With ‘Hunt’ Lee Jung-Jae Bit Off More Than he Could Chew

Synopsis: A spy movie based on the 1980s National Security Planning.
Director: Lee Jung-jae
Stars: Lee Jung-jae, Jung Woo-sung, Heo Sung-tae

The only way to start this review is to tell you that I love Squid Game. I have countlessly referred to the breakout Netflix series as the best show I saw during the pandemic. I tell you that because it’s true, and it’s what led me to Hunt, the directorial debut from the lead actor and Emmy Award winner from Squid Game, Lee Jung-jae.

There has been so much fantastic content coming from Korea over the last few years that has enhanced popular culture: Parasite, Squid Game, BTS . . . could Hunt be joining that list?

Hunt is set in the 1980s and is a thriller. The movie starts with a very strong action sequence where an assassination attempt is about to take place— it is intense as agents run through a building trying to apprehend the suspects. The scene is reminiscent of something you would see in a Paul Greengrass-shot Jason Bourne film. Nothing is spared in starting this film with a bang.

This can be said for all of the action sequences in this film; they are very well-executed and exciting. Jung-jae deserves credit for crafting these scenes very well.

The film centres on tensions between North and South Korea and a potential mole or moles infiltrating South Korea. Who can be trusted?

While I will give Jung-jae all the credit for his action scenes, I can’t do the same for the non-action scenes. This movie is too confusing for the audience. There are double-crossing and triple crossing; it all becomes a little senseless.

The movie dragged on in parts. I found that my investment in the story declined, and then it peaked again with another great action sequence. Overall the film didn’t work for me.

An actor going behind the camera is a hit or miss; if I had to choose one, this one was a miss.

Hunt has glimpses of greatness in the action scenes, but when the story takes centre stage, it disappoints.

I was hoping the directorial debut of Lee Jung-jae would recapture some of that Squid Game magic, but it didn’t. I’m not saying he shouldn’t direct, not at all. Sometimes when you co-write, direct and star in the film, you might have bitten off more than you can chew.

Grade: C

Watch the movie trailer: