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Nabbeun namja (2001)

Bad Guy

Directed by:

Ki-duk Kim

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 100 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Korea (South)

Do you believe in love at first sight? Han-gi (Jo Jae-hyeon) does!! So much so, in fact, that when he first sees plain-looking student girlie Sun-hwa (Seo Won) in the middle of a crowded city centre, he can’t help but run over to her and give her a big ol’ snog – despite the fact that her boyfriend proceeds to beat him across the spine with a large piece of street furniture. And the army are waiting to give him a kicking. And she’s none too shy when it comes to gobbing on people.

Shocked at the resounding failure of his attempt to pull (who would ever have thought that forcing yourself on a complete stranger wouldn’t work?!), our Han plots his revenge by framing the girl as a pick-pocket, forcing her to deal with a loan shark, and seeing to it that she winds up miserably employed at the nearby brothel where he just happens to do a spot of pimping. Well, they didn’t call the film ‘Bad Guy’ for nothing.

This is a bleak, downbeat and wretched film, featuring scene after scene of sexual violence, awful characters, and downright nastiness. It’s not particularly surprising to learn that it was swiftly assigned the “controversial” tag upon its release in its native Korea, but that’s far from the worst thing about it. After all, there’s nothing wrong with being controversial, but there should really be some sort of worthwhile message, and failing that it would at least be nice to be presented with an even and comprehensible plotline.

‘Bad Guy’ fails on those counts thanks largely to the unintelligible writing and direction from Kim Ki-duk – and, what’s more, it also fails on the performance front. Seo Won has next to no screen presence and though it’s easy to sympathise with her circumstances, relating to her as a person is another matter entirely. As for leading man Jo Jae-hyeon, he’s given next to no lines to speak and as a result does little more than stare a lot and try to look moody. Even worse is that, when he does finally open his mouth, it’s to squeak like a fancy boy – talk about killing the mood!!

It's Got: Some wildly irresponsible use of a flyer-poster.

It Needs: To stay off the helium.

DVD Extras There’s a decent array of features, including cast interviews, a behind-the-scenes documentary, a stills gallery, a butcher’s at the original trailer, and a trailer reel show-casing some of the other flicks in distributor Tartan Video’s ‘Asia Extreme’ range. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Samaritan Girl

Summary

‘Bad Guy’ is one thing – but what the title doesn’t warn you is that it’s also ‘Bad Film’.

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