A Hard Day (2014) Movie Review

A Hard Day 
By Imfaerae

A Hard Day is a 2014 Korean action thriller written and directed by Kim Seong-hun.  Lee Sun-kyun plays the lead character.  Lee Sun-kyun has also had lead roles in the dramas Coffee Prince, Pasta and Miss Korea.  In Hard Day he plays Go Geon-soo, a character that gave me the impression he must have made an enemy in a previous life. Not five minutes in and I was shaking my head wondering how the hell he was going to get out of such a mess. The suspense in this film was amazing. Most of the time I couldn’t tell what was going to happen next or how it was going to resolve itself.

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I have to say I wasn’t impressed with the lead character at first. He’s an arrogant dirty cop who thinks he’s above everyone just because he’s a detective. He ends up doing things in desperation that a decent person wouldn’t even think of. Though it was interesting to see some of the ceremonial rites of Korean funerals, I found the funeral sequence especially appalling. Then the whole scenario changes as the story develops. I realized there could be someone worse as his nightmare escalates.

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The additional bump in Go Geon-soo’s life happens to be some mysterious crazy person. Go becomes involved in something bigger than anything he’s ever had to deal with and it’s an eye opener for him. It was a turning point because it shifts and changes what you may think about the main character. There’s nothing like a psycho to change your perspective of things. Eventually, I felt bad for the main character.

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The crazy psycho man is played by Cho Jin-woong, who many may know from his drama Signal. On the surface, he’s a calm and reasonable looking guy. He could be a sweet and caring neighbor for all anyone knows. However, underneath there’s this layer of a lunatic just bidding his time. As I watched his scenes I just waited for his switch to flip. I thought Cho did a great job of showing the multi-faceted personality as Detective Go’s adversary.

A HARD DAY, (aka KKEUT-KKA-JI-GAN-DA), JO Jin-woong, 2014. ©Kino Lorber

What I liked most about this film was the constant change of events. Just when you think Detective Go can relax a little, the poor loser gets thrown another problem. If what happened to him didn’t kill him I would have thought the constant state of panic would have.

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This was a great suspense movie. There’s a lot of testosterone flying around. When the movie really intensifies it’s essentially two guys sparring and trying to outmaneuver each other. Who’s smarter? Who’s the step ahead? Who’s going to end the suspense!?  The movie did a good job of navigating the story as it became more and more complicated. I was impressed with how each predicament played out. Despite his stress, Detective Go could be clever

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