Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Over My Dead Body (2012)

Over My Dead Body (Review)
Woo Seon-ho/Lee Beom-soo/2012
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime 

"...a bit too complicated for a comedy and too simple for a crime film."

A biotech researcher, the daughter of a severely injured protestor, and a con artist team up to kidnap the dead body of a wealthy yet sinisterly uncaring head of a pharmaceutical company...

Over My Dead Body is a crime/heist comedy, and it can be occasionally too complicated. The story centers around the head of a pharmaceutical company, Kim Taek-soo, who decides to shut down their groundbreaking research and sell it overseas. Jin-soo, a researcher and protestor, is severely injured in the process, and Kim Taek-soo suffers a fatal fate. Eventually, Hyun-chul (Lee Beom-soo), a friend of Jin-soo and a biotech researcher, and Dong-hwa (Kim Ok-bin), Jin-soo's daughter, team up to steal the body of Kim Taek-soo and hold it for ransom, but are brought into a conspiracy regarding the dead body and a valuable but missing semiconductor chip. Their plan is further distorted when they reluctantly team up with Ahn Jin-oh (Ryoo Seung-bum), a con artist in the process of committing insurance fraud. Whew! That's quite a bit to digest, isn't it? The rest of the plot centers around this group trying to receive the ransom, outsmart their pursuers, and stay out of prison. If you've seen any heist comedy films, the ending can be seen a mile away; still, it's very funny.

Both for a comedy and heist film, Over My Dead Body is really unnecessarily complicated and convoluted. The first paragraph of this review explains the gist of it, but looking back at my second paragraph... wow, that's a lot of story. And, this may frighten some viewers. But, don't fear the plot. It's difficult to explain, but easy to understand. The comedy is occasionally quirky, a bit bizarre, a little slapstick, and often dark -- in other words, it's versatile. Some moments really had me laughing out loud, while some really fell flat; but, I laughed more than I didn't. The heist elements, though, are very procedural and predictable; it just never really becomes daring enough to develop a distinct identity. The planning process, the execution, the ending, everything about the actual crime/heist elements are dreadfully by-the-books -- a missed opportunity. However, the crime elements, as generic as they may be, helped create a balance in the pacing. If you're looking for a comedy with a lot of story and some great pacing, this is it.

Lee Beom-soo and Kim Ok-bin are great -- their characters aren't developed enough to be demanding, but their performances are more than competent. Much like Dachimawa Lee, though, Ryoo Seung-bum steals the show with an excellent performance -- Seung-bum is so versatile and daring, he's quickly become one of my favorite Korean actors. The film is shot very well, picture quality is superb. The English subtitles on the Netflix Instant stream have a few spelling and grammatical errors, but it's nearly perfect. Writer and director Woo Seon-ho does well in creating some blatant and subtle humor, but his crime elements feel half-baked.

Overall, Over My Dead Body is a bit too complicated for a comedy and too simple for a crime film. But, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hilarious. The movie is thoroughly entertaining and humorous, and, despite feeling half-baked and cliché, the crime elements offer enough to keep you engaged. Definitely worth streaming, and even purchasing for fans of the genre and cast.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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