HIFF Review: ‘Cold Eyes’

Oct. 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

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REVIEW BY NANCY ARCAYNA / narcayna@staradvertiser.com

High speed car chases, hand-to-hand combat scenes and an intricate storyline are a few reasons to check out “Cold Eyes,” a film that focuses on a team of surveillance experts led by detective Hwang (Sol Kyung Go) to bring down high profile criminals.


Spotlight on Korea

United States Premiere

Screens at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, and 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 16; also 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at Consolidated Koko Marina 8


The fast-paced crime drama keeps will keep you on the edge of your seat with plenty of action. The film was released in Korea last summer and beat “Man of Steel,” “World War Z” and “Pacific Rim” at the box office.

“Cold Eyes” is a remake of the 2007 Hong Kong film “Eye in the Sky.” The tale begins with interactions between Hwang and Yoon-Ju (Han Hyo-Joo), a rookie being tested on her observation and memorization skills. After passing the test, she’s hired to join the elite team.

Meanwhile the villainous James (Jung Woo-Sung), who serves as a ring leader for the bad guys, is setting up explosives and enjoying a rooftop view as he orchestrates a bank robbery. James works for a mysterious broker that orders a heist involving the Korean stock market. His ruthlessness is apparent throughout the film.

There’s good chemistry between Yoon-Ju and her grumpy superior Hwang as she learns the tricks of the trade. Hwang reminds her that people only remember the things that they want to; see the things that they want to see, but every detail, no matter how minor, is extremely important in their line of work.

Yoon-Ju picks up skills as she goes along, but learning on the job proves dangerous. Especially when she’s up against crime lord James. In one scene, he smothers a guy by wrapping tape around his entire face. Eventually Yoon-Ju, in search of James, ends up at a deserted subterranean subway platform.

The acting was solid and the characters melded together in an entertaining way as they tailed their target. Hwang was a mastermind in determining the locations and switch points for the team’s spy efforts.

Simon Yam Tat-wah, who portrayed the police chief in “Eye in the Sky” makes a cameo appearance, as a nod to fans who’ve seen the original film.

“Cold Eyes” may be a quintessential crime drama, but the twists and turns ensure a pleasurable viewing experience, and one of the things I enjoyed most was the amazing cinematography that offered sweeping views of Seoul.
Click here for more coverage of the 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival.

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