Only hardcore fans of Korean cinema will want to seek out actor Jung Woo-sung‘s directorial debut, “A Man of Reason.” It’s a thriller that’s slowed down by a disproportionate amount of laborious dramatic scenes that suck all the energy out of the more exciting parts of the film. The writing is dull and the exposition is slow. If only the movie had gone all-in on its action elements, it may have proven more successful.
Su-hyuk (Jung) lived a life working for very bad people in the Korean underworld. Ten years have passed since he was sent to prison for their crimes, and the man has finally been released. Now that he’s served his time, Su-hyuk wants a normal, quiet life, but is surprised when his former girlfriend Min-seo delivers some shocking news: they have a daughter. With his past still haunting him, Su-hyuk is in high demand for his services — and his refusals are unacceptable to his former associates, who have other plans. This causes a rift that results in car chases, kidnappings, explosions, and other violent escapades.
Jung has a good eye for directing action scenes, and the most exciting sequences are stylish and thrilling. This film is visually attractive, but it’s just a beautifully filmed realization of a very bland story. The narrative is slow and dull, and the dramatic parts stagnate. Nothing works as well as the action scenes, but they cannot alone carry the movie.
The performances are solid and Jung’s movie star charisma is on full display, but nothing can take away from the misstep of a script. Although it’s a well made piece of cinema, “A Man of Reason” is not all that interesting nor memorable.