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Review: THE TUNNEL (2016) Digs Into A Place In Humanity Where The Sun Rarely Shines
Kim Sung-Hoon surprised me last year when I finally got around to watching his most recent crime thriller, A Hard Day. It was a perfect introduction into his work for me and so that didn't leave much to be concerned with in lieu of his latest movie, The Tunnel, which, according to Variety's most recent report, is still topping the Korean box office as of its second week. Author Sae Jo-Won's 2013 novel serves as the inspiration for Kim's own script which stands as way more than a mere underdog tale of one man's survival against the elements. Most prolifically, it dares to cast an obligatory spotlight on some of the worst scenarios that could occur in any situation that stands similar in nature as lives hang in the balance.
One such life is that of Lee Jung-Soo, portrayed by actor Ha Jung-Woo, a car salesman on his way home in time for his daughter's birthday. About six minutes into the film and not a moment later, the worst happens when the tunnel he enters completely collapses, trapping him and other motorists in a gargantuan pile of rock, iron, dirt and rubbish with no way in or out on either end. Rescue efforts commence as Lee struggles to make do with little what he has on him in food, water and battery life for his phone among other things. On hand on the outside is actor Oh Dal-Su in the role of Dae-Kyung who is among the first with the nation's rescue units on the scene, while Lee's wife Se-yun, played by actress Bae Doo-Na, wastes little to no time arriving there upon learning of her husband's situation.
From there, the story immerses you into a myriad of highs and lows that flesh out our characters even more in their respective dimensions. Moments of mild levity and compassion, as well as those of pure repulsion and glutton, illumimate our characters - main and supplemental - amid the chaos that unfolds both inside and outside the pile of rubble that symbolize the core of humanity's most definining moments. Such moments are iterated by a notable supporting cast which includes - and isn't limited to, actress Nam Ji-Hyun in the role of Mina, and actor Jung Suk-Yong makes a worthy cameo as Choi, a valiant and charasmatic rescue team leader. Others include actor Yoo Seung-Mok who plays an overzealous news reporter, actress Kim Hae-Sook in the role of a government minister playing politics with the rest of her ilk, and a rambunctious pug who all but keeps Lee on his toes, even under hundreds and hundreds of feet of rubble.
The performances are relatively outstanding among the cast with Ha and Bae front and center, in addition to Oh whose role as Kim, much like Reginald Veljohnson was to actor Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988), is the voice of reason for Lee who all but suffers near-limitless turmoil of never knowing if he'd live or die. Rescue efforts prove to be long and winded, and with a plot twist that ultimately sees things turn for the worse, forcing Se-Hyun to bear the brunt of the grievance of those who've died trying to rescue her husband - something that speaks to the often flawed and irrational tran of thought one goes through with anger, in my opinion. It certainally affected me the most while I watched the film and observed this, on top of other disturbing proclivities our main characters are subject to throughout the unfolding drama.
Indeed, The Tunnel was one of the most compelling (and sometimes gutting) films I've seen. It grips you in some ways you least expect while making the most out of its actors, using its perilous moments as the inertia it needs, and not as "characters" themselves as other directors may try to, which feels pretentious to a certain degree depending on the film. With Ha, Bae and Oh anchoring this fine dramatic venture, the film is also very much a mark of continued sharpness and career progress from a filmmaker I wish I paid attention to a year sooner. If there is one thing Kim knows how to do at the director's chair, it is tell great stories that focus on people more than spectacle, and flesh out the best of what they can offer in the moments scenes call for in a film, and The Tunnel, much to his credit, is no exception.
Click here to learn more about the film's August 26 release in select theaters this Friday from Well Go USA.
The past year or so have lended an ample opportunity to familiarize myself with the work of actor and producer Alexander Nevsky in lieu of his upcoming April 28 U.S. release, Black Rose. The film marks his directorial debut wherein he also stars in a formula slightly different from his usually known action star persona from his film career in Russia, and joined by none other than actress Kristanna Loken.
With the film a little over a week away from its limited theatrical release courtesy of ITN, we've already had the pleasure of sharing questions with one of the film's guest stars, actor Matthias Hues in which he delves deeply into his career history, progression and plans for the future. The same goes for Loken who now takes center stage in this week's interview following Hues which also briefly highlights something interesting about the new movie, as well as a little about herself in the years since making strides as the formidable cybernetic supervillain in Terminator …
It wasn't made clear just to what capacity actress Jeeja Yanin's role in Jesse Johnson's new movie, Triple Threat, would extend at the time when we broke the exclusive back in March. Needless to say that mystery now comes to an end with the Raging Phoenix and Chocolate star donning some serious tactical gear in a new promo photo featuring herself among the antagonists for the new Asian action movie currently in production in Thailand.
Yanin's cohorts as seen below include Ron Smoorenburg and Scott Adkins, Michael Bisping and Michael Jai White outlining the murderous cartel from which leading action stars Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen must protect a billionaire's daughter, played by none other than Celina Jade. SC Films International's own Mike Selby is producing along with Mike Gabrawy and Gary Hamilton of Arclight Films. Actor Chen is also producing the film as will Elliot Tong and Ying Ye with Seng Stunt comprising the stunt team and Tim Man serving as …
The hardcore fanbase cheering on martial arts action star Scott Adkins were vociferous in support of him obtaining a role in the months leading to the seventh installment of the Fast franchise, Furious Seven. Ultimately it never came to fruition, nor did the attempts to cheer him on for the role of Batman as it stands with Ben Affleck having earned his appeal with most fans now in lieu of Justice League and The Batman.
I guess one other question remains now: Could Adkins snag a role this time in the forthcoming ninth installment following the pivot taken in The Fate Of The Furious this month? Well, I guess that will depend on what the studio plans for it first, although to be frank, there's no reason why they shouldn't, and there's plenty of potential to go on. Gray's film still leaves you wanting to learn more about Charlize Theron's role as Cypher, as well as what remains to be seen with the current handling of Statham's portrayal of Decard Shaw next to the …