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REVIEW: Killed by too many plot holes
Publication Date : 13-03-2013
The film has a goofy B-movie charm and it all hangs together
CONFESSION OF MURDER
The story: Detective Choi (Jung Jae Young) is haunted by his inability to find the serial killer behind the murder of 10 women.
One night, the killer attacks him but the cop manages to put a bullet into the attacker before he flees. Seventeen years later, after the statute of limitations takes effect, protecting the killer from prosecution, Lee Du Seok (Park Si Hoo) steps forward, claiming to be the murderer. He not only knows intimate details about the murders, but he also has a bullet fragment in his shoulder from Choi's gun. The handsome Lee writes a confession that becomes a best-seller, netting him millions and a fan club. Choi, however, thinks that Lee is not who he claims to be.
From its ludicrous premise to its over-the-top middle section to its nutty, overblown finale, this South Korean cop-versus-crook drama stops at nothing to deliver bang for the buck - and hopes you do not pause to consider how silly it all is.
This work is helmed and written by stuntman- turned-director Jung Byung Gil, a man who does not seem to mind that his movie feels about to collapse under the weight of its own excesses at more than a few points.
To his credit, he moves things along at just the right pace - fast enough to hide the gaping seams in the story, but not so fast as to veer into incomprehensibility.
He is probably aware that there are enough plot holes and unexplained weirdness to fill four or five 1980s Hong Kong police dramas of the kind that inspires the mano-a-mano tale here.
The giddily staged car chases and fight scenes also draw deep from the cinematic traditions of the former colony, but updated with a sensibility taken from anime and manga.
For example, in the midst of the war of words between Detective Choi (a properly drunk and growly Jung Jae Young) and alleged killer Lee (K-pop idol Park Si Hoo, who is currently being investigated for raping a woman), there is a revenge subplot involving a female assassin who is a dead shot with a crossbow, an old man who is a wrangler of poisonous snakes and an icy family matriarch out of a particularly cheesy soap opera.
In between, flashbacks fill in the background details of the murders and how the current cast of characters are connected.
Writer-director Jung does, however, break a sacred rule of whodunit storytelling. All important clues should be presented to the audience, or at least alluded to at some point. Only the means of interpreting them are withheld till the end.
Jung does not give a hoot about the rule. Huge dollops of information are held back until after the truth comes out. Does he not know that he has broken with tradition or does he not care? It is most likely a combination of both, but with the same result: Many in the audience will feel cheated.
Yet, for all its flaws, the work has a goofy B-movie charm and it all hangs together, despite the story looking as if it has more twists than a spiral staircase and about three endings too many.