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South Korea 2002

Action, Sci-Fi

Jeon Yun-Su

Kim Seung-Woo
Kim Yun-Jin
Choi Min-Su
Kim Seon-Ah
Jeong So-Yeong

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Story: It's the year 2020 - Korea is reunited, and concerning economy there is a continuous boom. But despite the technological progress, the Special Investigation Unit still has problems to achieve a complete win over crime.
SIU-Teamleader Seok (Kim Seung-Woo) is confronted with a series of murders of retired scientists. Although the murderer leaves several traces, he seems to be playing with the police, always being one step ahead. When Seok is ordered to another crime scene, where the police captain had been kidnapped, he finds out that these two different crimes seem to be connected in some way.
The daughter of the police captain Heesu (Kim Yun-Jin) offers the SIU her help as a profiler, and after some unwillingness Seok has to admit, that she isn't only a great help, but also seems to have a common past with him.

Review: With its great look and well done special effects "Yesterday" promises to be a fine sci-fi-blockbuster. We have gigantic cities, hovering news flatscreens, video phones, and devices that can determine the DNA right on the spot in a matter of seconds (a CSI-employee's dream come true!). Altogether a solid and consistent vision of the future, that whets the viewers appetite for more. Sadly, the movie can't come up to the audience's expectations in any way...

While the look of the movie is thoroughly solid up to very good, the movie's weakness becomes obvious pretty soon - the script. At the beginning it is fairly entertaining to be left in the dark along with the main protagonists. However, littly by little the story becomes so complicated, that you won't be able to tell who did what, when and where. The story pieces are thrown at the viewer in indigestible portions and the script gets entangled in its own weaved mess of a storynet. Worse than that, you will find out at the end, how simple the story is in fact, and how easy you could have told it more reasonable. Innovative story-telling is quite welcome, but in this case no one seemed to knew, what they were doing.

Of course, with a screwed up script there comes the danger, that the characters aren't drawn well neither. At least in this aspect, the movie is consistent, because the writer failed completely. Rarely you get to see such unfinished and shallow characters. Motivation and thoughts of the individual persons? What's that?
It's exactly this lacking credibility of the main characters, that hinders the viewer to empathize with them. Especially during the quiet and dramatic scenes this emptiness and meaninglessness of the characters becomes really obvious. These scenes just go by without importance until the next action sequence kicks in. The actors can't do much to avoid that. More than anybody else, Kim Yun-jin tries to give her best, and you can tell so, but she just has to fail as she has no foundation to build on. That she can do better than here, we already know since "Shiri", or non-Asian-movie-fans since her role in "Lost".

The only positive thing to mention are the action sequences, especially some of the shoot-outs, which have a special dynamic look and are shot in handcamera-style. As already mentioned, the look of the movie is really good in general with some nice dark picture, but this is irrelevant when you just would like to turn it off, as you are getting more and more bored. It's not important if you watch the movie until the end or not, anyway.
The progress of the movie and of the investigation itself is determined by coincidences and most of the time there is no reasoning at all. The resolution of the movie isn't conclusive, and you aren't interested in it anyway.
"Yesterday" manages it to destroy every interest in the movie, because of its horrible story-telling and capriciously implemented actionscenes.

In the end the best thing of the movie is its movie poster/DVD-Cover. If director Jeon Yun-su would have paid more attention in filming a solid script, then to deliver a nice look (both would have been optimal, of course) the movie could have turned into something good. But the way it is, you should better avoid it like the plague.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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