Shiri

South Korean blockbuster that sank Titanic

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OPENS MAY 2, CERT 18, 125 MINS

Handily broken down into a formula which comprises ’51 per cent action, 49 per cent romance’, this 1999 production made history in South Korea by breaking the box-office record set by Titanic. With anxiety about North Korea currently running at a new high, the film’s release here couldn’t be more timely, even if what’s on show is a fairly routine political action-thriller. A long-dormant North Korean female assassin (Kim Yun-Jin) comes out of hiding to spearhead a move to thwart potential rapprochement between North and South, hijacking a lethal weapon called CTX and plotting to use it at a football match between the two regions. Once a pair of intelligence agents set off in pursuit, the film becomes virtually one long, flamboyant action set-piece, although the romantic plot that underpins the story does provide respite. It’s all efficiently relentless but not particularly inspired; considering the pace at which the Asian action genre evolves, dedicated fans will find it very tame.

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