Netflix has two big new movies coming from South Korea exclusively this month, one of which has just landed in the form of Carter. Should you press play on the new Netflix movie or should you scroll? Here is our review of PLAY, PAUSE OR STOP from Carter.
The new film features Joo Won as Carter (good doctor), Sung-Jae Lee as Kim Jong-hyuk (Abyss) and Kim Bo Min (the silent sea).
Joo Won is famous for his portrayal of Park Shi On in the good doctorwhich was eventually adapted into an American medical drama of the same name for Fox with Freddie Highmore.
Thrown straight into a dangerous mission with none of his memories intact, a man must escape death while trying to figure out who he is, how he ended up here, and who is the mysterious voice in his ear that calls him “Carter.”
Netflix Original Korean Movies are some of my favorites on the platform. time to hunt, Good, The call, space Sweepers, Y #Live.
They all brought something new and exciting to subgenres that may have become stale in recent years.
my hope for Carter was to do exactly that: give me something new and exciting that I could see replicated in upcoming American movies (I’m looking at you, Extraction).
But now my hope is that American filmmakers will only watch the fight sequences on YouTube.
Carter is an ultraviolent masterclass in hand-to-hand fighting and vehicular stunts, but it’s also an unnecessarily convoluted movie with a shallow lead and an inflated runtime.
The film seems to be fascinated or preoccupied with certain elements that, by themselves, could have been an interesting background or subtext for the main plot. A virus containment in the age of Covid, frayed relations between North and South Korea, US/CIA involvement in South Korea, and of course zombies! But instead, it tries to include all these things to confuse a story full of unreliable characters and a protagonist with amnesia.
The effect is mostly confusion as we try to rebuild Carter’s character through forced exposure dumps between fight sequences.
Some fans of the genre may also complain about the presentation of the action itself as director Byung-gil Jung (the villainess) has brought a rare inspiration to his POV compositions: Videogames.
Between drone shot transitions and rotating tracking shots, the cinematography feels like the cutscenes between missions in certain first-person shooters. With constant directing and narration from the female agent in Carter’s ear, this feature feels more like he’s just a character selected by her and the people in charge of him to gain enough levels to get the big boss at the end. .
Of all the crazy action stunt work scenes, the one that stood out to me the most is the fight sequence around 50 minutes into the movie that begins with a boy being kidnapped by a man on a motorcycle. This leads to a high-speed battle in close quarters where men jump from motorcycles to open cars, gunfights and knife fights between 3 moving vehicles at once, and a city bus flipping over in the middle of a busy street. This sequence of almost 7 minutes culminates with the explosion of several motorcycles at the same time.
While this didn’t work for me as a device, I will say that the movie moves too fast and dazzles enough with its stunt choreography not to stick around long enough to bore us.
Ultimately, the film is a perfect example of modern action cinema gone wrong. The action works best when it is in the service of the plot. While he’s incredibly good at it, Carter puts all his eggs in the fight sequence basket and pushes backstory, character development, and cohesive storytelling to the background.
PLAY, PAUSE OR STOP?: PAUSE.
While you may be embarrassed by the dialogue or unimpressed by the plot, you have to admit that the action and stunt work will impress just about any casual fan of action movies, even if some of them are downright awesome.