the last divided nation on earth is constantly under political
and military tension with the surrounding countries especially
concerning the North Korea nuclear issue. To avoid the second
Korean War, the secret intelligence agency NSS that exists
for the national security on the Korean peninsula, operates
beyond the limits of law or regulations.
Top NSS secret agent Kim Hyun-jun is secretly given an order
to assassinate a top North Korean political figure in Hungary
but he is immediately abandoned by NSS and the Korean government
when his mission is complete. Hyun-jun survives through a
number of close calls but during his escape, he and Seung-hee,
a NSS profiler who he had secretly been seeing are both misled
into thinking the other had died.
Assisted by anti-forces against IRIS, Hyun-jun joins hands
with a terrorist group operated by North Korean agents, in
order to get his revenge. In a world of conspiracy and betrayal,
he is forced to make his final decision when the terrorists
begin their attack in Seoul.
location shooting, spilt-screens, massive gun battles and
international star, Lee Byung-hun, you know IRIS the movie
is going to be nothing but cool and slick.
Technically speaking, IRIS the movie is not even considered
a movie. It’s merely a summarization of the original
20 episodes drama series produced by KBS in 2009 that is trimmed
to a digestible 117 minutes feature film. For people liked
me who do not have the patience to sit through a long-running
series, this execution is the perfect solution.
This espionage action drama details the exploits of secret
agent Hyun-jun (Lee Byung-hun) who is being betrayed by his
own agency, the NSS (something that resemblances the FBI)
after carrying out an assassination on a North Korea diplomat
that is ordered by NSS director, Baek San. After a few close
calls with North Korea agents who are hot on his heel, Hyun-jun
finally uncovers his tragic past and a sinister plot to unleash
a nuclear bomb in the heart of Seoul.
Perhaps one of the few things that are going to grip you from
start to finish is the exhilarating gun fights, car chases
and explosions that are littered throughout. Choreographed
on a scale that is seldom seen on old boring television, the
action really deserves much compliment and with beautiful
on-location shooting in Hungary, Japan and Shanghai, it’s
definitely an enriching visual experience.
The star of G.I. Joe (It’s stated on this DVD cover
so I might as well cash on it), Lee Byung-hun even jumps off
a 130 metre-tall dam in one scene cementing his heartthrob
status and proving that his million-dollar paycheck is worth
it. Lee also showcases his tender side as the romance factor
in the story requires him to tear constantly opposite his
lover cum fellow NSS colleague, Seung-hee (Kim Tae-hee from
Stairway to Heaven) who assumes Hyun-jun is dead.
Plotwise, the narration and character development fails to
contribute anything fresh to the ongoing North and South conflict.
Expectedly, the North is painted as power hungry and craving
for bloodshed and the muddling espionage element is the only
plotting mechanism that keeps the action moving ahead till
the big shootout in the end.
Unless you crave for more Lee Byung-hun, characterizations
and a far detailed look at the heavy political undertones
which this fat-free version has left out, do check out the
original drama series. Other than that, IRIS the movie is
a decent Asian espionage 'movie' with rich production values
to kill a boring weekend.
The visual and audio experience is decent for this originally
Review by Linus Tee
Posted on 7 February 2011