AFFD ’11 – Enemy At The Dead End Review


AFFD describes as “Oldboy in a hospital room”

Describe a movie as a South Korean revenge film, and those are really the only words a genre fan needs to hear to turn a movie from “what?” into a must-see. So far this year it’s been all about I Saw The Devil, the intense and gory revenge drama from director Kim Jee-Woon (The Good, The Bad, and The Weird), and it deserves every bit of good press that it’s getting. But there’s more than one South Korean revenge film this year and Enemy At The Dead End is an interesting and entertaining take on the genre.

Min-Ho is hospitalized for a debilitating mental illness and in his frustration with his continuing state, makes several suicide attempts. His nurses always stop him though, smiling at him and making jokes to lighten the mood. Soon enough, Min-Ho gets a roommate. A young man named Sang-Up who has just been in a terrible accident and has a head wound that causes his paralysis and amnesia. It becomes very clear early on that Min-Ho recognizes this man and for some reason he firmly decides that Sang-Up must die.

The two men begin their cat and mouse game, only they’re confined to hospital beds just out of arm’s reach from one another. They come up with ways to reach the other in ways that would make MacGyver proud, such as stealing knee highs from a nurse and using them to create a club. They are both still in various stages of illness though, especially Sang-Up, and his amnesia only serves to prolong the inevitable confrontation between them.

Enemy At The Dead End comes to an extremely brutal conclusion, especially when it is finally revealed why the two men hate each other so much, but most of the film is really very humorous. It’s hilarious to see these two men confined to hospital beds trying to rehabilitate themselves for no other reason but to kill the other, and it’s really more funny to watch than I could ever describe in words.

AFFD describes Enemy At The Dead End as “Oldboy in a hospital room” and that’s a pretty accurate description, only this has much more humor. In fact, it’s probably the funniest revenge film I’ve ever seen. First time directors/screenwriters Kim Sang-Hwa and Owen Cho have definitely proven that they can hold their own in the world of South Korean cinema and I’ll be excited to see what they do next. Enemy At The Dead End comes highly recommended for fans of South Korean revenge, and I know there are a lot of you.

Director: Kim Sang-Hwa, Owen Cho
Notable Cast: Cheo Ho-Jin, Yu Hae-Jin, Seo Hyo-Lim
Writer(s): Kim Sang-Hwa, Owen Cho

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