January 17, 2024


THE CHILDE (Blu-ray)
2023 / 118 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😸

Everybody seems to be after Marco (Kang Tae-joo), a struggling young man who makes his meager living fighting in illegal boxing matches. He’s derogatorily known as a ‘Kopino,’ half Filipino-half Korean, and has long been searching for his estranged father in hopes the man will help pay for a life-saving surgery for his ailing mother.

But as it turns out, Marco’s dad, Chairman Han, is searching for him. Very wealthy but gravely ill, he sends some of his men to escort Marco to Korea. However, a mysterious assassin, ‘Nobleman’ (Kim Seon-ho) is also after him, as is another mysterious woman (Go Ara). It’s not immediately revealed who they work for or whether or not they’re trying to kill him, but both assure Marco that he is eventually going to die. Meanwhile, Han Yi-sa (Kim Kang-woo), Chairman Han’s vicious son and the heir to his massive empire, is trying to bring Marco to his father…but not for any kind of reunion. 

"You, my unfortunate friend, are double parked."
For a majority of The Childe, the viewer is as in-the-dark about what’s happening as Marco is, which is part of the fun. In the meantime, the film is mostly an extended pursuit filled with car chases, guns and plenty of bloody, close-quarters fighting. We’re required to suspend our disbelief quite a bit, but compensated by the intriguing plot with plenty of surprises and a tone similar to a Tarantino film. But the real treat is Seon-ho as the Nobleman. Alternately menacing and hilarious, he steals the entire movie. 

Though I’ve seen my fair share of Korean films, I had no idea who Kim Seon-ho was, but my wife - a big K-drama fan - came into the room halfway through the film and said, “Hey, I love that guy! He was in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha!” Apparently, a manic assassin is atypical of his usual roles and she was intrigued enough to want to check out the movie herself. And The Childe was good enough that I was more than happy to turn around and immediately watch it again.

It was just as enjoyable the second time. Another winner by director Park Hoon-jung (whose The Witch: Subversion was another recent gleefully bloody slab of action), The Childe wins no awards for plausibility, but damn, it’s fun.
With hindsight, it’s the best action movie of 2023.

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