Nowhere to Hide (2000) Review

"Nowhere to Hide" Korean Theatrical Poster

"Nowhere to Hide" Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: Lee Myung-sae
Writer: Lee Myung-sae
Producer: Chung Tae-Won
Cast: Joong-Hoon Park (Woo), Dong-Kun Jang, Ji-Woo Choi, Sung-kee Ahn, Sang Myun Park, Jae Mo Ahn
Running Time: 112 min.

By Joe909

A mish-mash of style and substance, Nowhere to Hide is more focused than most other Korean movies I’ve seen. Which is to say, it doesn’t clock in at an epic running time. The shorter length doesn’t prevent flaws, though. As MPM points out, the opening credits alone prove that the filmmakers were trying to cover every base: a gritty murder scene gives way to colorful, upbeat opening credits. The rest of the film offers more contrasts, as well.

Park Joong Hoon is Inspector Woo, an almost cartoonish character. The man seems to run off Duracell batteries. There’s barely a moment in the film where he’s sitting still. He bounces off the walls and gets into scrapes at the drop of a hat, like a leaner version of Chris Farley. Still, he’s a threatening individual, even though it looks like his wardrobe is from Old Navy.

Nowhere to Hide doesn’t feature much in the part of character development; the attempt at filling out Woo’s character toward the end of the film by meeting his sister’s family comes off as lame, and villain Sungmin is more of a shadow than a physical presence. Nowhere to Hide is basically one long chase scene, with Woo and his colleagues on the hunt for Sungmin.

The action is scattered about the movie, and again it comes off as a cartoon. This movie features one of the longest on-foot chase scenes in film history, as Woo races after a con on the lam. There’s also a fight in the dark between Woo and an underground boxer; the fight is mostly shown via shadows, and it looks like something out of an old Warner Brothers cartoon. And when Woo and Sungmin finally face off in the end, each can hurl the other several feet into the air with just one super-powered punch.

On the whole, I enjoyed this more than the more famous Korean movies I’ve seen, such as “Shiri” and “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.” There’s more of a Hong Kong style to this than most other Korean flicks, and everyone who’s anyone knows that’s a good thing.

Joe909’s Rating: 8/10

By Woody

One of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen. Not one of the best, mind you, but it was certainly cool.

I’d be lying if I said I knew what the exact plot was (I was tired while watching it-fell asleep-had to rewind-got all confused), but I do know that it has cop Joong-Hoon Park and his partner chasing down this dude named Chang Sungmin, a pretty cool name if you ask me. Chang is a hardcore killer dude, and is really good at evading Joong-Hoon Park and his buddies at the Police Station. Bla bla bla, enough summarizing. The plot of this film is really not the important thing, it’s the style.

This is one you may need to watch twice to really appreciate. The style may leave you shaking your head, saying “What the fuck was that?!?” It’s got somber killings set to somber music that sets a really somber mood (somber–what a cool word), insane cartoon inspired slapstick fights, black and white to color and back, a brutal fight at the end, and a lot of shots where you’ll be saying Keanu Reeves style “Whoa”s.

Now to say all of the usual stuff: Joong-Hoon Park and the dude who plays the killer with the kickass name are both really grrrrreat. If I had to fuck one Asian man, it would be Joon- alright, that’s a lie. His last few movies may have been kinda not really sorta good, but if I had to fuck one Asian man, it would be Chow Yun Fat. Not that I’m gay or anything. -Cough-. The music in this movie is also really great, with that somber Bee Gees song and what sounded to me like a take on The Doors “Spanish Caravan”.

Alright, fuck all of what I just wrote. Imagine Wong Kar Wai and Wong Jing working together with a really tight script. That’s what this movie feels like. Lee Myung-sae, the director of this head trip of a film, is one to look out for.

In conclusion, Chow Yun Fat is still the world’s most fuckable Asian man, Chang Sungmin is a cool name, and somber–God I love that word.

Definitely recommended.

Woody’s Rating: 9/10

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