I saw the trailer for this movie a while ago and was genuinly happy to see Ha Ji Won back in action. The trailer got me fairly excited, but frankly, the movie didn’t deliver.
It tells the story of a (not so successful) mystery novel writer Je In/ Jane, who’s
known in her neighborhood for reporting false crime activities, to the point where police would actually hang up on her. But luckily she still has her good friend Rok-Hwan (played by Chun Jung Myung), who’s basically her sidekick who happens to work in the police force. One day he suggests to her to dig into the files of a recent serial killer case as inspiration for her next novel. Then ex machina comes a mysterious man named Jason. He just came back from the USA and only speaks English (for some reason). Je In is totally infatuated by him and they conveniently keep running into each other. Jason finds out that Je In is the writer he’s been a fan of and they exchange ideas about the serial killer. Meanwhile Rok Hwan feels a little left out. Now that Je In has finally found the man of her dreams, it’s time for him to let her go. The story takes a little turn towards the end, but to nobody’s surprise it ends up exactly where we expect it to be.
The plot line isn’t the most original, but I didn’t expected to be blown away anyway. My biggest frustration however, is the amount of English used in this movie – and we’re not talking about a few simple English lines, we’re talking about full dialogue scenes here. Dear god, why? Why? It totally didn’t help advance the plot, nor was it executed properly – somebody please fix those grammar mistakes, stat! I’ve read that Ha Ji Won’s been eyeing a Hollywood debut, but if this is her way of getting a foot in the door, it’s plain awful strategy – unless she’s going for the part of Asian girl-who-can’t-speak-English. It’s one of those cases where you better not do something, rather than doing it poorly.
Now, I’m a big Ha Ji Won fan, but the work she’s been putting out over the past years, were rather disappointing. The last movie I actually enjoyed watching was As One, in which she portrayed South-Korean table tennis player Hyun Jung Hwa, and that was in 2012. For those who’ve been following Ha Ji Won’s career, you know Ha Ji Won can carry a movie/drama. She’s a household name afterall. Her best performance, for me, will always be Hwang Jin Yi – aired on KBS2 in 2006. After watching that drama, I fell in love with her acting, and honestly I can’t imagine anybody else playing that part better. Her hard work showed and Ha Ji Won is known for her work ethic.
So then, what’s wrong with her latest movies and dramas? Is it the production side of things or is Ha Ji Won losing her touch? In my opinion she’s not been chosing the right parts to play. Ha Ji Won is made for complex persona. Give her an eccentric character to play and she’ll smash it. Ask her to be the bubbly girl-next-door and she’ll be the wall flower you won’t remember. But competition is fierce in Korea Land and great parts are desired by everybody. To get the creme de la creme, you have to be on top of your game – everytime.
Btw, you know who’s been making excellent movie choices again and again? Jun Ji Hyun!
So, can we expect another mesmerizing performance from our dear Ha Ji Won unni soon? Her next movie Manhunt is due for a 2017 release, so let’s have another chat when that one comes out. Until then, I’m still very much a Ha Ji Won fan!