It was late at night and there was nothing to do so, as usual, I turned on the almighty Netflix and browsed randomly to see what the night’s offerings were. The day before I had watched a Takeshi Kitano film and Netflix decided that I “liked” it so much that there were a great many other films that should fit my tastes. Sometimes this works out, more often it does not. This time was one of the “does not” nights.
The film was Righteous Ties, a Korean gangster film. The basic plot revolves around the main character - a thug of a Korean “company” - ending up in prison for some of the things he does under his boss’s orders. Eventually, the boss changes his mind about which person he wants to support and in return for helping his former enemy he has to kill off the protagonist. On the surface this seems like a typical crime-oriented betrayal plot that offers an opportunity for some fun action if not necessarily a deep and moving story.
The end result was a mess of genres that never really settled down long enough to feel compelling in the slightest. I still couldn’t tell you what the characters’ names were or what the hell happened throughout most of the film. One moment the movie is acting as a dramatic vehicle, the next it’s degenerated into whacky comedy and in the final moments it turns into an action flick. Some scenes are drawn out to the point of inducing boredom while others seem like they’re completely unrelated to the movie at all. I think perhaps that the director was aiming to make a farce of some sort, though even that notion remains vague.
Normally, I’m a big fan of Korean cinema. Righteous Ties, however, failed to satisfy. Two-dimensional characters, shabby screenwriting and zero-focus directing pretty much killed the film before it had even begun. Definitely one to avoid.