Take a Bow
'The Chaser' is a multi-layered film of remorse, regret, revenge and helplessness.

It's rare that any director achieves such a complex character in any film, but the male lead (Jung) played by Kim Yoon-Seok is an incredibly deep individual, who had me loathing him one minute and empathising with him the next throughout.

Indeed Kim Yoon-Seok achieved...
Published on 12 Oct. 2011 by The Dandy Highwayman

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never quite grips as much as it could
Trailing superlatives, huge local box-office, a slew of awards and with the US remake rights picked up Warner Bros. for $1m, Hong-jin Na's The Chaser turns out to be one of those films that doesn't live up to the expectations that precede it while still being a decent thriller even if there's not much in the way of chasing. It's certainly a quality number and has the kind...
Published on 15 Oct. 2012 by Trevor Willsmer


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kim Yoon-Seok Take a Bow, 12 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: The Chaser [DVD] (DVD)
'The Chaser' is a multi-layered film of remorse, regret, revenge and helplessness.

It's rare that any director achieves such a complex character in any film, but the male lead (Jung) played by Kim Yoon-Seok is an incredibly deep individual, who had me loathing him one minute and empathising with him the next throughout.

Indeed Kim Yoon-Seok achieved 7 seperate awards for his stunning portrayal of this 'ex-detective turned pimp' in Korea during 2008.

Very cleverly, the audience is 'in the loop' early on and the proceeding race against the clock centres around 'Jung' trying to piece events together as we, the viewer, look on helplessly.

Many reviews go into the storyline in far more detail, so I'll miss that out. All I'd say is that this is a tough, tense yet highly touching piece of cinema. Brutal in parts, gut-wrenchingly sad in others; 'The Chaser' has everything.

I would settle on 4 stars, but for me, Yoon-Seok's stunning acting demands and deserves a top-notch rating.

Exceptional.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Korean Thriller, 27 July 2011
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Chaser [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this ages ago and have just re watched it, and I have to say it is still stunning second time round. The plot is that an ex cop turned pimp Joong Ho (Kim Yoon-seok) thinks someone is stealing his ladies, as they keep going off to meet clients and not coming back. He and his sidekick, `Meathead', decide that after one of his last girls goes missing to do some searching. It soon becomes obvious that some of them have all disappeared after seeing the same punter. A punter who he has just sent Kim Mi-jin (Seo Young-hee) to go and service - as it were. He tells her to text the address as soon as she gets there. Without wanting to spoil the plot, she has a bit of a service outage and the chase to find her is on.

This is a film where Na Hong-jin (director and co-writer) keeps up the pace at a blistering level. It is shot beautifully in a way that makes it look effortless and natural at the same time. All of the characters are portrayed as being very human and very fallible. There are asides into humour too that fit just perfectly. This is a thriller with some gore, but most of the violence is straightforward fighting. The tension is piled on especially when Joong Ho discovers Mi Jins seven year old daughter and reluctantly takes her with him.

There is great attention to detail and I have seen criticism that the plot is too `far fetched', well I hasten to disagree as this film is based on the true life story of serial killer Yoo Young-chul. He was sentenced to death for twenty murders and cannibalism in 2005.

This is a stunning piece of original cinema that is nigh on hard to fault, it is in Korean with excellent sub titles. If you don't like subs then Warner Bros may have the answer as they have bought the rights and are thinking of a re-make with Mr DiCaprio as the star. I suggest doing yourself a favour and seeing the original, I am pretty confident that it far outshines any attempt at copying. Excellent Korean film that I can not recommend highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never quite grips as much as it could, 15 Oct. 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Chaser [DVD] (DVD)
Trailing superlatives, huge local box-office, a slew of awards and with the US remake rights picked up Warner Bros. for $1m, Hong-jin Na's The Chaser turns out to be one of those films that doesn't live up to the expectations that precede it while still being a decent thriller even if there's not much in the way of chasing. It's certainly a quality number and has the kind of killer premise that makes it easy to understand why studio execs got out their chequebook. Kim Yoon-suk is a disgraced cop making a living as a pimp in Seoul that's increasingly precarious because his girls are either walking out on him or disappearing. At first he thinks a suspect client is selling the girls and sends one to find out his address, which, naturally, turns out to be a spectacularly bad move: the client is actually a serial killer and she's his next victim. A lucky accident leads him to the killer before he can finish the job, but the barely competent police get caught up in red tape and petty political squabbles and botch the case, leaving him to track down the critically injured girl before the killer gets released and finishes the job. Yet the film is strangely lacking in tension, sagging once the killer has been caught surprisingly early in the proceedings and never really picking up much. It's also at times a little too reliant on coincidence and a level of overstated police incompetence that seems too crudely contrived to really convince.

