Ballerina (발레리나): Movie Review

Ballerina (발레리나) Movie Review: Dark and Visceral Fun 

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We anticipated an action-packed spectacle with "Ballerina" (발레리나) in 2023, and it exceeded our expectations. This film proved to be more than just another action flick; it offered a dark, gritty, and spine-tingling experience that drenched the screen with gore and adrenaline.

Okju (Jeon Jong-seo) was once a skilled bodyguard, a lethal expert in martial arts, sword fighting, gunplay, and much more. When her dear friend Minhee (Park Yu-rim), a talented ballerina, is found dead, Okju unravels a web of blackmail, suffering, and death, compelling her to seek revenge against those responsible for her friend's untimely demise.

Director Lee Chung-hyun once again demonstrates his visual prowess in "Ballerina." Just as his 2020 film "The Call" stood out for its striking visuals, "Ballerina" elevates its action with remarkable camerawork and cinematography. The visuals vividly capture the visceral and raw nature of the film's fight sequences and delve into darker aspects, such as torture. A lot of these scenes had us wince in pain or in disgust. Jeon Jong-seo's performance as Okju deserves praise, not only for portraying a fierce killer but also for convincingly delivering the intense action and blows. Nonetheless, "Ballerina" takes its time to fully develop its narrative, with the first half of the film moving at a slower pace, leaving us in particular hungry for raw thrills. Ironically, it's quite obvious that the film aspires to be more than just an action movie but struggles to excel in its non-action elements as compared to its more action-packed side. Despite this minor quibble, "Ballerina" offers an exhilarating and unsettling experience that leaves a surprisingly lasting impact.

Rating: 4 reels

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