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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.

Sep 4, 2023



‘A MAN OF REASON’ is a Korean action-drama starring Jung Woo Sung, a well known Korean action star who also helms it as his first directorial job.

He plays Soo Hyuk who catches our attention right in the violent opening scene. 

As a quiet but deadly mob hitman, we first see him in his black BMW, getting calls from his girlfriend Min Seo, but he ignores the calls as he is on a mission to attack the nightclub lair of a rival crime gang. 

Armed only with a big knife that has a flashlight attached to it, he then starts hacking the thug members of the gang.

There’s a brown out and we see his knife slashing through the air and the darkness, as the camera follows him in his act of unbridled slaughter. 

This is the first of a number of action set pieces in the movie that elevate it from being standard action genre fare.

For this, Soo Hyuk goes to prison and becomes the willing fall guy for the crime lord who is his boss. 

He spends ten years in jail covering for his boss and when he is finally released, he finds out that he has become a father while he is serving his sentence. 

His girlfriend, Min Seo, has given birth to a daughter, In Bi, and so he now wants to go straight and leave his life of crime for his family. 

He refuses to do a new job for the syndicate. 

But his boss will not allow him to just cut off his ties with the criminal world that easily and refuses to retire him. 

The boss orders an assistant to kill him. The assistant then two assassins, a man and a woman who are both unhinged, to kill Soo Hyuk and, in order to get him, they kidnap his daughter. 

The movie then becomes an involving tale of kidnap, rescue and revenge, with the hero fighting off an assortment so many bad guys, including this pair of crazy murderers on motorbikes.

As a director, Jung Woo Sung relies on striking imagery and directorial audacity to keep what’s happening on screen quite compelling.

He makes use of a profusion of twists, visual gags, tonal shifts and even social commentary to keep viewers interested. 

There’s a shootout using nail guns and there’s a scene where Soo Hyuk drives through the hotel lobby of the syndicate’s real estate offices, using his car as a weapon to fight off his enemies for a high octane action sequence. 

There's a long thrilling chase sequence inside a tunnel where he runs after the killers on a motorbike and they keep on throwing home made bombs at him.

And the scene where he tries to rescue his daughter from the kidnapers is equally full of blood and gore. 

The meticulous stunt work and action choreography give the action sequences a ballet like quality that has actually become the standard for Korean action genre movies. 

As the title connotes, Soo Hyuk is the man of reason who, as a protagonist, wants to change his life for the better. 

It’s the villains around him are the ones so unreasonable for not allowing him to move on and be a more law-abiding person.  

Each time he gets back on his tormentors, you feel like applauding as they are really evil and deserved to be punished,

In the end, just like “John Wick” who also wants to retire like Soo Hyuk, we viewers don’t really want these anti-heroes to do so and lead normal lives. 

Otherwise, how would we get our regular dose of brutal and violent action scenes on the big screen?