Target, The (2014) Review

"The Target" Korean Theatrical Poster

“The Target” Korean Theatrical Poster

Director: Yoon Hong-seung
Writer: Jeon Cheol-Hong, Jo Seong-Geol
Cast: Ryu Seung-Ryong, Yu Jun-Sang, Lee Jin-Wook, Kim Seong-Ryeong, Jo Yeo-Jeong, Jo Eun-Ji, Kim Dae-Myung, Jang Jun-Nyung, Yeom Ji-Young, Lee Hyun-Wook
Running Time: 98 min.

By oneleaf

Life is good for medical resident Lee Tae-joon (Jin Wook-Lee). He’s expecting his first child with his beautiful wife, Jung Hee-joo (Yeo-jeong Jo), a psychiatrist, who works at the same hospital. Also, the two have just moved into a new apartment together. To put it simply, Lee couldn’t be happier.

Things take an unexpected turn when ex-mercenary Baek Yeo-hoon (Ryu Seung-Ryong) shows up in the ER with gunshot wounds. He falls under Lee’s care – hours later, an assassin makes an unsuccessful attempt on Baek’s life.

The next day, Lee is brutally attacked in his apartment by an unknown assailant and his wife, Jung, is kidnapped. Lee later receives a call demanding that he take Baek to an undisclosed location ub exchange for his wife – otherwise, she will be killed.

The color palette of The Target is beautiful to look at, which is not surprising since it’s helmed by Yoon Hong-seung (Death Bell), a stylish director known for his work on music videos for various pop groups in Korea. The Target – a remake of the French action thriller Point Blank (2010) – is his sophomore outing as screenwriter and director.


Ryu is well-suited for the role of Baek, a world-weary ex-mercenary seeking a simple life that becomes shattered when he becomes “the target” of unknown sinister forces. The audience feels his anger and fear, yet he’s always in control, regardless of the unfortunate circumstances. His potent portrayal of Baek’s disposition of calm resolve in the face of imminent danger is the film’s high point.

There’s a considerable amount of violence in the film, but none of it is gratuitous, with very little bloodletting seen on screen. There’s even a short female-to-female, hand-to-hand combat sequence in tight quarters that made me want more.

The Target is quite a ride. It’s suspenseful, well-timed and nearly unrelenting from start to finish. For the most part, the action sequences are well-choreographed. Ryu does a good job of maintaining a stoic composure without breaking stride. In one scene, he walks into an office and single handedly takes out a handful of bad guys using nothing but his bare hands. It’s actually hard to believe that not a single shot is fired by one of these guys, who basically just waited their turn to fight him.

Especially gratifying is the final shootout at the police station where almost everything in sight – chairs, desks, partitions, etc – are shot to pieces as bullets fly from every conceivable angle while an SUV plows head-on through the front door.

I did find the pace of the film somewhat erratic. From the outset, it takes off frenetically by having one chase/shootout after another. Suddenly, it veers off into some character development for the leads; then for almost half of the film, everything slows down, and finally picks up again.

Another weakness is the film’s lack of character development for the non-leads. Yoon has expended most of his energy for the action pieces, but neglects to encompass more characterization for the supporting characters. A good start would be to explore the dark side of Song (Yu Jun-Sang), the film’s ever-grinning shifty eyed villain.

Overall, The Target is a satisfying action flick that has a few flaws, but still manages to deliver.


oneleaf’s Rating: 6/10

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3 Responses to Target, The (2014) Review

  1. Wonder if any U.S. distributor has picked this up yet? oneleaf, have you seen POINT BLANK? If so, which one is better?

  2. Paul Bramhall says:

    I’ll second Might Peking Man’s question over which one you thought was better (if you’ve seen the original). I’ve read a few reviews of ‘The Target’ which draw unfavorable comparisons to ‘Point Blank’, mainly for the reasons you’ve mentioned – the original is a lean mean thriller from start to finish, while the Korean remake goes off the rails by spending too much time on character development and melodrama.

  3. oneleaf says:

    Yes. I saw Point Blank. Even though the premise of both films are very similar, the directors took different approach for their films. PB is more of a crime drama with some action, whereas The Target was an action flick from the outset. I intentionally didn’t compare the two films so as not to detract readers from The Target. Both films are good depending if you wanted drama or action. The Target is definitely a a better action film.

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