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Movie Review: Face


Meet Lee Hyun-min, just your average ordinary everyday guy who happens to specialize in putting faces on human skulls. You know, kind of like the chick on that new TV series, Bones, except he's not quite as hot, and he works at Korea's National Institute of Science Investigation, or at least he did, just before handing in his resignation letter. Oh yeah, and did I forget to mention that this run-of-the-mill normal fellow also happens to have a beta-allergic daughter who just recently had a heart transplant? Yeah, her name is Jin, and she is so adorable! Too bad she keeps having some kind of reaction allegedly due to her beta-allergy. Plus, I'm sure that whole seeing ghosts thing isn't helping. But you know, other than all that, Lee's still a pretty normal guy. Single parents are considered normal nowadays, aren't they? I'm only asking 'cause his wife died a little while ago, leaving him to raise Jin on his own, though I'm sure that's pretty common....

On a total different, completely unrelated subject, there is a murderous killer on the loose whose signature happens to be completely burning away his victim's skin and other organs using some kind of acid so that nothing is left but the skeletal remains. Solving this case is proving to be extremely difficult for detectives, since they basically have nothing to go on but a pile of bones. Guess they should probably pick up the phone and give a call to Quincy, M.D.. That man's a genius, and he did solve that one murder after finding only a single leg bone. I'm sure Dr. Temperence Brennan would be happy to help as well, you know, that one chick from the new Bones TV series I mentioned earlier. Sure, she doesn't have the witty personality of Quincy, but she's got something that he lacks... special CG effects! What? No? Hmm, okay then, let me think... who else could they call on for help... hmm... oh, I got it... wait, no, the Enterprise is too far out in space at the moment, besides the fact that it hasn't even been invented yet... well, I'm stumped. I got nothing.

Face Hey, wouldn't it be weird if say Lee Hyun-min and this whole killer situation were actually connected in some sort of roundabout way? Yeah... yeah! That could make for a good horror/thriller flick! Too bad he resigned from his position at the institute. Dang. That would have been perfect. If only there was some way to get him back into what he does best. Hmmm... like maybe if someone would just drop by his house with a skull for him to work on... and while I'm pondering this very unlikely and completely theoretical situation, why not make this random person a hot babe who also happens to be in the business of putting faces back on skulls. You know, that way they could have something in common, as well as maybe a little sexual tension here and there. That would surely help. If only there were such a character... I think I'd call her Jung Sun-young. Has a nice ring to it, don't ya think? Just rolls off the tongue. And since everyone knows I have magical, mystical powers, I think I'm going to go ahead, snap my fingers, and make this happen!

Face So Jung shows up at Lee's door one day carrying a box with a skull. He insists that he's in no condition to work right now, but when he goes to get her a glass of water, she disappears, leaving the box behind. When she returns the next day, Lee tells her she can take it back, that he hasn't even taken it out of the box. So when she goes to pick it up, they both surprised to see that it's out of the box and been worked on a little already. After Lee has some eerie experiences with unexplained sounds and visions, he finally decides to take a crack at the skull. At first he rejects Jung's help, but of course it's not long before they're working side-by-side on it. Once it's complete, Lee sends the face to detectives, where they find that it is in fact one of the victims! How about that! Though unfortunately Lee's suspicions about the person being the one whose heart was given to his daughter were incorrect, as the individual went missing several years ago. Still, Lee and detectives aren't ready to give up just yet, as there is definitely something suspicious going on here. Question is, will they be able to figure it out before the killer murders again? And is any of this really related to Jin's condition or the seemingly supernatural goings-on?

Face There's no doubt that this flick has some genuinely creepy moments in it. It is filmed quite well, and uses a lot of creeping camera moves, where the camera slowly moves from one position to another rather than just remaining static in one place. The lighting worked well and really added to the atmosphere. Most of the thriller scenes seem to have been done without CG, which I always feel helps a lot, though there were one or two obvious CG effects. Still, even those where creepy, so kudos to accomplishing that. But you know what I don't like? Time trickery. You know what I'm talking about, as we've all seen it in some movie or another, like when somebody is madly trying to get something off a computer then we cut to see the owner of the computer walking back to their office only to realize when they arrive and open the door that the person who was in so much danger of getting caught actually finished and left the office an hour before. I HATE that! It's nothing but flat-out cheating. Anyway, overall the movie was enjoyable and had it's moments. I really would have liked to see more of Lee and Jin together, though. I think watching father and daughter go through it together would have been really cool.

Face The DVD comes in a standard plastic DVD case plus an external box just big enough for the DVD case to slide into. Box sets I can understand, but I really wonder what the point of doing this is for a single DVD. The outer box and the inner DVD case both have identical front and backs, though the box looks a little nicer since it's smooth and glossy and doesn't have any plastic covering the picture like a DVD case has. There are a few special features here, though no commentary. There are interviews with the director, cast, and crew, as well as some outtakes, though the outtakes aren't like screw-ups or funny moments or anything. Their mostly just some behind the scenes filming. There's also a behind the scenes photo shoot, a photo gallery, and as usual some Tartan Asia Extreme new releases. Oh, and the disc is single-sided, so you get access to everything without having to flip the disc over.

Face was released on September 27, 2005 by Tartan Video under the Asia Extreme label. It was directed by Yoo Sang-Gon and stars Shin Hyun-jun as Lee Hyun-min and Song Yoon-ah as Jung Sun-young.

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