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Film / The Chaser

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The Chaser is a South Korean neo-noir thriller released in 2008 directed by Na Hong-jin.

Joong-ho is a dirty detective-turned pimp. When his girls begin to go missing, he assumes that they are being sold by another customer. After using his skills to track him down, he is brought to the police only to discover that the man, Young-min, is instead a sadistic murderer and has been killing his girls. To make matters worse, the police have to let him go after twelve hours if no evidence can be found and Young-min claims that he is holding one of Joong-ho's girls, Mi-jin, captive. Can Joong-ho find evidence in time to bring Young-min to justice and rescue Mi-jin?

Set to be remade by the people who brought you The Departed.


This movie contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Anti-Hero: Joong-ho is of the Type III variety. He's a pimp, not a particularly nice guy and treats his prostitutes poorly. Still by the end of the film it's clear he's become emotionally invested in saving Mi-jin and comes to care for her daughter.
  • Based on a True Story: Young-min is based off of real-life Korean serial killer Yoo Young-chul (who was a cannibal in addition to being a killer).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Crossing almost in Downer Ending. Young-min is brought to justice but not before bludgeoning Mi-jin to death (just after she manages to escape his lair). The end of the film implies that Joong-ho will look after Mi-jin's daughter.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The protagonist is a pimp and not a nice guy(and apparently a ex Dirty Cop ) but he looks A LOT better in contrast to a sadistic serial killer.
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  • Bound and Gagged: Mi-jin spends half of the film in this predicament.
  • Combat Pragmatism: The fights in this movie definitively avert All Asians Know Martial Arts.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Invoked as the reason why the police ends up releasing Young-Min the first time around. A histeric man threw shit at the Seoul's mayor face, and combined with the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that Joong-Ho submitted to Young-Min several times while he was in custody, would make it look like the police was saving face for not avoiding the almost unpredictable first incident by imprisoning a innocent man so the headlines are changed.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Mi-jin's death is extremely gut-wrenching, and basically every other victim of Young-min, even the poor dog.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Joong-ho vs Young-min, Round 1.Round 2 is not so easy.
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience is all too aware that Young Min is himself the neighbourhood lunatic that the shop keeper wants him to protect her from.
  • Dirty Cop: Why Joong-ho is no more a cop. He implies that there's still corrupt ones that weren't caught along him.
  • Drop the Hammer: Young-min's weapon of choice.
  • Egocentrically Religious: Young Min, maybe. See Freudian Excuse.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Young-min's bludgeoning of Mi-jin is offscreen.
  • Freudian Excuse: The movie implies that this is played straight initially but it could be subverted:
    • Young-min is sexually impotent and it would kill victims with a chisel as a penis substitute as a interrogator guesses. Young-min himself angrily denies that's the reason.
    • Later,however, is discovered he worked in the expansion of a Christian church, where he buries his bodies. That, combined with the method he uses, could imply he's some kind of Knight Templar killing prostitutes because he thinks they're sinful and deserve to be "crucified". That without counting the religious drawings.
  • Hope Spot: A particularly excruciating example. After spending the bulk of the film bound and gagged, Mi-jin finally frees herself and makes it to a nearby store, where the store owner hides her. However, when Young-min arrives at the store, the owner unwittingly gives Mi-jin away. This results in Young-min murdering both the owner and Mi-jin.
  • I Shall Taunt You: How Joong-Ho escapes police's custody.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Desconstructed. The police don't manages to obtain enough evidence to initiate a process, letting the culprit free without charges, and decides to use Joong-Ho as The Scapegoat.
  • Morality Pet: Mi-jin's daughter serves as this for Joong-ho.
  • Police are Useless: In a technicality; Joong-Ho is an ex-cop and more competent than the ones still on the profession. They also fight between themselves because of the reputation in capturing a serial killer would bring. And their own reputation is tarnished and prejudice the investigations because of an incident involving Seoul's mayor, see above.
  • The Quiet One: Mi-jin's daughter. She breaks when she thinks her mother is dead. We never see her reaction when she discovers her mother died for real.
  • The Scapegoat: Joong-ho is arrested because of the Jack Bauer Interrogationtechnique he submitted Young-Min to so the police can save face after not obtaining proof of the crimes of the latter.
  • Serial Killer: Young-Min. He hires prostitutes and kill them using a chisel, and then buries her bodies in the ground of a church. He's not above of killing everyone and everything else though if he finds himself in danger.


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