Style Jars a Bit, But 'Jakarta' Can Be Entertaining

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Style Jars a Bit, But 'Jakarta' Can Be Entertaining

The new Korean movie "Jakarta" is about a group of people who attempt to commit the perfect crime and escape to the Indonesian capital with their loot. The moviemakers suggest that the eventual success of the criminal act, which ends with escape to the tropical capital, recreates the meaning of the name "Jakarta" itself and that in the criminal underworld, the name of the South-east Asian capital means the perfect crime.

More than just a crime flick, this is an interesting film which blurs the margins between genres by combining elements from comedy, thriller and action movies. However, it succeeds only on the level of pure entertainment. It is not a movie that requires or provokes much thought as it seems to be concerned solely with amusing the public. It is enough to relax and let yourself go with the film rather than look for meaning as there appears to be little, if any, to be found.

There are many reversals of fortune in the first part of the movie which create a tense atmosphere and grab the viewers' attention. A sudden series of scenes done in animation towards the middle of the film, however, dissipates the tension and seem to have no other purpose than to provide comic relief where it is least required. This is an unusual device and its purpose here is difficult to fathom. It seems that the director tried to turn this into a happy or funny movie at this point with the insertion of these scenes but the plan backfired. The tension of the earlier scenes is lost and the film gains little from this experiment with animation.

"Jakarta"must be given credit for its plot though, which is more interesting than that found in the average robbery movie. Three teams of thieves arrive at a bank at the same time to break into its safe. Each group consists of two or three members and each has a different reason for being there. Naturally things don't go as planned because the robbers have to contend with each other as well as dealing with the bank staff and the police. A bloodbath ensues as the three groups fight each other to try to be the ones who get away with the loot, and most of the thieves are killed in the process.

The one team which is left standing gets away with the considerable fortune of $3 million. This is the only group that makes it to the plane headed for Jakarta. They have managed to perpetrate the perfect crime.

The film stars Kim Sang-jung, Yun Da-hun, Lee Jae-eun and others known for comedic performances.

by Park Jeong-ho

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