Luckily it doesn't fall always quite so readily into movie stereotypes with the killer and his pursuer. Yun-seok Kim's psychopath isn't a movie mastermind or a criminal genius but a contradictory and rather pathetic figure lacking in empathy and constantly veering between honesty and evasion with his interrogators, while even with the girl's daughter in tow, Kim Yoon-suk's antihero's quest doesn't turn into the kind of cookie cutter redemption tale you expect the Hollywood remake to end up as: he even tries to hustle the killer's family for money to reimburse him for his loss of earnings at one point. The alley chases and fight scenes are convincingly sloppy and clumsy and the film avoids going down the torture porn route, which is all to its credit, but even with a couple of unexpected twists and escalating stakes it never quite grips as much as it could. At times its close, but it's hard not to feel that a tighter running time than its two hours might have helped add some much needed urgency to proceedings.

Both of Metrodome' issues of this title offer a decent widescreen transfer with English subtitles, two behind the scenes featurettes and the film's UK trailer.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted and tense Korean thriller., 17 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Chaser (2008) [DVD] (DVD)
The Chaser was a massive success in its native South Korea, it was an odd but effective thriller which holds no mystery and purposely reveals its secrets right from the start. The brilliance behind this approach is avoiding tiresome clichés and the need to include ridiculous plot twist and disappointing endings. First time director Na Hon-jin mounts his tension not on shocks and revelations but strictly on emotion, keeping the audience frustrated and aggravated with the police force who are more concerned with public image than public safety. In my opinion this fantastic Asian thriller showed so much originality and again shows how Korea keeps making these amazing films that continue to surprise the audience, Hong Jin delivered an amazingly assured crime thriller debut revolving around the grisly deeds of a real life serial killer who claimed more than twenty victims. Not quite a masterpiece like Memories of Murder or Oldboy but on par with a film like Seven.

Joong-ho (Yun-seok Kim) is a pimp that keeps losing his girls. They go out, but they don't come back. He doesn't know if they are running away or kidnapped and sold. The cops are too busy watching out for politicians to look for missing prostitutes. Fortunately, Joong-ho also happens to be a former cop and decides to solve the mystery himself. When he sends out Mi-jin (Yeong-hie Seo), he tags along. Unfortunately, he cannot save her from her fate, but he does find out who (Jung-woo Ha) is doing it; he just doesn't know yet what is being done. While Joong-ho is searching, he discovers that Mi-jin has a daughter and now he is stuck with her while he looks. I'm not going to say anymore as it's better if you watch this for yourself. Things take many twists and turns that add to the suspense. There were a couple of very intense and disturbing scenes especially towards the end but the film flowed very nicely and the storyline fit perfectly from start to finish, so it's very entertaining and it did have a few humorous scenes but still maintained that serious tone especially at the last half of the film. The film has some outstanding writing and acting, and incredible suspense. A real winner from Korea that keeps you on the edge of your seat, I highly recommend this.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intense thriller., 6 Aug. 2010
This review is from: The Chaser [DVD] (DVD)
the chaser may not feature the most original story but the director makes up for it with his execellent pacing and direction. the director gives the time for the protagonist to develope making you care for him and his actions, he may not be the nicest of people but as the story moves forward the viewer may change their view about him.

the intensity is increased when the killer is captured in the first quarter for he is holding another victim and when it becomes a race to find her where abouts before her death the viewer will be thoroughly engaged. the film moves along at a decent pace allowing time for the drama and characterisation to unfold.

the film features really graphic scenes and may not be to everyones liking but it brings about the realism and insanity of the criminal.

thorougly engaging, highly recommended.

