Review by Adam Donato
This film is written and directed by Korean filmmaker Sung-hyun Yoon. It takes place in a dystopian future version of Korea due to an economic downfall. The cast includes Jae-hong Ahn, Lee Jehoon, and most notably, Woo-sik Choi (from last year’s best picture winner, Parasite). The story follows three young men who have to pull off the robbery of a gangster-run casino so they can move off to a tropical paradise.
The bright spot of this movie is its intensity. It has a very much edge-of-your-seat kind of vibe. Watching this relentless bounty hunter stalk these three miserable and desperate young men feels like watching a Korean version of Terminator. While many of these hunting sequences seem very contrived, it’s a perfectly fine action movie to turn your brain off to and enjoy the thrill.
The film starts slow and is too long. The only benefit of this though is that you do feel a lot more for the main trio as they try to get away. The performances by Ahn, Jehoon, and Choi are palpable and they have very good chemistry with each other. Their character resolutions are quite unsatisfying, though.
It's also very hard to understand what’s going on in the background of this movie. The main thread follows the three boys trying to steal their way to a better life. The antagonist tries to hunt them down, but lets them get away just for the fun of it? Where does this deep-seated connection between the hunter and the trio come from? Why does Jehoon throw everything he ever dreamed about away to go after the hunter? It’s all very confusing and over-complicated for a story that should be very simple.
This film would’ve benefited from a smaller scope as the world-building isn’t very fleshed out. The majority of the movie is people running through empty cities. It’s not really explained why the world is why it is and where all the people are. Everything is just run by gangs and corrupt cops. There’s a very interesting moment that goes nowhere. The trio escapes from the hospital after an intense elevator chase scene and steals the hunter’s car. Once they get away, they realize it’s a cop car. This never goes anywhere as they face no consequences or even threat from the law and the movie just keeps going.
As a filmmaker, Yoon exceeds as a director by building tension throughout the film but fails as a writer to any sort of understanding with the plot. The characters are all likable and it’s hard not to be with them as they try to finish their last job. It’s an intense rollercoaster of a movie that really picks up in the second half. Time to Hunt is nothing special, but competent enough to be entertaining.
Time to Hunt is now streaming on Netflix.
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