The Deal (2015) Korean Movie Review: Seven with a touch of Super Hero?

The Deal (2015) Korean Movie Review:

Tags: #KimSangKyung # KimSungKyun # ParkSungWoong #KMovie #TheDeal#살인의뢰

Hello. This is Prof. Akia Talking and I’m here to review the Korean movie called “The Deal” (2015) or 살인의뢰. And, I will have to say that the title is too much of a spoiler of what the movie is I think.

What is The Deal”?
It is a noir movie?
Or is it something different?

We are currently in the age of “Superhero” movies in terms of Hollywood with several movies of this genre scheduled to come out every year for the foreseeable future.  However, no one really seems to recall that “Superhero” movies started out drawing elements from various other movie genres until it settled into using the “Origin” story arc with angst-y character that differentiates them from other movie genres.  If you see most “Superhero” movies now, even the sequels are the continuation of the “Origin” story.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, Hollywood had not really found this formula yet. Thus, we got movies that seem like a weird hybrid of traditional genre movies with “Superhero” movie elements.

So, why am I talking about Hollywood “Superhero” movies in a Korean movie review?

In many ways, “The Deal” (2015) feels like being somewhere in-between a noir “crime” movie and an anti-hero Superhero” movie in the vein of the comic Punisher”.  And this is what makes the movie interesting but, at the same time, makes the movie problematic.

The Plot
The first act of the movie feels like the last part of the movie “Seven” (1995). There is a serial killer kidnapping women off the streets and a goofball cop ends up coincidentally catching him via a traffic violation. The coincidence piles on as the last victim who the killer just killed was his married sister. Her body was not found and the killer is not saying anything.

And, of course, she was pregnant as they always seem to be when the writer gets lazy.

Seven” (1995)

All of this happens in the first 20 minutes of the movie and the screen is filled with dark blue imagery as it is night and rainy. This all gives out a mood of a noir movie even though the director seems to be moving the camera in an overly energetic manner. It seems to be a little too flashy for a noir movie.

Then the movie gets weirder!

I said this movie starts out like “Seven” (1995) but it does something different. “The Deal” (2015) splits Brad Pitt’s character into two characters. One is your generic cop with a chip on his shoulder who will be our main protagonist and the other is the husband who was married to the cop’s deceased sister.

At first, I just thought the husband was a throwaway background character like these movies have. But the movie keeps showing him agonizing in a series of rather graphic and drawn out scenes. These scenes are portrayed in a very melodramatic manner that they felt very weird. First, they were too over the top for a noir movie. Second, it was not happening to what I perceived to be the main protagonist, the cop.

Then, it hit me!

This movie was not a noir movie really.

It is a “Punisher” movie!
It is a “Crow” movie!

It is an anti-hero superhero origin story. A normal married guy who lost his family in a violent event rises from the living hell he has fallen to bring his hell to those who deserve it!

A very familiar tale?!!!

 The middle space between Noir and Superhero
The second act starts after the few years jump in time. During this time, the cop has been visiting the series killer frequently in prison to find out where his sister’s body is hidden. And, of course, the killer says nothing anything. A series of criminals are murdered and the cop has to investigate them.

You know where this is going.

The second act ends up feeling similar to elements of the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014) with having the cop (e.g. Captain America) trying to prevent the husband/his brother in law (e.g. Winter Soldier ) from killing in the name of vigilantism. At the same time, it is still a noir/procedural movie. The cop has to still go through the mundane elements of a noir/procedural movie.

This is what I think is the problem of the movie.

It never really commits to the new elements it’s introduced. As a result, the movie feels watered down in many areas. First, the movie ultimately is not interested in the serial killer other as a story device. We never get to see what he is about. In the end, he is just an almost supernatural killing machine like “Michael Myers” from  “Halloween” (1978) but with a Joker like face.

Think something similar to this type of Joker exist in the games or comics.
But Not my area of interest.

The result is that the serial killer is not that interesting.

Michael Myers

Second, the cop gets no real character development. He says that he also suffers from the death of his sister. But we never really get to see it on screen since there is not much time. Third, the actual detecting part of the movie is simplified to get faster to the whole vigilante stuff. In actual super hero movies, this would not be that big a issues but with “The Deal” (2015) it is.

Fourth, the husband, as a vigilante character, is too over the top for a noir movie but not over the top enough for a super hero movie. Considering his story should be the most interesting part of the movie, this is rather a disappointment.

Finally, in regards to the ending, what I can say without giving out spoilers is that the movie veers back into more of a conventional noir/procedural movie at the end that is not very interesting. It is what you would expect from your typical TV procedural like “Bones” or “Castle” or “Rizzoli & Isles”. Not what you want to get from a movie.

But there is a twist to the ending of the movie that “Bones” or “Castle” or “Rizzoli & Isles” would not take. It is a very noir like ending. However, the movie does not really earn the ending and thus the impact of it is rather superficial.

At the end!
The Deal (2015) is an okay movie that has some interesting elements to it. The acting is decent while not spectacular. Kim Sang-Kyung plays the cop. Park Sung-Woong plays the serial killer. Kim Sung-Kyun plays the husband. All of these actors are not doing anything that they had not done before.

The direction is better than average. It is the director’s first movie.

So, good job for him??

I cannot say that the script was terrible also. The sin of this movie is that it is middling overall. This type of movie requires to deliver a gut punch to the audience but “The Deal (2015) does not provide this. Even the “Super Hero” elements are not pronounced enough to view them as being creative as I have seen this a lot in Japanese mangas over the last decade or so.

So, how should I describe this movie in a sentence?

The Deal (2015) has the look of Seven with the writing of an American TV Procedural that thinks it is creative but is not really!

I will give it a B.

Score: B or 6.75/10

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