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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 18, 2019

Koreans Have Conquered International Cinema With 'Take Point', A Rousing Action-Thriller With Korean & Hollywood Stars Working Together

TAKE POINT movie review

THE SOUTH KOREANS have really gone global when it comes to their filmmaking. The new movie, “Take Point”, is a Korean co-production with Hollywood, with a Korean director Kim Byung Woo, who is known for such acclaimed works as “The Terror, Live”, “Anamorphic” and “Written”. His new film is an exciting action thriller about a South Korean mercenary who works for the CIA and whose mission is to protect a North Korean leader who is defecting.

The movie has a well written plot, filled with astounding action choreography and even makes a valid analysis of the power struggles and political conspiracies transpiring in Korean politics in his day. Aside from top Korean actor Ha Jung Woo (best known for “The Handmaiden”), it also stars Hollywood actors like Kevin Durand and Jennifer Ehle for better international viability. The movie opened in Korea last December and was a box office success. It has also been released in the U.S., SIngapore, Taiwan, Hongkong, Vietnam, and now, the Philippines.

The story is set in the year 2024 and America is having a lot of problems. U.S. Pres. McGregor (Robert Curtis Brown) has lifted sanctions against North Korea while China helps North Korea beef up its businesses and this eventually leads to the collapse of the U.S. economy, plunging it into crisis.

McGregor is running for re-election and to help his campain, he wants to bring down the present leaders of North Korea. In charge of this mission is an astute spy, MacKenzie (Jennifer Ehle), who seeks the help of South Korean secret agent known as Ahab (Ha Jung Woo), a former paratrooper who lost his military career and one of his legs because of a jump exercise that went badly. He has since moved to America and is a man without any scruples. He just wants to get his mission done right so he can be paid and go back to Philadelphia where his first child is scheduled to be delivered soon.

the international cast of TAKE POINT
The operation is set up by Ahab in an underground bunker between North and South Korea where politicans from both sides can hold secret meetings. His order is to penetrate the underground complex and get a North Korean general, then take him across the border to accomplish his mission. But what’s supposed to be a piece of cake turns out to be easier said than done.
It turns out the CIA has bombed Seoul, giving the U.S. a reason to attack the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

And Ahab’s problems get even worse when he learns that his target is not just an ordinary general but is actually North Korea’s top leader, King (Sun Wook Hyun). The pacing is very fast as all these details are revealed during the film’s first half hour. The buildup is very effective as we see Ahab exchanging heated words with MacKenzie on a call from Langley and so with the guys he’s supposed to be working with, Markus (Kevin Durand) and Logan (Spencer Daniels).

This leads to the movie’s first slambang action set piece with Ahab raging through the tunnels in the underground caverns to get his target, King. Things get from bad to worse when Ahab learns that King has been wounded and is bleeding profusely, which is bad since he’s supposed to get the North Korean leader alive so that McGregor will win favor from the U.S. voters in the coming election.

But surprise, surprise, there’s another twist. King’s supposed defection was also just engineered by other Pyongyang leaders so they can put the blame on McGregor for killing their president and then they can declare war against the U.S. that will surely trigger a 3rd World War.

Ahab’s problems multiply even more when the CIA itself withdrew its support from his team who are all unauthorized immigrants in America, which makes them all easily to dispose of. He now has to keep King alive and he has a North Korean medic to help him, Yoon (Lee Sun Kyun.) This gives the chance to Ha and Lee the chance to give effective performances as a South and a North Korean who are forced by circumstances to work together to help preventing an impending worldwide disaster.

Action lovers will surely enjoy the well choreographed action sequences with its precise camera work and persuasive special effects. The script is well written and the many twists and turns in the plotting are all done convincingly and with nail-biting suspense.
The South Koreans are really world class in the way they make movies (and also TV shows) so we are not surprised that they continue to gain more respect and more viewers in the world market. This movie should be seen in tandem with the South Korean “The Spy Gone North”, another acclaimed espionage drama helmed by Yoon Jong Bin which was exhibited at the Cannes International Filmfest last year.