Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Lee Dae-ro Can't Die (aka Short Time) (2005)

Lee Dae-ro Can't Die (aka Short Time) (Review)
Lee Young-eun/Lee Beom-soo/2005
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...a little black, a little lighthearted, a little bizarre, and all-around hilarious."

Police officer and conman Lee Dae-ro (Lee Beom-soo) rushes to secure his daughter's financial future when he finds out he has a brain tumor...

Lee Dae-ro Can't Die follows Lee Dae-ro as he tries to secure his feisty daughter's financial future. Dae-ro has a brain tumor and is given three to four months to live. So, he applies for insurance and is determined to die by anything but his brain tumor. The problem is: Lee Dae-ro can't die. Being attacked by notorious thugs, jumping off buildings, crashing cars... he's invulnerable. Aside from trying to die, Dae-ro has to find a parent-figure for his daughter, Hyun-ji, which is either going to be Hyun-ji's biological mother or his current gold digging girlfriend. The ending was great; it left a little to be desired and it isn't definitive, but at least it doesn't spoil the mood.

Lee Dae-ro Can't Die, also known as Short Time, is a great Korean comedy. It's a little black, a little lighthearted, a little bizarre, and all-around hilarious. And it does it all with the Korean comedies' signature charm and quirk. The story was creative and funny, as were the characters. Lee Dae-ro is a conman, but he comes off as funny. Hyun-ji is adorable and has plenty of hilarious scenes, too. It does lose some momentum with the cliché gold-digger subplot in the second half, but that's fortunately short-lived. Otherwise, it's a laugh-out-loud film from beginning to end, and it even has some genuinely emotional scenes.

Lee Beom-soo, who recently starred in Over My Dead Body, is great as the leading man; he's charismatic and quirky. Byeon Ju-yeon plays Hyun-ji, and she nails the performance; she's funny and genuine during her emotional scenes. It's a well-shot film, and the music was also good; a fairly standard comedy film. I did like the sound effects used in the film. The English subtitles in the Amazon Prime Instant Video stream are great -- a few spelling errors, but not at all detrimental. Director Lee Young-eun does well in creating a consistent and hilarious film; although it loses some momentum on occasion, it has great personality and charm thanks to Young-eun's direction.

Overall, Lee Dae-ro Can't Die, also known as Short Time, is a great comedy. I had a smirk on my face throughout most of the film, and I burst our laughing more than a handful of times. (which usually isn't the norm for me.) It does have a cliché and dull yet short subplot, and the ending may feel like a cop-out, though. It's a great time, and its balanced pacing make this the perfect time-killer. Oh, and stick around for the credits for some hilarious deleted scenes.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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