HAPPY KILLERS a.k.a. HELLO MURDERER a.k.a. HI MURDER [BANGAWOON SALINJA | 반가운 살인자]

http://www.hi-murder.co.kr/

KOREA 2010  Directed by: Kim Dong-Wook Written by: Kim Dong-Wook, Seo Mi-Ae (short story) Produced by: Kim Hyeon-Shin, Kim Young-Min  Cinematography: Lee Ki-Won  Cast: Kim Dong-Wook, Yu Oh-Seong, Shim Eun-Kyeong, Kim Eung-Su, Lee Mi-Do, Kim Sun-Hyuk, Han Seong-Sik, Kim Mi-So, Lee Jae-Gu, Song Ok-Suk, Sung Ji-Ru

HAPPY KILLERS is based on a short story by Seo Mi-Ae and deals with a serial killer who commits a crime every rainy Thursday. A young detective is on his trail but the police simply can’t find the murderer and put an end to this, so finally the public turns against the authorities, because the killer is depreciating the value of their homes and is posing a constant threat. Then a former businessmen who has lost everything due to business failure shows up at the crime scenes, trying to find the killer himself. But is he really just the amateur Sherlock Holmes he pretends to be?

It will always stay the secret of Kim Dong-Wook why exactly he chose this particular mystery short; looking at the outcome you wouldn’t think this messy little movie is based on anything but a messy little script. The film has virtually nothing to do with the short.

HAPPY KILLERS is a movie about, wait a moment, what exactly? A serial killer, a young detective, a loser turning private eye, family tragedies, career issues, a public protest movement, or? The film has no focus at all times, swaying back and forth the entire running time. It’s absurd that the murders are all irrelevant, as are the victims, and that the movie is never integrating the crimes into its plot. Equally irrelevant is the question who the killer is – we’re chasing him for more than 90 minutes but once we find him it doesn’t matter if it’s Tom, Dick or Harry who slashed his way through the rainy nights.

Even more amazing are all the underwhelming plot threads Kim has invented to deviate our attention, hoping we don’t notice that HAPPY KILLERS has not enough beef to make a business case at all. Whoever has greenlit the movie must have been color-blind, because HAPPY KILLERS isn’t about anything at all, it’s a best-of compilation of Korean thrillers, action movies and comedies. Actually it’s just a faded copy of many standard ingredients of Korean cinema, the same ingredients that made us turn our backs on movies made in Korea in recent years. HAPPY KILLERS shows the same lack of originality and absence of innovation.

Usually it would be the right time now to write something like “on a positive note…” as mostly not all is bad and journalistic objectivity demands looking at all aspects of a film, but I must say there is no bright side. The best you can say is that certain aspects of the film’s craftsmanship are fairly average. Meaning, no matter how you look at it HAPPY KILLERS doesn’t qualify for the big screen, and neither should it ever enter your living room.

J.


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One Response to “HAPPY KILLERS a.k.a. HELLO MURDERER a.k.a. HI MURDER [BANGAWOON SALINJA | 반가운 살인자]”

  1. KIMCHI FLAVOR: HAPPY MURDERER [BANGAWOON SALINJA | 반가운 살인자] « GONIN MOVIE BLOG Says:

    […] 2010-07-20!! READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE. – – – – – – – – – – – The Koreans have a pretty good […]

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