Nowhere to Hide

"Weak"

Nowhere to Hide Review


Altered States director Ken Russell once said that all films should be viewed in fast-forward. This vision of cinema comes to fruition in Myung-se Lee's ultra-stylized Nowhere to Hide, less a movie than a hyperactive video game come to life.

The opening scenes are a barrage of fight sequences strung together by flash cuts, snapshots, blurs, tilts, whirls, and colors that bleed into one another like paintings. And those first ten minutes are all you need to see (and, not surprisingly, were used extensively in the American trailer). Choreographed to a fast paced, melancholy rock ballad, an assassin slices some businessman up and escapes the police. Meanwhile, a rogue cop jumps on a table and starts opening fire randomly on a group of thugs. It makes absolutely no sense, but it hardly matters. No plot, no character development, just pure carnage in full throttle.

For better or for worse (as I was perfectly happy to let it continue as violent nonsense), the camera and editing techniques move into a more subdued groove as we get into the story of a cop on the edge -- is there any other kind? Detective Woo is played with slapstick gusto by Joong-Hoon Park, joined by Dong-Kun Jang as his square-jawed, by-the-books sidekick. They eat some sushi, chase some bad guys down alleyways, kick around suspects in the interrogation room, and steadily close in on the villains.

The inconsequential plot is merely a framework for exhaustive combat scenes, all framed with the unsubtle bravura of comic books. Take the Crispin Glover kung-fu ballet in Charlie's Angels and multiply it by 1,000 -- that's an accurate summation of Nowhere to Hide. It sounds obtuse to compare a Korean action flick with a Hollywood movie ripping off those established cinematic elements, but Nowhere to Hide seems to have gone through that filter of American junk food and returned home the worse for wear.

It certainly looks cool, if you're into the smoke and mirrors of music videos. For all his enthusiasm, Myung-se Lee is too giddy with the delights of slow-motion and spin kicks to miss the vital ingredient found in the emotionally gripping films of Wong Kar Wai: soul. Myung-se he has been inexplicably compared to Wong by culturally ignorant critics who lump all Asian cinema into one lump sum. Placing Fallen Angels or even the decidedly uneven In the Mood For Love next to Nowhere to Hide, it's clear that we're comparing an artist to a showboat.

If you like your movies stupid and fast, track down Nowhere to Hide. If that's not a backhanded compliment, I don't know what is.

Aka Injeong sajeong bol geot eobtda.

Nowhere to fly to, either.



Nowhere to Hide

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 31st July 1999

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Sara Crane, as Detective Jack Irons, as Edward Crane, Brian Dietzen as Sheldon Wilkes

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