Arya's In-Flight Asian Film Festival

troubleshooter

Troubleshooter
Director: Kwon Hyeok-jae
South Korea

From the title, I was expecting a tech-centric thriller where an IT guy talks people through their problems, but alas, that is not the case. Troubleshooter here is more of a catch-all term to describe our hero Tae-sik, an ex-cop turned private investigator who would solve your problem for a buck, but is forced to solve a big problem of his own. The movie ends up being something of a cross between Chinatown and 24. It's the classic premise of a gumshoe on an adultery case that gets him into hot water, but instead of tangling with femme fatales and pissing off criminals, Tae-sik spends 24 hours actively running from one place to the next, busting heads like a trained secret agent.

When Tae-sik breaks into a cheap motel room expecting to take pictures of a cheating spouse mid-coitus, he instead finds a corpse on the bed and police sirens drawing close. A stranger calls his cell and tells him that he can get a video of the murder, which will clear his name, if he takes on a high risk (and illegal) case. With no other choice, Tae-sik has to evade cops, break the law, fight bad guys, protect his daughter, suffer unexpected betrayal and obtain proof of a vast political conspiracy. The whole thing really does have the flavor of a sped-up season of 24, down to plot developments that come and go resulting in a big convoluted story.

It's a ludicrous script that offers little beyond plot twist after plot twist, but it's executed well enough—mostly because it doesn't try to sustain believability for very long and simply focuses on keeping a steady pace of thrills. The fight and chase scenes, for example, aren't really too hung up on who the characters are or what they're realistically capable of. It has a mentally ill serial killer fighting as formidably as a ninja, homicide detectives personally rappelling through the windows of high-rises into potential shootouts, and in one scene, Tae-sik kidnaps a star witness by bursting in and single-handedly taking down the guy's entire security team. Police work is just a little more awesome in South Korea, it seems.

US release unknown.



Feb
05
2011
Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for Artboiled.com.

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