When a North Korean defector, and ex-super spy, is framed for the murder of an important CEO, he is thrust into the middle of a conspiracy that involves the highest echelon of the South Korean intelligence agency. A thrilling manhunt ensues, only to be complicated by the discovery that the same people implicating him for murder may be responsible for the destruction of his family. ‘The Suspect’ is part spy thriller and part revenge epic, but it is entirely entertaining. From its very beginning to the final scene, it is a fun, action packed thrill ride.
Dong-chul (Gong Yoo) was one of North Korea’s top agents until he was left for dead, a pre-emptive strike against possible enemies of the new regime. After a daring escape from North Korea, Dong-chul escapes to South Korea, only to find that his family, having defected before him, has been massacred, hurling him into a spiral of grief and vengeance. While seeking the identity of their killers he blunders into a murderous plot for which he is soon made scapegoat and the center of a manhunt with international consequences.
The overall plot is pretty straightforward and easy to follow even without a constant vigil over the subtitles. There are complexities and minor plot points that not only reward those who pay careful attention, but add a nice level of depth to what is a generally shallow storyline. The relationship between the two Koreas provides a constant motivator, but no more knowledge of that particular geopolitical situation is necessary than what would be needed to follow a typical Cold War thriller.
In general, the film follows a break neck pace, however it does suffer from a few slow moving scenes, which halt the flow more than improve upon the story. It is a long movie, over two hours, and this is probably about thirty minutes too long. There is a lot of overdramatic fluff that could be trimmed without sacrificing the film’s integrity.
‘The Suspect’ is a good old-fashioned action movie full of fighting, guns, and explosive car chases. While it likely won’t win too many awards, it is a solid film that will captivate fans of action movies and Korean cinema alike.
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