Friday, December 4, 2015

Film Review: 24 Hours To Die (2008)

24 Hours To Die (aka Teureok) (Review)
Kwon Hyeong-jin/Yoo Hae-jin/2008
Where To Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...offers more than enough thrills and chills to fill its 90-minute runtime."

When trucker Jeong Cheol-min (Yoo Hae-jin) finds himself in dire need of money and at the mercy of a ruthless mob boss, he reluctantly agrees to dispose several dead bodies... but the road gets bumpy when a deranged serial killer escapes the police.

24 Hours To Die is an interesting thriller. The film follows Cheol-min, a humble trucker. When Cheol-min's daughter is hospitalized and in need of an expensive heart transplant, Cheol-min races to raise the funds. Unfortunately, he falls into gambling and finds himself even deeper in debt. However, when he stumbles upon a mob boss' vicious murders, Cheol-min is hired to dispose the bodies in exchange for his winnings and his life. While en route to dispose the bodies, Cheol-min stumbles upon a car accident — a vehicle overturned at the side of the road. Later, he hits an injured police officer. This 'officer' turns out to be harboring some sinister secrets. This is a film where the less you know, the better, so I'll leave it at that. The film leads to a decent albeit underwhelming ending — it did feel a little unsatisfying.

24 Hours To Die is a good thriller, though. The story isn't deep or complex, but it offers plenty of thrills and some decent characters. Although he's not the most robust, I did like Cheol-min's character. The initial plot device is a bit cliché — raising money to save an ill loved one — but it works. Where this film excels is in the suspense and thrills. I was at the edge of my seat more than a handful of times. "How will he get out of this one?" I asked myself. There are a few blatantly contrived moments, though. These moments tend to spoil some of the prior suspense. I went from asking how would they escape to saying, "Oh, how convenient..." These moments usually come from the ridiculously inept cops. It doesn't spoil the film, but it makes it less enjoyable on occasion. There was also a pinch of black humor sprinkled on top — it wasn't abundant, but it was effective.

The acting was fine, though. Yoo Hae-jin plays a very fidgety and clumsy character, sometimes a bit overdone, but he does well enough — you really don't see him in lead roles, but I thought he was good. Jin Goo, who also stars in Northern Limit Line, was also strong as the sinister serial killer on the loose. The supporting cast was also good. The film is shot well enough and the music wasn't intrusive — not exactly memorable, but not intrusive, either. The film is written by Jang Hyeong-mo and directed by Kwon Hyeong-jin. The writing could use some fine-tuning, especially for the plot contrivances, but the plot was generally interesting. Kwon Hyeong-jin's direction was great, though. Although he doesn't stray far from the formula, he certainly knows how to craft some tense scenes.

Overall, 24 Hours To Live is a good thriller. It has some glaring issues in its often contrived plot, but it is also very entertaining. The film offers more than enough thrills and chills to fill its 90-minute runtime. I wouldn't rush to import this at a premium price, but if you have an Amazon Prime account or have a few bucks to spare, I can recommend a rental for fans of the genre.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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