Monday, September 2, 2013

Film Review: Traffickers (2012)

Traffickers (Review)
South Korea/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Traffickers is a bloody thrill ride..."

Forced to complete one last job, Young-gyu (Im Chang-jung) boards a boat with his crew to harvest the organs of Chae-hee -- a crippled young woman. Sang-ho (Choi Daniel), Chae-hee's husband, notices her disappearance and rushes to save her... but, not without heavy interference.

Traffickers is a dark and disturbing crime thriller about the illegal human and organ trafficking in Korea and China. The story follows Young-gyu as he completes his final job. His crew operates by abducting passengers on boats and harvesting their organs before their arrival -- corrupt cops and customs allow for some leg room. The story's starts off rough and a bit confusing as it introduces many characters and a lot of information to absorb; however, this rough introduction eventually settles down for a smoother ride, with a few bumps on the road. That's all you need to know, really. This plot is twist heavy, especially the second half; every corner hits you with a shocking, unbelievable twist, and then turns for another blow. The ending is dark and depressing, but powerful and effective; it won't end like your typical Hollywood thriller.

Traffickers focuses on creating a thrilling situation after another. The tension is genuine as I felt goosebumps through my body and as I clenched my fist. The chase and hide-and-seek scenes are adrenaline charged as they keep you suspended through their high tension. The brutal fights end in bloodbaths -- gallons and gallons of blood are spilled. And, as previously stated, there's a twist at every corner that keeps you hooked -- I couldn't take my eyes of the screen. This is a pure thriller, with some subtle social commentary -- there aren't many films that address the corruption involved in the trafficking of human organs.

Im Chang-jung is great with his versatile performance -- occasionally bland, but mostly spot on. Choi Daniel is also great with his often emotional performance, it felt genuine. Oh Dal-su is a personal favorite, and this performance further solidifies him as one of the greats; he's darkly humorous and eccentric with this role. The music is mostly great, it gets very epic during the twists; and, since there're plenty of them, the music is mostly epic. The film is nicely shot, really captures the dark mood of the film. The direction pulls a lot out of the story and cast, the writing could've benefitted from polishing.

I own the South Korean First Print Blu-Ray of the Traffickers. The slipcover is high-quality with a smooth surface and vivid colors. The blu-ray case is clear, and there is only one disc. The subtitles during the film are flawed; they're good enough to get through the film, but they contain spelling and grammatical errors -- in fact, you may have to rewind and pause to absorb the information properly. Other than that, everything else, like the picture and audio, is high quality.

Overall, Traffickers is a ferociously paced, brutal, and disturbing crime thriller. Despite its rough start, Traffickers is a bloody thrill ride with great acting, music, and direction; and, a story worth watching and absorbing considering how often this problem occurs around the world.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, nudity and a brief sex scene.

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