p.s. hollywood are planning a remake of this so that itself should speak volumes about the quality of this film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rather dark and beautifully crafted, 31 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Chaser (DVD)
Have any of you seen 'Memories of Murder' another excellent Korean movie about an equivalent to the Zodiac Killer in the mid eighties being hunted down by a police force with very little amenities, this film has exactly the same feel. An ex-detective turned pimp (bit of an odd career change? But the other police officers are so incompetent you kind understand why he would leave the police) he a nasty piece of work and we are encouraged to think that way. A true anti-hero! Taken on a path of soulful redemption trying to track down one of his employees fallen victim to a horrifically disturbed serial killer. The police force seem to only care about political spin on the story whilst he's convinced that she may still be alive. There are stretches in the narrative that rely on coincidence and moments of frustration but this is a different type of policing where be brutal will bring you closer to the perpetrator. It's pretty sick at times and some scenes are really quite disturbing but I was gripped throughout and felt the production values and quality of cinematography were incredibly high. Fans of catch 'the serial killer movie' and fans of urban Korean cinema should love this but I think Memories Of Murder is a better film. But hey why not watch both?
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good, solid detective drama, but nothing too special although it does chase for this, 17 Aug. 2011
By 
T. BROOKES "Brookey" (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chaser (2008) [DVD] (DVD)
Comparing this to Taken, as reviews have, is unfair and will only disappoint, I challenge these comparisons. For me it was more a resemblance of modern BBC TV Detective dramas. The Chaser (a 2010 remake) is slick, deep and packing intelligence, emotion and multi-level story into what is an ex cop enters a serial killers world.

It is shot well, with great South Korean filmography in feel and character. It is deep, engaging, entertaining and well cultured.

The plot involves an ex policeman turned prostitute guardian (pimp). One of his girls goes missing, captured by a twisted customer, who has scared girls before, who turns out to be a serial killer. As the police detain the killer there is a race to find the imprisoned last victim, as she is till alive in an unknown house. More of the killer's character is unravelled, whilst ex-cop Jung-ho has to look after the victim's young daughter, helping to save her mother before it is too late. All of this is shot well in a gritty, but greatly real, Mangwan in Seol at night amongst the streets, back allies and shady homes near the mountains.

If you are into World Cinema and these style of cat and mouse detective dramas, then this film will please fans. I do feel sorry that it suffers from top-billing and raving reviews as a cult gem, when it was for me slick and well produced, rather than being anything special, unique or extra-ordinary. The film is slow, long (2 hours) and thus an asking watch, but a debatably worthwhile one none the less.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian drama - Nothing like the gutteral, gritty shock of other Korean cinema, 9 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Chaser (Amazon Instant Video)
Meh, it's not awful but I admit I never finished it. Firstly, you dont like the main character at all - he's not even a broken antihero - he's just a not very likeable, quite boring pimp. Secondly we're introduced to the girl were supposed to care about for 5 seconds before she's abducted - so pretty hard to give a damn about her for an entire move. Then, the killer is arrested really early on and the only tension you're left with is whether our idiot protagonist will find her before she dies (even though she could be dead already). I just didn't care - it was quite slow. The minute the woman's kid came on the show the movie died for me. Tired format, Hollywood style drama.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No. 1 favourite Korean film, 15 April 2014
This review is from: The Chaser (2008) [DVD] (DVD)
This film is incredible! There are so many words I could use to describe it: exceptionally sad, fast-paced, crazy, exhilarating, very infuriating but yet also somewhat relieving (as although you aren't left with the happiest of endings, you do have a certain sense of consolation). I would recommend it to everyone however viewers must be warned as it can get rather bloody at some points and the story line is not the most pleasant but I definitely still think it's a must-watch. I found it such a brilliant film that I ordered the director's (Na Hong-jin) 'The Yellow Sea' yesterday and I cannot wait to watch it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Chaser; good though a little pedestrian., 14 Aug. 2012
By 
Mr. J. Ryden (In your mind, in the part you've forgotten about.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chaser [DVD] (DVD)
Bought The Chaser on the strength of numerous positive reviews on Amazon. To be fair, perhaps I suffered from a case of the 'inflated expectations', if I were to be generous. The plot itself isn't vastly original; cat-and-mouse thriller which sees killer caught early in the film followed by our corrupt cop-turned-pimp searching for the still-living latest captive.

I do like my Korean and Japanese cinema so was eagerly anticipating this bad-boy. When all's said and done though, it wasn't the resounding success I thought it would be. The plot and acting is all good but sometimes the film seemed to veer into a slight slapstick feel which felt incongruous and out of place. Similarly, the inept and bumbling local police felt like they were played for laughs. This for me took something away from the urgency of the plot. As I say, the pimp, killer and young girl all played their parts well; they made up for the film's shortcomings somewhat.

In short, not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination but my experience didn't match that of its plaudits. A film of a very similar ilk I thought did better was German serial-killer flick Antibodies.
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The Chaser (2008) [DVD]
The Chaser (2008) [DVD] by Hing-Jin Na (DVD - 2009)
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