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DVD Review: Typhoon

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Written by Caballero Oscuro

Typhoon squanders a relatively big budget and two bankable stars on a farcical action thriller with plot holes a mile deep.

It’s clear from the opening scene of North Korean orphans seeking asylum in a European consulate in China (huh?) that the movie will remain inscrutable to all but the most patient and forgiving of viewers. One of the hapless orphans grows up to be a vindictive, glowering pirate (the excellent Dong-Kun Jang from The Coast Guard) intent on wreaking havoc on the South Korean countrymen who turned their backs on him as a child. No, not a Jack Sparrow pirate; a mean, modern-day pirate with access to sophisticated weapons and technology. His diabolical plan involves stealing a ship carrying enough nuclear material to obliterate millions of South Koreans, although his fanciful delivery system involves hundreds of balloons that are supposed to float peacefully over the country to deliver their deadly payload.

Our gallant hero is a brave Naval officer (the also strong Jung-Jae Lee from Il Mare) who seems to be the only person in the world able to locate and identify the pirate. His ace in the hole is the discovery of the pirate’s long-lost sister, who he soon retains to use as bait to lure in the baddie. Of course the pirate can’t resist the chance to reconnect with his only remaining living relative, which sets up a showdown between the two men that leads to something of a mutual admiration society instead of a deadly resolution to their faceoff. Will the villain succeed with his master plan? Will the officer uphold his duty or follow his kinship with the villain? Will anyone care by the time the bloated film reaches its conclusion?

It’s great to see a sizeable budget thrown at a project of this nature, but instead of worrying about hiring fancy extras such as a dedicated tattoo makeup artist they should have focused on the script and direction. The story is a muddle that hits recognizable notes every one in a while but fails to materialize into a logical or powerful whole. The direction is all about the bombast of the film’s big action scenes at the expense of its already weak story development, almost like the director realized the script was hokey and just wanted to get some big moments onscreen. Regrettably, there’s not even anything cutting-edge or memorable about the action, it’s mostly just big dumb explosions without any finesse. Also, the film’s score is so overwrought and overreaching for emotional intensity in spite of any dramatic fireworks onscreen that it serves as a distraction rather than a suitable complement.

Typhoon is now available on DVD. It includes numerous special features about the film’s production.

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