The corrupt prosecutor goes where the interests of Korea, China and Japan converge to prove that he deserves to be reinstated. He had no idea how dangerous a snake-filled nest of espionage he had just laid out of his own volition was.
Drunken by the success of the many Korean series on offer, Netflix recently took out one production after another. Movies, series, comedy, suspense, adventure – you can choose from one color. Of course, it’s statistically unlikely that anything that jumps on a streaming platform from the Korean Peninsula will be “Squid game” gold. Even assuming the super optimistic option they come up with is great, you’ll still get it wrong from time to time. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Yaksha!
Yaksha: The Decisive Mission (2022) – movie review [Netflix]. identity crisis
You could argue whether the main character is the aforementioned plaintiff, Ji-hoon (known from Park Hye-soo’s “squid game”), or Yaksha’s title, Kang In (Seol Kyung-joo). The character with whom we enter this world is Ji-Hoon, but the whole story is about Yaksha and his spy team. In the course of a covert operation, it turns out that an enemy state is preparing for an action that could change the entire balance of power in the region. Only by using non-standard, often cruel and illegal methods, and with the help of an all-green Ji-Hoon, maybe we can stop it.
The Korean story is a bit of an action movie and a bit of a spy movie. The creators themselves don’t know if they want to tell a powerful story about spies, betrayals, stalking and overcoming mutual intelligence, Mission Impossible, or the stylized James Bond. The result was a highly disjointed production – full of shoddy John Wick-style action scenes and ridiculous “everyone betrays” betrayals and twists. Some of these betrayals are not true and are actually another type of betrayal that aims to betray another person. Sound unnecessarily complicated? Because that’s what a movie directed by Hyeon Na is all about.
Yaksha: The Decisive Mission (2022) – movie review [Netflix]. Who was cutting it?!
Yaksha is a demon or good spirit of the same name from Hinduism. Kang-In earned this nickname because of his cruelty. If the task is to be done, you can be sure that his black team can handle it. The movie begins with a scene in which Yaksha literally drives a car full of hostile spies. Neon lights striking eyes from all sides makes the world literally drown in colour. I don’t know if this is what a typical Chinese city night looks like, but saturation with intensely bright colors doesn’t look good on screen – like we’re watching a music video, not a movie. The car breaks down, Yaksha takes something from the passengers, throws a grenade inside and drives away, compulsively ignoring the fiery explosion right behind her back. He attacks one of the fugitives and runs over another spy along the way. When he finally gets it, we see how good the action in the movie can be.
The camera often captures the actors in wide shots, rotating on its axis behind the blows and bodies of the fighters. There is only one problem – the editor cannot keep shooting for more than half a second. This makes the battle incredibly fragmented and chaotic. In addition, it lacks strength – the viewer does not feel the force of the blows at all. And as if that weren’t enough, the movie is pretty brutal… I mean. The body is thick, but the camera will always move sideways or up before the hero pulls the trigger. I’m not a psychopath, and I don’t need every movie to show minute parts of the brain and skull bloodied on the wall behind the exit head wound, but when you spin like that – in theory – sharp cinema you should be able to show this and that.
About the script, its quirks, its holes, its tendency to exaggerate, its predictability, and in the end a poor solution, I can write the entire second script, but here I can not go into details, because there are spoilers. So what I wrote in generalities and the fact that the creators have the audacity to declare continuity is enough, again in a weak and powerfully stereotypical way. “Yaksha: The Decisive Mission” (“Fierce Mission” in English, but I don’t know the closest translation to the original) is not a very bad movie. Watchable, poorly executed, but overall, the creative work and abundance of twists will easily attract most viewers within 120 minutes of showtime. The problem is, nothing in this movie is 100 percent good. A two-hour festival of mediocrity. From poverty you can watch it.
“Amateur social media maven. Pop cultureaholic. Troublemaker. Internet evangelist. Typical bacon ninja. Communicator. Zombie aficionado.”