TYPHOON (Kwak Kyung-Taek). 105 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (June 16). For venues and times, see Movies, page 107. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
Typhoon is James Bond Korean-style.
You've got your government agent, your madman with plans for massive destruction, your girl and your do-or-die climax aboard a storm-tossed, nuclear-death-laden ship under attack by American topedoes.
You've also got exotic locations and a big, brassy John Barry-style score pumping the drama.
While there are nods to other 60s spy thrillers like The Ipcress File, Typhoon is shot like a 70s cop thriller - say, The French Connection - with lots of location work and crowd scenes that look totally unstaged. Lots of dirt, no glamour.
Until the grand finale, which delivers its full measure of thrills and spectacle, the action is also deglamourized and scaled down. But it's fully effective, erupting in sudden bursts that emphasize the immediacy of pain, danger and death.
This isn't an actors' movie, but Jang Don Gun , Lee Jung-Jae and Lee Mi-yeon as, respectively, the villain, hero and girl, give thoroughly credible performances.
For once, the girl isn't the lust object but the villain's sister. Their backstory gives weight to the villain, the hero and the story itself that the Bond flicks haven't had in decades.