Believer Korean Movie (독전 | 毒战) Review

Believer Korean Movie (독전 | 毒战) Movie Review | by

Recommended Audience: Fans of Cho Jin-woong 조진웅, Ryu Jun-yeol 류준열, Kim Sung-Ryoung 김성령, Park Hae-jun 박해준, Cha Seoung-won 차승원, Kim Joo-Hyuk 김주혁, Lee Hae-young 이해영 and crime/thriller movie fans

Believer Korean

Believer Korean Movie (독전 | 毒战) Movie Synopsis

Detective Jo Won-ho (CHO Jin-woong) is determined to catch the mysterious ‘Mr Lee’, the infamous leader of Asia’s largest drug market. But to track down Mr Lee, Won Ho must work with Rak (Ryu Jun-yeol), a drug cartel member who seeks revenge against Mr Lee. An endless dilemma between trust and suspicion begins.

Believer Korean Movie (독전 | 毒战) Viewer Rating: 4/5 ****

Believer Korean Movie (독전 | 毒战) Movie Review:

Before watching the film, I have no idea that this was a remake of Johnnie To’s 2012 “Drug War” (even though it has the same Chinese name and I’ve actually reviewed the original film back then). While I can’t exactly give a clear comparison whether this is better than the original, because I can’t recall the exact performance of the Chinese cast, I would say, the Korean version provides a more psychological twist than the typical gun-fights you would see in a Hong Kong film.

The film started off with a bang, capturing the audience’s attention less than 5 minutes into the story. The string of antagonists then passed the baton, amazing the audience, one after the other with their cold-blooded, crazy yet unique personalities. Chinese-Korean drug boss Kim Ju-Hyeok (Kim Ha-Rim) and Bo-Ryung (Jin Seo-Yeon) were the wildest and most vicious, while Brian (Cha Seung-Won) went for a cold-blooded ruthless.

believer movie south koreaRyu Jun-yeol transformed from a naive university student in A Taxi Driver to a seemingly harmless drug cartel member in the film. While both characters might feel similar, his performance was actually more subtle and interesting here. While the character was spun off from Louis Koo’s character in the original, it is pretty refreshing to see how they managed to recreate some of the classic plot sequences with altered personality.
Cho Jin-woong BelieverWhile the every one did a great job, the main lead Cho Jin-woong as Jo Won-ho, the persistent narcotic detective became the weakest link, not because of his performance, but the fault of the script. His motivation to chase after the mysterious drug lord was amplified by a death of an informant –  a strong emotional stimulus at the start but the motivation seemed forgotten later on. Luckily, he was able to deliver the classic identity exchange scene well enough for us to overlook the loopholes.

The film stayed true to its name in several angles, making this a multi-layered film. Be it the police-informer relationship between Won-ho and Rak, the identity of Brian who studied pastoral studies and talked about God all the time while being ruthless with people who are useless to him, or the identity and evolution of Mr Lee, they were all mind0gripping and impressive.

This is a great remake worth your dollars any day, and most importantly, it made me want to re-watch the original to compare.

Do You Know?

Drug-War PosterThe movie is a remake of the 2012 Johnnie To film Drug War (毒战).

Kim Joo-hyuckMovie is the last film that actor Kim Ju-Hyeok appeared in before he passed away in a car accident on October 30, 2017

Behind The Scenes and Interviews

Check out Believer Korean Movie (독전 | 毒战) Asian Wiki Website for more information.
Believer Korean Movie (독전 | 毒战) is out in cinemas on 5 July 2018.

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*Disclosure: Invitation from Cathay Cineplexes. No monetary compensation was received for the movie review.

8 thoughts on “Believer Korean Movie (독전 | 毒战) Review”

  1. Pingback: 50 First Kisses Japanese Movie (50回目のファーストキス) Review

  2. I am not too familiar with Korean movies but they sound like they are really interesting and fun. This was a great review you are always so thorough!

  3. thetripwishlist

    Always amazed by the action in Korean films. They are truly extraordinary in that regard, and more and more movies are being made in Korea. This post has me intrigued about checking out Believer. Looks good!

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