Four criminals betray a big-time mobster (Harry O’Toole) and disappear – with one of the criminals (John Yost), a dirty cop, planning to have him busted. With only hours until his arrest, the mobster calls in a deadly "cleaner" known as The Korean (Josiah D. Lee) to track down the backstabbing criminals and finish them.
The Korean's story is told largely in flashback and out of sequence, tossing the viewer from present to past to recent past to concurrent action for nearly all of its 98 minutes. And during these jarring shifts in storytelling, it seems like almost every encounter between the characters is a double-cross or payback for one, making it difficult to keep track. Who’s who? Who knows? After an hour I asked, “Who cares?”
The film also suffers from by-the-numbers dialogue and iffy acting. Regarding the latter, the weakest link is ironically Lee in the title role. He tries to play The Korean as cold and methodical, but his soft voice and monotone delivery make it sound like he’s shyly auditioning for the part. (The only bright spot is Jack Erdie, who’s entertainingly evil and witty as Lee’s protégé Ray.)
With The Korean, writer-director Thomas Dixon seems to be striving for something Tarantino-esque or in the vein of Rashomon, but all he succeeds in doing with the jump-around narrative is frustrate the viewer.
Is it suitable for your kids?The Korean isn’t rated, but features several disrobing makeout scenes (though no nudity), some bloody gunplay and knifings, and one scene of torture. It should be okay for teens, and maybe even tweens with adult supervision.
Will your FilmMother want to watch it?Unless she knows someone involved in the production, I doubt it.
* Director: Thomas Dixon
* Screenwriter: Thomas Dixon
* Stars: Josiah D. Lee, Jennifer Voss, John Yost, Jack Erdie, Rik Billok, Rose Smith
* MPAA Rating: N/A
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