The Suspect Blu-ray Review
According to an immediate voiceover, the number of those that have defected from North Korea to South Korea exceeds 20,000.
Included in that number is Dong-chul (Gong Yoo, the South Korean TV series BIG), who was once a top agent for North Korea. That was some time ago. Now he comes home to an empty house and hears the voice of his daughter (begging, “Please don’t kill me!”) and sees the blood that left her body in front of his eyes.
Now living in South Korea, Dong-chul has taken a job as a personal driver to a wealthy chairman of a business, who also defected to the South. Perhaps because of his past or perhaps because of his bond with Dong-chul, the chairman is murdered in his home. As he takes his last breaths, he hands Dong-chul a pair of glasses and says, “Bury this…”
Of course, the glasses serve a greater function than merely magnifying the Sunday crossword puzzle, and so things quickly get complicated. Such complications include Dong-chul’s being framed for murder and the introduction of Colonel Min Se-hoon (Park Hee-soon, 2012’s THE SCENT) and National Intelligence Service director Kim Seok-ho (Jo Sung-ha, 2013’s THE COMMITMENT), both of whom are after Dong-chul, as well as a documentary filmmaker named Choi Kyung-hee (Yoo Da-in, 2011’s RE-ENCOUNTER, for which she won a Korean Association of Film Critics Award for Best New Actress), who wants to include Dong-chul in her latest work.
One look at the poster for THE SUSPECT, with its cars flipped upside down and its hero dodging an explosion (the back cover of the home video box art features Dong-chul running on the tops of cars, a baddie wielding a gun, a car chase and the hero leaping from danger), tells the viewer just how action-packed the movie will be. What’s disappointing is that so many such scenes are maniacally edited, which is meant to somehow heighten the slam-bang-ooh-ouch effect but only takes away.
Still, there’s something to be said about how much THE SUSPECT wants to wow the audience, as seen in the opening sequence of Dong-chul running from an unseen attacker and jumping off of a bridge to the water below and the scene where two men struggle with one another while parachuting from a plane (director Won-Shin yun wants to keep the viewer in suspense for so long that the parachute doesn’t even open until they’re maybe ten feet above the ground—never mind how they survived). On top of this, there are shootouts, fistfights and the like, all there to entertain for the excessive 137-minute runtime. While much of this is over-the-top, it is still fun for the target audience.
The issues, then, come in the story. As the real draw of THE SUSPECT is the action (at times nicely executed by Won Shin-yun, whose previous credits include 2005’s SCARY HAIR, 2006’s A BLOODY ARIA and 2007’s SEVEN DAYS), it’s easy for the viewer to get bored with screenwriter Im Sang-yoon’s plot, which is a bit too layered for its own good and often slows down the movie.
Video: 2.39:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This Blu-ray presentation has a very crisp image and boasts fine details/textures, accurate colors and strong contrast.
Audio: Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English. The audio transfer is excellent, with clean dialogue and immersive sound effects that heighten the action.