here is very little doubt that writer/director Jin Jang
Comment") has a firm technical handle on his new movie, "Guns and
Talks", but I doubt
if he knew what he wanted to say, or if he had anything to say at all.
"Guns and Talks" is a South Korean movie that revisits the tired Hitman Genre. With
his version, Jin Jang has attempted to infused new blood into the genre with 4
assassins instead of the usual loner, and has also peppered his film with a
unique, if too quirky, beat.
"Guns and Talks" is about a quartet of assassins led
by Sang-yeon (Hyeon-jun Shin), the oldest and leader of the group.
His "gang" consists of Ha-yeon (Bin Won), his younger brother;
marksman Jae-yeong (Jae-yeong Jeong); and former marathoner and hot-tempered
triggerman Jung-woo (Ha-kyun Shin). The foursome lives in the same house in the
city and commits assassinations on the side. Other than that, they're four
ordinary Joes. Actually, they're quite shy ordinary Joes who considers
themselves only performing services that are needed.
When we first meet them, they're killing 4 men for a local crime boss who
is on the hit list of a tough and relentless cop (Jin-yeong Jeong). The mission
is a success and the crime boss is back out on the streets, but unfortunately
the cop is now after the assassins and worst, he's found out where they live!
Suddenly the assassins find their life complicated as the cop, and real
life, begins to get in the way of their profession.
It should be noted that Jin Jang's movie is
not a straight action film. The opening scene involving the assassinations of
four witnesses is done with style. The kills are elaborate (much too elaborate
to be reasonable) and for a moment, I thought this was going to be a
wall-to-wall action film. I was wrong. The rest of the movie consists of comedy
and odd moments, followed by another assassination job, and then the movie ends.
That's exactly my reaction when the film finally ended after almost two
hours. Why? Because the movie seemed like a TV show and episodic in nature. Things happen. Characters do this. This happens later.
Characters do that. There is no single overreaching dilemma or theme to grapple
onto. Worst of all, potentially interesting secondary characters drift in and
out and sometimes disappears for long periods before resurfacing again.
The film is narrated by Bin Won as Ha-yeon. Through him, we
learn a little bit (snippets, really) about the individual assassins. Jung-woo,
for instance, was a marathon runner who had a bad habit of getting lost during
his marathons, so he thought he'd give killing people for money a try. We never
really learn much about the characters except that they like watching the
morning news because they think the anchorwoman is really cute.
The blame goes to Jin Jang for tricking the audience into
thinking this was an action film. The opening is action-packed, but the rest of
the movie drags. The second hit at the opera house, the movie's potential saving
grace, practically takes forever. What lasts about 20 minutes onscreen seems to have
gone on for hours. The
ending, a violent confrontation between the cop and Sang-yeon, did catch me off
Despite all this, I did enjoy "Guns and Talks" for its
daring style. The movie breaks through the fourth wall more than once. At one
point, while doing voiceover narration, Ha-yeon loses track
and admits to the audience that it's not a good thing when you lose track while
doing voiceover narration. In another scene, the cop seems to split into
three separate frames after breaking into the quartet's house to look for
of the movie is made up of similar oddball situations, all of which don't quite
add up to a whole movie. The film seems like a hodgepodge of ideas, but not
enough to make one big coherent film. The movie's many episodes are
enjoyable, but as a feature length movie "Guns and Talks" just isn't much of one.
Yet the movie is funny and quirky enough to be different.
If nothing else, it certainly breathes new life into the tired Hitman Genre.