Park Pyung-ho (Lee Jung-jae), the Chief of the Intelligence Department, and Kim Jung-do (Jung Woo-sung), the Chief of the Domestic Department, are two agents from the South Korean National Intelligence Service. While both men have similar roles and are sworn to protect the South Korean president, they don’t always see eye to eye or agree on key matters.
The film begins with the South Korean president being escorted, and we see first-hand that Pyung-ho and Jung-do disagree on several matters. At the same time, the streets are filled with people rioting, and chaos is evident. Things get even more out of control when both men learn that there is also an attack plan to take out the president, and a mass shooting begins to occur. Both men are involved in the hunt for the shooters, but sadly, the day ends with tragic consequences, and blood is spilled. Now, both Pyung-ho and Kim Jung-do are tasked to work together after receiving word that a mole is at work amongst them. Who is the mole, and can their identity be revealed before it’s too late?
Hunt is best described as a Korean thriller with strong action moments. For those unaware, Hunt is also a spy feature based in the 1980s National Security Planning. The film hinges on many thrilling aspects, such as who is the secret mole within the organisation and whether or not our leading men can be trusted. Audiences will be continually guessing throughout the entire duration, with multiple twists and turns at every moment. The action here is a vital aspect that I thoroughly adored. Gunfire, car crashes, explosions, and chase sequences are all done with excellence, giving these moments a gritty, raw visual experience on-screen. Leading performances are also great, with both actors bringing compelling and brutal characters to life. It’s great to see characters who are quite different yet also share a unique bond, even when frustrations, disagreements and suspicions continually occur. It should also be mentioned that leading actor Lee Jung-jae also serves as the Director, and this is his debut behind the camera.
Regarding pacing, the film launches out with a strong first act; however, I was slightly confused by the second and third acts, particularly some of the deep discussions relating to politics, history, and war. While I confidently understood the main core of the plot, I cannot deny that some lines of dialogue went over my head. The dialogue, like the plot, is always snappy and done at a fast pace, so audiences are genuinely required to give this film full attention upon viewing. Multiple rewatches could be in order depending on the viewer.
Overall, if you’re seeking a strong thriller with some incredible action sequences thrown in the mix, Hunt will undoubtedly appeal to you. The film goes off with a bang and a plot that repeatedly keeps viewers guessing the twists and turns. Leading performances from Lee Jung-jae (who also serves as Director) and Jung Woo-sung are solid and compelling. The visuals are great too. With so much praise, my biggest hurdle while watching was its pacing, which starts strong but weakens as the plot becomes more complex. Many aspects flew over my head far too often. However, at its core, some impressive work is presented from start to finish, and the experience is welcoming, even if the film demands several rewatches to understand everything better.