Like the city it displays, Time to Hunt is a gripping film and sometimes beautiful to look at but still feels empty in some parts. The film, which lasts more than two hours, does have its own moment, which feels thrilling and exciting to watch. But it is not uncommon for this film to feel slow in carrying out the story, which in the end makes this film feel like it has a long duration.
The film premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival in February, making it the first Korean film to air at the festival. Then this film premiered on Netflix at the end of April, where this film is ready to hit the audience locked in the house, which also happens to be close to the release of the action film Extraction - starring Chris Hemsworth - which airs on Netflix.
In Time to Hunt , we take a look at South Korea's dystopian world, which has been hit by an economic crisis. Poverty was rampant, the streets were empty, shops were closed, and their national currency, the Won, had fallen hard. This film tells the story of three young people, Jun-seok (Lee Je-hoon) who just got out of prison and his two close friends, Jang-ho (Ahn Jae-hong) and Ki-hoon (Choi Woo-shik). Jun-seok, wanting to pursue his dream of getting out of Korea and living in Hawaii, suggests robbing his two friends of a gambling house.
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Jun-seok also invites his old friend, Sang-soo (Park Jung-min) who owes him to rob the gambling place. Sang-soo is an employee of the gambling place they'll be robbing, giving the four of them the edge for devising strategies. After steady design and buying weapons first, they finally started their robbery. But the film's story only kicks in after they finish robbing where now the four of them are hunted by an assassin named Han (Park Hae-soo).
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If before the film didn't feel too gripping, then now it feels tense. The last half of the film tells how Han skillfully hunts the four of them, and how they have to survive after always confronting him. One of the most suspicious moments occurs when Jun-seok confronts Han for the first time, where he is given five minutes to escape as far and as fast as possible, before Han starts chasing them.
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Just like the name of the film, Time to Hunt which means "time to hunt" does not describe our four heroes, but rather describes the assassin Han who is assigned to hunt the four of them, no matter how far they escape. And it was when Han appeared in the film that the story of this new film really went full speed ahead. Unfortunately, it took about an hour for Han to appear in the film, which means this film only feels really tense when half of the film has been running.
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At half the film, the film feels quite slow progress. Indeed, sometimes some scenes feel important and some other scenes are beautiful to see - like how the three of them walked inside the gambling building doused by red light - but all of those scenes didn't really take an hour to tell. Not only that, the first half of the film also feels like it's just a warm-up of the main story. Even when the four of them are already inside the gambling house and are robbing, this film still hasn't reached its main course yet because we are still at the appetizer.
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But when Han enters the story, the moment where he starts threatening an illegal weapons dealer for the location where Jun-seok and his friends are is where the new film begins. Maybe in another world, Han is the main character in this film because usually films make a figure like Han - skilled and gun expert - as the main character (like John Wick ). But here, we see what it feels like to be targeted by deadly people like Han.
Of course the last half of the film is the most exciting point in the film, where the tone of the film changes from what was originally a film genre that feels like ordinary action into horror psychology where they are constantly haunted by a tense feeling because they are worried that they will always be followed by Han. Han feels like a mystical human figure who somehow always manages to find them, which ultimately makes Jun-seok and his friends always have to think hard about how to escape from Han's death grip.
Not only Han's presence makes the film even more tense, but also how the city is flooded with dark reds also adds to the tense sensation of the film. Yoon Sung-hyun knows how to make use of the surroundings for the story, with the empty city also adding to the mystical sensation to the story.
He can also show the appearance of a beautiful city with sparkling lights that illuminate the surroundings and the slum of the city with the streets filled with garbage and the poor who live on the streets. We can also see how chaotic the city is, where in one scene at the beginning of the film when the three of them are driving their vehicle and hear gunshots, they just say "I hope we don't get shot" which indicates the insecurity of the city because gunshots are not something shock or frighten them again.
And besides half the initial movie that feels too slow walk and can not compensate for half the final movie, the ending of which is owned by Time to Hunt also feels too vague for the film as tight and neat as this. Even though it already has a very interesting and well executed story, the ending of this story feels very forced and ultimately gives an unsatisfactory impression. Even so, this film is still a dystopian thriller that is very cool to see, interesting to follow and has characters that are also interesting for us to follow.
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