In a post-apocalyptic world where a deadly ice age has taken over the Earth, there are only a few survivors, all of whom have taken shelter in an enormous train propelled by perpetual motion. While the rich and powerful live in luxury at the front end of the locomotive, the poor have been forced to dwell at the tail with limited supplies by the dictatorial Minister Mason. During a routine deliverance of protein blocks, one tail inhabitant, Curtis, decides to round up a rebel army to invade the front, though no-one could have imagined the amount of bloodshed the ensuing revolt would trigger. In a bid to destroy the barbaric class hierarchy this new life has caused, Curtis plots a major act of disaster. It starts to look like the human race really will be the death of themselves.
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Priest Sang-hyeon (Song Kang-ho) voluntarily enters an African monastery to help research a deadly disease. But the mysterious illness leaves him craving human blood. He finds peaceful solutions to this, but things get complicated when he meets the sparky Tae-joo (Kim Ok-vin), who he's known since childhood in the orphanage. She's still living with her adoptive mother (Kim Hae-sook), and is now married to her adoptive brother Kang-woo (Shin). When they plot to kill Kang-woo so they can be together, this is only their first step across the line to inhumanity.
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The monster (visually, it resembles the love child of a school of guppies and a dragon) takes Hyun-Seo (Ko A-sung), a young girl, down to its lair to be kept for later snacking. Hyun-Seo happens to be the glue holding a family together: Her lazy dad Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) is constantly debased by his two siblings, who consider him a loser, and scolded by her grandfather (Byun Hee-bong). The attack brings the family together, however, as they escape a hospital quarantine to track her down and destroy the beast.
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According to the press notes, thousands of suspects and hundreds of thousands of police were involved in the massive investigation, leading one to wonder not just why they never caught anyone, but just how many police officers South Korea needs. Not enough, I guess. Murder is two hours of botched and bumbled investigations with civilians traipsing across crime scenes, stakeout cop cars failing to start, and innumerable suspects getting away due to bad policework and the occasional torture of a suspect.
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Fired from his job on the eve of having to pay for his sister's kidney transplant, Ryu turns to black market organ peddlers, an unwise decision that leaves him penniless, kidney-less and desperate for a means to save his beloved sibling. With the help of a radical terrorist girlfriend (Bae Du-na) who spends her days passing out pamphlets on the street while advising passersby to "Drive out the American products" and "No U.S. Army," Ryu decides to kidnap the young daughter (Han Bo-bae) of his callous fatcat former boss (Song Kang-ho), and Park posits their abduction as an act of class warfare orchestrated by the downtrodden working class against the wealthy urban elite. Profound cultural commentary, however, isn't in the cards, with the hectic, convoluted action quickly devolving into a spectacle of simple-minded, slogan-heavy pontificating and abject ghastliness characterized by suicide, self-mutilation, a foursome of teenage boys aggressively self-gratifying themselves, close-ups of slit throats and Achilles tendons, and - in the film's most unrealistic, offensive, and pointlessly dreadful moment - a grieving father forced to watch his recently drowned daughter get sliced open on an autopsy table.
Continue reading: Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance Review
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