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Review Carter (2022): Like The Villainess but to the twentieth power!

genre: action, martial arts, gun fu

As someone who loved The Villainess I honestly can't say I was prepared for this. I mean, I had an idea. But if you thought The Villainess already was over the top then brace yourself because Carter is maximum insanity.

Carter starts out with a plot that has been done to death. A man suffering from memory loss is thrust into an adventure, not knowing who he can trust and who he can't. At first, it seems like the whole world is after him. Slowly, but gradually, the puzzle pieces come together. While he is figuring out who he is and what is going on, the audience is treated with almost non-stop action and thrills. Director Jung Byung Gil commented, "I tried to make the impossible happen in order to capture the [stunts] with real action instead of CG (computer graphics)." I must admit that sometimes I did wonder whether the stunts were real or not. I guess this film is a superb culmination of a lot of practical effects, creative wire works, inventive usage of camera and very clever editing. Sure, this film does look and feel more like a video game. The same can be said of Hardcore Henry and that one was awesome since it did combine masterful action with a good narrative. Carter does the same, although it is required of you to suspend disbelief because the film keeps throwing things at you that are illogical and fantastic. At certain points, I did find the plot to be a little convoluted. Yet I wasn't bothered by it too much since you aren't really supposed to think about it too much. Everything is in service of the action.

There seems to be a lot of criticism towards the way the action is presented and choreographed. While it certainly is chaotic and messy, it was never to the extent that I couldn't follow what was going on. No quick cuts or shaky cam. Yes, the camera is constantly moving, but never at the cost of the spectacle. The director is a fan of good action, so he has made sure you get to enjoy it. He even filmed and edited, in a way that it seems like everything is one take. Of course, this is not the case. But the effort alone is incredibly commendable. Besides, there is stunt work here that has never been done before. For example, there is a chase scene involving motorcycles and minivans. Standard stuff right? Wrong! Carter is jumping from bike to bike and from van to bike and back to the van, etcetera etcetera. I am not kidding. I think they were so proud they did it again, but with trains. And no, it didn't get tedious. I think directors like these should be celebrated. Here is someone who is actually doing his best to bring you something fresh and creative within a genre where everything has been done before. It is incredibly hard to make action exciting. Yet Jung Byung Gil succeeds. 

So it is safe to say that the people who were complaining aren't fans of good action. You do have to wonder why they decided to watch this film in the first place. Do these people even do any kind of research? Anyway, Carter is a must-watch for real action aficionados and one film I'm definitely going to purchase once it's available on Blu-ray.

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