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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Han Suk-Kyu, Choi Min-Sik, Song Kang-Ho, Kim Yoon-Jin, Derek Kim

Director: Kang Je-Gyu

Ryu (Han Suk-Kyu) and Lee (Song Kang-Ho) are the top special agents in South Korea and for years they have been tracking down a North Korean assassin known as Hee (Kim Yoon- Jin). After a surprise tip they discover Hee’s identity and coincidentally after this the assassinations stop. Three years later the assassinations start again and this time Hee is always one step ahead of them. Ryu and Lee become increasingly convinced that there is a leak in the agency, which leads them to suspect each other. Meanwhile Ryu gets engaged to a beautiful girl, Hyun. He’s totally in love with her but she has a few issues that he thinks are merely the result of a past drinking problem.

Meanwhile Hee and her North Korean comrades steal some CTX, a powerful liquid base explosive designed by South Korea. They intend to disrupt the planned peace meeting between the South and North Korean Presidents. As the pressure mounts, suspicion deepens between Ryu and Lee. Also Hyun seemingly starts to be consumed by her many unsolved issues. As all this unravels there are many shock discoveries, which leads to a powerful, breathtaking and heartbreaking climax.

Han Suk-Kyu is great as the dedicated agent who has finally found love as an alternative to work. He portrays this character with warmth yet steely determination. Song Kang-Ho perfectly depicts a man whose life is his work, swayed by nothing but perhaps his respect for his partner. Kim Yoon-Jin passionately plays a woman torn between three worlds, past, present and future.

Kang Je-Gyu’s directing is very good, uplifting the quality and feel of Korean movies. With first-rate visuals and a good paced storyline there could perhaps have been a bit more action, which would have enhanced a great plot.

SHIRI is a very entertaining action/love/political thriller with twists, suspense and a very compassionate love story.

5 out of 6 stars