The Chaser

Less than gripping tale of arbitrary bureaucracy. And serial killers.

Released in 2008, certified UK-18. Reviewed on 04 Nov 2008 by Scott Morris
The Chaser image

Huzzah! Another mildly disappointing release from South Korea, a country whose cinematic output I an on the verge of taking off my "So Hot Right Now" list. This ill-advised reshuffling of the whodunnit genre sees an ex-cop turned pimp on the trail of a few of his missing prossies, whom he initially thinks have ran off into another pimp's pay before discovering the more disturbing reason why they've not been seen.

I say ill-advised, as while I can sort of see what the makers were looking for, it's a pretty dumb idea. This could rather easily have set itself up as a generic 'cop hunting a serial killer' film, albeit a cop who's now a pimp. The rather remarkable difference in this whodunnit is that whodunnit is revealed within the first half hour or so.

This leaves the rest of the film with one of the strangest structures I've seen in a good while. With the killer already in police custody and having confessed to his crimes, it's left to the po-po and the pimp to find enough evidence to pin the crimes on him before he gets released from custody for some entirely baffling reason that makes no sense whatsoever, apart from otherwise the film wouldn't be able to have its dramatic final showdown with its contractually obligated rooftop showdown. Not, you understand, that it actually has either.

The Chaser image

In effect, this turns it from a tail of detective work into a less than thrilling tail of police bureaucracy, paperwork and internal politicking that has little in common with what it's advertised as. It's a pretty dull film, and that's more than reason enough to avoid it.

Bafflingly this seems to have been fairly well received, to which I can only assume the world has simply gone crazy. Not everything coming out of South Korea is automatically good, and this proves the point handily. Eminently avoidable.

Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 2/5 TippyMarks.

Hong-jin Na
Cast list:
Yun-seok Kim (Joong-ho Eom)
Jung-woo Ha (Young-min Jee)
Yeong-hie Seo (Mi-jin Kim)