Review by Jack Foley
KOREAN director Lee Myung-Se has been hailed in certain quarters as the next John Woo so, with that in mind, I had every reason to enter this particular screening with high expectations.
Sadly, I emerged disappointed; for while Nowhere To Hide is never afraid to experiment with new camera techniques and boasts a couple of fine performances, they ultimately cannot disguise the fact that this is a pretty empty thriller.
Park Joong-Hoon stars as no-nonsense Korean detective Woo, an officer who
seldom shirks from administering a beating, who sets about pursuing Ahn Sung-Ki's
ruthless killer following a particularly brutal daylight stabbing.
But far from resorting to any form of intelligent police work, Woo and fellow colleagues stumble from one chase sequence to the next, opting to make their fists do the talking wherever possible.
And what sounds exciting, quickly becomes tiresome, as Myung-Se's penchant for adopting innovative camera techniques threatens to undermine much of the narrative thrust of the story.
Nowhere To Hide is by no means a bad film, merely a mundane one which delights
in squandering opportunities at nearly every turn. On the plus side, both
Joong-Hoon and Sung-Ki deliver feisty turns, with the former in particular
standing out for the sheer enthusiasm he brings to the role.
His detective Woo may not be the cleverest of police officers, but what he lacks in brain he more than makes up for in brawn no matter how overwhelmingly the odds are stacked against him.
Hence, one or two of the fight sequences do stand out - most notably a rooftop scrap which opts to show the characters' shadows, and the final, slow-mo encounter between the two protagonists which brings the movie to a suitably showy close.
But too often, Nowhere To Hide flatters to deceive; threatening to offer
something that it just doesn't deliver. And with that in mind, it simply can
not disguise the fact that this is a pretty flimsy excuse for the director
to show off just how many neat tricks he can perform with a camera.