Missing (UK - DVD R2)
Our Marcus pulls in for a chicken soup and ends up with an axe in his head....
After discovering that quiet farmer Pan-gon (Moon Sung-keun) isn’t all that he seems, it’s already too late for the movie director he kills and the young actress that he keeps locked up in his basement. Keeping her in a cage and then subjecting her to a hose spray down, his singing, rape and some teeth pulling, Pan-gon thinks he can do whatever he likes. That is, until the young actress' sister comes looking for her.
Missing isn’t all that original. In fact it feels like I’ve seen this movie countless times over the years, and despite a pretty solid bad guy performance from Moon Sung-keun, Missing somehow feels a little paint by numbers.
Despite some of the nastier scenes (one involving a disturbing misuse of cake frosting and another testing the limits of a grinder), the movie has a lightness to it that was a lot like watching an Australian soap opera or something along those lines. The small town mystery never really ramped up any sort of tension, every character wore their true intentions on their faces and there was a distinct feeling from very early on that this was going to follow a very predictable path (which it does).
That said Pan-gon’s sinister acts may very well have felt more disturbing because of the fairly fluffy backdrop. Goofy cops, an even more goofy moped girl and some almost comedy dialogue in places counters the grimy torture Pan-gon’s victims go through quite well, and even if Pan-gon himself is still semi-funny in his interactions, there’s no escaping the nastiness of this guy.
This is one pretty looking standard definition transfer. The summer colours quite literally pop off the screen and the combination of bright reds, yellows and greens are not at all what I expected from a movie about kidnapping and torture.
The darker scenes bring in the greys, browns and darker greens but even then the image never gets all that murky or anywhere near as dark as you’d expect (again something that some could argue lets the movie down a bit). The entire movie keeps a noticeably clean appearance and despite the odd flutter of noise, Missing stays quite impressive throughout.
Again Missing brings the unexpected. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track here offers up multiple layers of atmospheric sound that fill up the track well. Chirping birds, crickets, dogs barking; you name a sound you’d expect on a farm in the middle of nowhere and it's there in your rear speakers.
Add to that some solid sound in the fronts from the strong dialogue and some show off pieces of axe wielding or harmonica playing and there’s not too much to complain about here especially considering the smallness of the movie didn’t really need to do any of this at all.
All we get for the movie itself is the short teaser trailers, the full theatrical trailer and twelve trailers for other CineAsia releases.
Missing is a messy movie but it’s certainly not as visually disturbing as a lot of the torture movies out there, even if the visuals still hint at the what we’re not seeing pretty well. The story isn’t at all fresh but it’s still entertaining (thanks largely to Moon Sung-keun’s creepily upbeat performance), but even with the disc’s solid A/V presentation, the total lack of any real features might make this one more of a rental consideration.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 31st January 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean, Dolby 2.0 Stereo Korean
Easter Egg: No
Director: Kim Sung-Hong
Cast: Moon Sung-Keun, Choo Ja-Hyun
Genre: Drama, Horror and Thriller
Length: 98 minutes
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