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Shiri (Bilingual)

Suk-kyu Han , Min-sik Choi , Je-kyu Kang    DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 79.94
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A dazzling action movie from South Korea, Shiri follows two South Korean government agents, Ryu and Lee, as they pursue a female super-assassin from North Korea. Meanwhile, an elite paramilitary squad from North Korea has stolen a shipment of CTX, an undetectable liquid explosive of enormous power, which they've planted all over the city of Seoul. As their investigations are successively foiled, Ryu and Lee begin to suspect that there is a mole within the ranks of the agency--and it may be one of them. Both hyperstylish and hyperrealistic, Shiri rips along as a smooth fusion of Hong Kong and American action movies. Ryu's troubled romance with his alcoholic fiancée adds a striking emotional counterpoint to the blazing gunfights and high-speed chases; the ending is unexpectedly moving. It's not surprising that this film beat Titanic's box-office records in Korea. --Bret Fetzer

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
I thought this film was decent enough to watch. "Shiri" is a generic modern action flick, heavily indebted to American movies like "Heat" and "The Rock" But for all its conventional plotting, convoluted situations and flashy style, there's something quite compulsive about the film. Writer/director Je-gyu Kang balances the action and drama with confidence, and the characters, while not given a massive amount of background, are intriguing and sympathetic. The relationship between Ryu and his girlfriend Hyun (Yun-Jin Kim) is handled rather melodramatically - you just know something bad is going to happen to mess up their blossoming love - but the acting is strong, particularly from Korean heartthrob Suk-Gyu Han and Min-sik Choi, playing head terrorist Park.

The violent set-pieces are restrained in their number but not in their ferocity. The film opens with a gruesome sequence detailing Hee's training by the North Korean military, as she chops off heads and slits throats with determined abandon, while there's a blisteringly exciting gun-battle later on that starts in a theatre before spilling bloodily onto the busy streets of Seoul. In general, Kang is a bit too keen to keep his camera constantly moving, but Sung-Bok Kim's inventive cinematography provides an arresting visual edge.

Kang attempts to give to his film a political dimension, emphasising the economic differences between North and South Korea, while the title derives from a fish that divides its time between the two nations. But this is all approached fairly simplistically, and to be honest, we've seen terrorists threaten the safety of a city with stolen explosives so many times before that the political element isn't hugely important to the suspense.
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5.0 out of 5 stars designer kitten =^-^= May 31 2004
Dubbed by the local press as the 'small fish that sank Titanic', "Shiri (Swiri)" is the most successful film in South Korean box office history.visuals rivaling both Hollywood and Hong Kong action movies, the star power of popular Korean actors Han Suk-kyu ("Christmas in August") and Choi Min-shik, and a story centered around the continuing Cold War tensions between North and South Korea, this espionage action-thriller easily won over domestic audiences when it was released in 1999. "Shiri" also marked a turning point in the evolution of South Korean cinema.That said, the film's action sequences are rather fun to watch, and probably the film's only saving grace. Though the film was made for a paltry $5 million US (which is six times the typical budget for a typical Korean feature), the production values, particularly in the action department, are top-notch.So if you like action films then you will love this film.I give it 5stars because its one better action movies i have seen in good while.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great action with a twist March 12 2004
By A Customer
Wow, this movie is really something unique. At first when I started the movie I thought okay, so this movie is basically going to be about a woman who likes to kick butt. Hey, since I am also a female, I thought, that's a great idea! I love to watch movies when women kick butt like also in Charlie's Angels. Something different for a change! Move aside Arnold Swarzenegger, this female assasin can really give it to you good. I just loved how cool and mysteriously she was portrayed. I don't know what Shiri means in Korean? but that sure isn't the assasin's name. Alright, so at first I thought that this movie would be all action, just bang bang and dead people, but to my great surprise there was a twist to the storyline. You'd have to watch it to find out. The twist was based on a romantic theme not action. The movie started off with action but ended up in a romance. I thought that this was an incredible transition, not seen in many if not at all any other action movies. The special effects in the fighting scenes are spectacular! No less worthy of Hollywood productions. It is just like watching a hollywood action movie, sometimes I'd have to stop myself and realize that this is an Asian movie not American. It was great to watch an action/romantic movie in Korean because I got a chance to see their country, culture and the way Koreans sound and look. I think that foreign movies are something very special, they have a certain charm about them not found in American movies. Well, anyways, the thing that was most memorable about the movie was the twist and the ending. I loved the theme song "When I dream". A sad movie that deeply touches the heart and is not a movie soon to forget. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Impressive March 7 2004
My only exposure to this movie is from other amazondotcommers' reviews, which was very favourable. Nevertheless, I still didn't know what to expect. Some reviewers made allusion to "Le Femme Nikita," which is rightly so, but hardly the same movie. This is a guy movie and the lead actress didn't have as much screen time as the two OP agents which I think is okay because the movie was still able to give a profound impression about the what and why's of the Femme Assassin. Concerning the other reviewers, I have to agree with most, "Shiri" is quite impressive in the way that it tried and succeeded in making a Hollywodd style action movie but uniquely Korean. The melodramatic parts of the movie gives one time to pause from the sheer, dizzing action sequence, yet it didn't feel awkward although at times bordering towards soap opera. The plot, surprisingly was the movie's weak point, a bit too gimicky and had the potential to sag, where for not the actor's believable performances. Yun-jin Kim who plays the reincarnated Hyun had a bit more of a challenge having to play the vunerable pretty girl next door, to a deadly spy with a big gun. Kim had to convey varying degrees of emotions in a limited screen time convincingly, which gives her performance more notice. I also like the actor who played the nemesis, Min sik Choi. He has the same intensity that could be compared to a younger Clint Eastwood. And yes, I also like the ending, don't forget the tissue paper.
The DVD has a nice, extra long documentary on the making of "Shiri," which really shows you that these guys mean bussiness when it comes to action movies.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great action movie with an excellent story!
Though the movie opens with some very violent training scenes, which may turn some people off to the movie, once you get beyond that, it has an excellent, though in some cases... Read more
Published on March 28 2004 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed and suspenseful...
I just finished watching this spectacular film. I won't go into what's already been said about this movie except that Shiri does rival all the major Hollywood blockbuster action... Read more
Published on March 13 2004 by H. Yu
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
This movie was excellent. Rarely is there a film where the romance and action are combined well - this one is it. Read more
Published on Dec 17 2003 by Chin H. Ho
3.0 out of 5 stars What A Movie!
This movie is a concoction of many romance, thriller and action movies. As the movie started, I thought to myself, ah, another shoot-shoot, bang-bang movie and that the heroes... Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by Ping Lim
3.0 out of 5 stars A noble attempt for a Korean blockbuster
Shiri, prior to its release in South Korea, received some attention as the subject focusing the conflict between North Korea and South Korea, a conflict that has been very real and... Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2003 by Henry H. S. Yoon
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic action film!
Unlike most countries, Korea's domestic films have always beaten out any imported films, especially those from the US, in the box office. Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2003 by James Lee
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but Predictable Intensity
Somewhere just past the opening sequence of Shiri, two special forces recruits race furiously to manually assemble the dismantled pistols in front of them. Read more
Published on May 27 2003 by Daigo Parry
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
I don't speak Korean so I'm not always fond of movies with subtitles or that are dubbed... I saw the film in Korea with out subtitles or dubbing and it was pretty easy to follow... Read more
Published on April 29 2003 by Amanda Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars definately worth a look
This is the first South Korean film that I have seen. I do not know if this is standard for what the nation puts out, or if this is a superior Korean movie. Read more
Published on April 2 2003 by Joe Sherry
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