Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

In this movie ‘Marine Boy’ the character of Chun Soo (Kang-woo Kim) has big, big plans. The young, toned swimming and diving instructor is moving to a tropical island to spend the rest of his days care free chilling on his boat, he just needs a few more dollars to finalize the purchase of this boat. What’s a young man to do? Why borrow heavily from bookies and bet everything you own… and more… in a poker game against a group of professional poker players of course. So while we can clearly see than Chun Soo has spent a fair amount of time at the gym, he obviously hasn’t spent a lot of time exercising his brain. Now Chun Soo is in a ton of trouble as his debtors want payment immediately and if he can’t pay then they will opt to sell his high quality vital organs on the black market. Good news / bad news time. The good news is that Chun Soo is about to be saved by a couple of brutal henchmen. The bad news is that these cats work for big time mobster Kang (Jae-hyeong Jo) which means that Chun Soo now works for Kang.

The question is what does Kang want from Chun Soo? Well the first thing that Kang would want Chun Soo to do is stop eyeing this woman that Kang is keeping named Yuri as played by the insanely lovely Si-hyeon Park. I hate to get sidetracked here but the first movie we saw Ms. Park in was in the wacky comedy ‘The Fox Family’ in which we observed this woman to be so good looking that it was often difficult to take your eyes off of her to read the subtitles. I don’t know how she did it but in the couple of years separating those two movies she found a way to get better looking. Amazing. Back on point we aren’t quite sure what the relationship is between Yuri and Kang since he’s not sexing her and she doesn’t seem to be his daughter but whatever the relationship is it is making Yuri quite miserable as she spends her days in the arms of various undesirable men while personally under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

What Kang really wants from Chun Soo is for the young man to serve as his Marine Boy or use his prodigious swimming skills to ferry drugs back and forth from Korea to

Japan with a boat dropping him just off the coast. According to Kang if Chun Soo does this one thing his debt is paid and he can walk. We don’t believe him. While Kang is cajoling Chun Soo into running his drugs the young man is also being squeezed by a violent cop who seems to have a real vendetta against Kang and is using Chun Soo to eventually bring Kang down. And despite the fact that the violent murderous Kang has made it clear that Yuri is completely off limits, we have already established that Chun Soo isn’t the brightest bulb in the box which means he wastes very little time engaging in a very unwise but very hot affair with the troubled beauty.

But alas everything and everybody isn’t what it seem to be. This cop seems to have an agenda that appears to go far beyond seeking justice, Kang looks to have a leak in his operation funneling info on his illegal activities to this suspect cop and then there’s the question to why Yuri has such contempt towards the gangster who seems to exist only to make sure she has a comfortable life. What is a super fit, dull witted swimming instructor to do?

Director Joon-seok Yoon’s film ‘Marine Boy’ is a very entertaining, fast moving action crime flick that does suffer from a plot becoming far too convoluted than it needs to be as the movie gets deeper into its narrative. The story begins simply enough because at its core it’s a tried and true action flick featuring a good looking hero caught between dirty gangsters and dirty cops with a femme fatale in the midst playing both sides to the middle. However as the movie plays on the story introduces all these new elements, plot twists, plot turns, sleight of hand and under the table deception which after a while just became really confusing.

But despite the fact that this is a movie that seemed to be unnecessarily over-plotted it never becomes difficult or tedious to watch because the director’s film flows so smoothly and looks so damn good that it’s almost irresistible. For starters everything in this movie is extreme and over the top. In addition to the over-the-top action sequences, Jae-hyeon Jo’s gangster Kang is extremely smooth while at the same time extremely violent, Wong-jon Lee’s dirty cop is extremely slimy, as we’ve already established Si-hyeon Park’s fatal female is extremely beautiful while being extremely destructive and all these extremities are spearheaded by star Kang-woo Kim’s Chun Soo who is a character who’s lack of intellectual capacity allows the ridiculous plot to move from convoluted point to convoluted point. And as it turns out this actually works for this movie.

Now this is a SPOILER but there were a few strange things in the end of the movie that were a bit odd and only add to the confusion. One would be a particular scene with Chun Soo emerging from the water with a gun and placing a perfectly placed shot in the eye-hole of some gangster a good 200 feet away which had me wondering where he suddenly gained these lethal marksman skills. Also at the end of the movie Chun Soo retrieves a crap load of what I think is heroin. So this cat and his girlfriend are going spend the rest of their lives as drug dealers? Is this my man’s plan? This is somewhat suspect.

Regardless, despite the fact that ‘Marine Boy’ might’ve gotten a little too ambitious in its attempts to tell a clever story it still very entertaining, fantastic to look at and filled with enough violence, action, and eye candy too make this a movie that was time well spent.

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