You can’t say The Suspect was mismarketed. All that spectacular stunt work that’s flashed in the film’s trailer is there, and it’s still enthralling in context. What the trailer doesn’t capture is how overblown Won Shin-yun’s film is. Maybe that’s for the better since the lethargic narrative is a major turnoff.
First, the film’s key strength: Shin-yun knows how to map out an action sequence. There are more than enough car chases and crashes in The Suspect to get anyone’s adrenaline pumping. The pursuits are no where near as compelling as the ones movie goers will see soon in Need for Speed, but the chases in The Suspect wet our whistle well. Same goes for the hand-to-hand combat and the gunplay.
My only suggestion for Shin-yun is he shouldn’t feel the need to present his work as anymore generic as clichéd American action fests in order to capture some sort of recognizable excitement. The camera work in The Suspect is either too closed in, shaking around like crazy, or both – which causes some of the fine choreography to be lost in translation. The sloppily choppy editing is also to blame.
There are way too many add-ons set on driving up the film’s intensity. Shin-yun is trying too hard to convince the audience what they’re watching is impressive and energetic. That said, Shin-yun could possibly be shovelling on more of these contrivances to cover up how dull Im Sang-hoon’s revengeful script plays on screen.
Sang-hoon has a very hard time adding onto his characters or the nature of getting even. Instead of building off of his own material, he plunks a lot of “stuff” on top of unfolding events and the emotional characters – none of which are interesting or thrillingly intriguing. He attempts to add twists and new motives, but inverts his characters in a way that make each person on screen become more complicated than they need to be.
The Suspect lacks confidence. The film has the appearance of a movie that knows how baggy it’s getting, and is constantly vying to win back its audience while trying to make ends meet with its own story.
The Suspect does have the look and feel of a smart thriller. As I often drifted into a dazed state, I found myself wondering what a Bourne endeavour would look like through Won Shin-yun’s filmmaking vision. In time, I think he’ll follow the same steps as Fast and the Furious filmmaker Justin Lin and grow to have what it takes to direct a franchise.
Unfortunately with The Suspect, Shin-yun finds himself spinning a number of plates. It’s neither enjoyable for him nor his spirited audience.