Looking for a cops and robbers film for the 2014s? Look no further than Korea’s “Cold Eyes.” Directed by Ui-seok Jo and Byung-seo Kim with screenplay by Ui-seok Jo, based on Kin-Yee Au and Nai-Hoi Yau’s film, “Eye in the Sky,” “Cold Eyes” has it all—action, bad guys, good guys, great dialogue (it comes across even with sub-titles), chase scenes, gunfights, terrific acting and an absolutely fantastic score that ties the movie together.
The movie opens on a Seoul subway and seems to focus on a young woman, a businessman and a dozing middle-aged man. Is there a connection?
Chief Hwang (Kyung-gu Sol) is the leader of a small surveillance team that pursues high-stakes criminals. We learn that it isn’t easy to make this team, but once you do, you are joining a group of men and women who work hard and play hard. Thrown into the mix is new recruit, Ha Yoon-joo (Hyo-ju Han), quickly nicknamed Piglet. She’s smart, quirky and it’s fun to watch her grow and connect with other members of the team. As the head of the team, Hwang shows an easy rapport with all of his underlings. Kyung-gu Sol and Hyo-ju Han are especially good and their scenes together have a lot of the “Karate Kid-like” chemistry of master and student. It’s equally enjoyable to watch Hwang’s connection with his superior, Department head Lee (Jin Kyung). Kyung is really terrific portraying both brains and heart as the person most responsible for the well-being of the department.
And just who are they surveiling? The team is involved in several cases and these crimes seem to overlap, which can be confusing initially. No matter..stick with it and the cases eventually sort themselves out. The connection to these crimes appears to be James (Jung Woo-sung ), one of the coldest villains to ever grace the screen. Woo-sung is great in capturing the lack of compassion and downright meanness of this man.
The directors show us some spectacular chase scenes from up high and they are just amazing. We don’t often get that kind of aerial view, and when we do, it astounds. And it cannot be over emphasized just how fabulous the score from Dalparan and Jang Young-gyu is. The music is like another film character that just happens to be terrific.
As much as I enjoyed the film, I was a little taken aback by the amount of cameras Seoul has and how invasive they are. True, they make it easier to solve crimes, but they do give one pause.
Politics aside, “Cold Eyes” is one high-octane fantastic movie. The film was shown as part of Filmfest DC. When it comes to a theatre near you, make it your eyes’ business to see “Cold Eyes.”