Carter, the review: an adrenaline-pumping and rowdy South Korean action movie

Carter’s review, the new hyperkinetic madness by Jung Byung-gil, who after The Villainess packs another great genre title. On Netflix from August 5, 2022.

Carter: A scene from the film

As he prepares for his big Hollywood debut with Afterburn, a film adaptation of the comic of the same name starring Gerard Butler, Jung Byung-gil lands on Netflix with a new and amazing action movie, which we talk about in ours Carter’s review. Five years after the excellent The Villaines, a title that in 2017 launched the name of Byung-gil internationally, the South Korean author is back in the control room for an inventive action madness with no cinematic restraints whatsoever, destined to be remembered as one of the eastern milestones of gender.

Amnesia and blows

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Carter: A photo from the film

As for Mad Max: Fury Road, The Raid or Crank, Carter too bets everything on action and technical virtuosity in its construction, bringing to excess every regulating principle of the seventh art and stretching it to one’s liking to manipulate it with hyper-kinetic fury in context. The titles mentioned are not by chance: the new Netflix film is in fact a conceptual crasis between the cinematic ideal of the reported triptych, where escape, excitement and madness play a fundamental role in the dynamics of the story within the action, as much in the content. as above all in the form.
Although it is incidental and convoluted, Carter’s story is conceived starting from current events, from a pandemic originating in the South Korean demilitarized zone that has devastated the United States of America, Europe and North Korea. The virus inhibits the brakes linked to the control of violence, making the victims aggressive and uncontrollable, destroying them both physically and in the psyche and leading them to certain death. In such a context, Agent Carter Lee wakes up with no memory of his past, with a strange device planted at the base of his neck, an explosive bomb in his right molar and a female voice telling him everything he needs to do. .

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Carter: Joo Won in one sequence

While the CIA and North Korea hunt him tightly in search of something extremely important, Carter embarks on a survival and rescue mission that will drag him from a shabby motel room to the South Korean forest and beyond to save his own. despite the whole world. The pen is that of Byung-gil who has always taken care of both the script and the direction of his projects, basically an all-round author – also considering his notions of photography and editing. Each twist in the plot of the story is just a way to kick off the next fight, indeed often unnecessarily dialogued for the purpose of a spy-thriller vein that is not convincing enough, all too simple and clearly pretext. It works within the limits of its instrumentality, but where Carter really surprises and exalts it is obviously in the action sector, and here we begin to get serious.

Everything and more

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Carter: Joo Won in a moment in the film

Building on his past experience with The Villaines, the South Korean author packs a truly thrilling, adrenaline-pumping and heart-pounding film experience. Carter is entirely structured on a digital sequence shot of more than two hours, composed of many different shooting models that once assembled together give the idea of ​​an impossible rush between buildings, motorcycles, cars and helicopters. Compared to the previous film, aware of the complexity of the project’s cinematic framework, Buyng-gil had to opt for some obviously cheaper choices, especially as regards some passages in CGI (sometimes it’s unfortunately bad) that actually break the suspension of the disbelief of the viewer. Not bad, in truth, being Carter a film designed to overcome credibility and play entirely and internally with the genre, putting it to the test. And inside there is really everything: from the use of the subjective and the go pro as done in Hardcore! to a skilful use of drones inside and outside the action, both as a narrative tool of the same as well as a function of connection between the parts.

Hardcore !: the (crazy) dream of gamers comes true

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Carter: Joo Won during a scene from the movie

There is also a lot of steadycam work (also partly digital) especially in close-range hand-to-hand combat, but it is the union of all these techniques then elaborated during the assembly phase that makes Carter a truly restless and spectacular jewel, packed full. of instant zooms, focus in real time, subjective that leave room for sudden long shots, continuous accelerations and decelerations, incalculable skips. It is a fomented and hallucinating journey between technique and choreography, between breathtaking fights, unsettling chases and shootings and the exceptional direction of a genre author among the most important on the square.


To conclude our review of Carter, Jung Byung-gil’s new film is undoubtedly a cinematic experience as impressive as it is exhilarating, born of an action ideal that seeks virtuosity and character in every possible and impossible sequence. Despite a somewhat cheap – perhaps obligatory – taste in some passages in CGI and an unnecessarily complex story in its accessories, Carter bluntly exasperates the author’s stylistic code in a two-hour digital sequence shot where technique and inventiveness make it. as a master, thrilling without compromise. A truly unmissable genre title.

Because we like it

  • The construction of the sequence shot, really impressive.
  • The choreography of the clashes, the variety of the action.
  • The numerous and sophisticated shooting techniques.

What’s wrong

  • The use of a CGI is often poor and embarrassing.
  • Several unconvincing digital narrative connections.
  • An unnecessarily long-winded story.

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