A Hard Day movie review

On the day of his mother’s funeral, Go Geon Soo (Lee Sun Gyun) receives divorce papers, learns that his police unit is under scrutiny for corruption, then kills someone with his car. Geon Soo goes into overdrive, initially to avoid being held responsible for murder, then later, to uncover the truth about the victim.

Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★★★
Only 만: ★★★★

Side Dish: Geon Soo does a lot of fighting and grappling in this movie. You know who else does a lot of fighting and grappling? Sumo wrestlers. Eat like a sumo wrestler by making your own chanko nabe, with this recipe from Vice.

Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: I have seen a few Korean action thrillers recently, and I think this one is my favourite to date.

Only 만: I haven’t seen that many, but this was a good one. Great visual style, convincing fight scenes, and a story that moved forward at a blazing pace; what’s not to like?

Junggugeo Kaenada: I even liked the dirtbag protagonist, Go Geon Soo, played by Lee Sun Kyun. Unlike the usual protagonist, there is nothing admirable about him. He is just preferable to a psychopathic killer.

Only: He’s a small-time cop on the take, basically, with a talent for surviving. That’s what was great about him, that we didn’t have to spend a lot of time on figuring out why he was the way he was, or setting up the story. He’s a dirtbag, the villain (if we can call him that) is a psycho, and somehow they end up tangled together. The only setup required was covered in the first couple of minutes.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Yes, this was a fun film to watch. In fact, the only thing I didn’t like was how unstoppable the villain was. Without giving too much away, I think Geon Soo did what should have been an adequate job of stopping him. Yet, in the name of ramping up the action to a more dramatic conclusion, they turned him into the Terminator. It became ludicrous how the villain just wouldn’t die.

Only: The Terminator is exactly it, though I must admit his reappearance was pretty effective. Which leads me to the fight scenes. For a change, they weren’t shot too close, leading to the flurry-of-limbs effect you hate so much, and neither were they particularly pretty, which I liked.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Yes, Geon Soo was actually a little incompetent, and had me shouting at the screen in frustration. Though, I suppose that just demonstrates how caught up I was in the action.

We should mention that there was some dark comedy. I laughed pretty hard when Geon Soo continued his unscrupulous behaviour at his mother’s wake.

Only: The constant apologizing to his mother at the funeral was pretty hilarious. I liked how the darker humour kept catching me off-guard. And it was pretty understated; I never felt like they were going for cheap or obvious laughs. Not that I have anything against that, but that wasn’t the case here.

Junggugeo Kaenada: There’s not much more to say about A Hard Day. It is not a deep and emotional character study that will move you to tears, but it is a fantastically paced movie with genuinely thrilling action.

Only: It’s well-shot, well-written and the direction is great, but most importantly, it’s a fun ride.


  1. Side note, I’ve been meaning to find a recipe for chanko nabe ever since I watched the Vice documentary on that one sumo wrestler guy, so thanks! (I never thought to look on Vice’s website.) I am OBSESSED with soup.


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