I watched this for Old Boy but lo and behold, this was actually New World’s newest film. So its like two birds with one stone. I didn’t really know what to expect for this film cause I haven’t seen much hunter films and man, oh man, was I glad I caught this in theatres. I swear the tiger action sequences itself is worth your time and money.
So yeah, let’s start with the tiger. He should win the Oscar, not the bear. I really do not know how they did the tiger here. It’s clearly cgi but there were moments where you just appreciate how beautiful the cgi is. The tiger is less attractive during the scenes where its by itself in somewhere bright. The depth of feel and color gradient feels off. But when its slightly more dark and there are actors in the scene, the tiger literally comes to life and really causes some havoc. This movie, really shows the potential destructive power a tiger has on a human body. Its brutal to begin with when you put a tiger and a human in fight but since this is a Korean film, they added a lot more humans and a lot more blood and visceral damage to the human body. It was a love/hate relationship with the tiger being on screen. I was immersed deeply when the tiger was real but when it felt like cg, I was pulled out of the immersion.
Now, Oldboy himself; he plays a silent and strong father which is something I haven’t seen him do before so that was interesting. Though the overall plot has him moping a lot and keeps to himself so in essence its not that much of a stretch from his other characters. Though, I did enjoy the scenes he has with his son as the chemistry was there during both the happy times and the hard-breaking times. Jeong Man-Sik plays his direct opposite; a hunter who is hell-bent on appeasing his addiction to hunting but at the same time show up the Japanese troops. Jeong at times feels overacted but it probably is due to the fact that everyone else is so underwhelming that whatever he does it feels dramatically different.
Now in terms of cinematography, there’s a lot of forests and town scenery so there’s not much to write home about though there are shots of isolation in the beginning but that atmosphere isn’t that present throughout the film. I find it ironic that the scenes that were well shot are so little and generic set shots are throughout the film. I feel like this movie could have benefited from more eye-catching cinematography as I felt the forests itself could have been a more defined character rather than a simple location. Then again, even some of their lines inferred about the mystical-ness of the mountain and yet not much was done to convey that sense of feeling.
My biggest gripe about this is when the last quarter feels overtly melodramatic and things just falls into place despite what happened prior. It just felt too perfect and a bit of a stretch for the things that happen to happen. I mean I totally believe a tiger can and will wipe out a whole platoon of soldiers but for it to understand that a character wants a final showdown of respect and honour? That’s a big stretch. Furthermore, the pacing for this is slow and its not a good slow but rather it just takes things forever to get moving and when it does, you don’t feel like the wait was worth it (well except for the tiger action, that was totally worth it).
So with everything said, the tiger is worth the watch but you just gotta get through a lot of forgettable stuff.