Typhoon (3 stars)

(15) 105min

Prepare yourself for Typhoon, the biggest-budgeted smash hit South Korean movie ever made that was shot on location in Korea, Russia and Thailand.
Overplaying the idea of a potentially volatile political standoff between North and South Korea (the film has played well with neo-con audiences in the US allegedly), Typhoon begins with the theft of a South Korean-bound cargo of US-supplied nuclear devices. Mad modern day pirate Sin (Jang Don-kun) is planning to use the devices to contaminate the Korean peninsula by launching them from a ship into the approaching typhoons. But can former Navy SEAL, Kang Se-jong (Lee Jang-jae), a kind of Korean Jack Bauer from TV’s 24 foil his plans as the bad weather approaches?

Big hitting director Kwak Kyung-taek (Champion, Friend) pulls out all the stops for this high octane thriller that clearly takes its lead from the collected oeuvres of Michael Bay and John Woo, and even if Typhoon ultimately tells us nothing about the real divisions at play in this once great country (for that you need to rent Park Chan-wook’s superb 2000 thriller JSA: Joint Security Area) this is highly entertaining fare.

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