Kill Boksoon (2023) Movie Review – A dramedy-action flick that keeps you on the edge

A dramedy action flick that keeps you on the edge

The super-snappy Kill Boksoon meshes anti-hero action with an overlay of parental guilt. Perfectly balanced, it’s fast-moving fun with some truly creative cinematography to ensure you catch all the crucial moments.

All of Boksoon’s relationships are complicated. From her teenage daughter to her boss with whom she has a history, to her friend-with-benefits to her outright jealous comrades. In the competitive world of contract killing, every moment feels like work, work, work.

The scheduling is tough too as one must complete an assignment quickly in order to get to the grocery store before it closes – dinner isn’t going to make itself! For Korean women, once she’s had a child, she’s pretty much then known as ‘so-and-so’s mother,’ losing her personal identity to the role and creating an obvious conflict for a career-woman and single parent.

The story brings home a mother’s plight – trying to set a good example, even when her career is pretty questionable. Balancing single motherhood with guiding a 15-year-old plus maintaining her number 1 spot as an assassin, Boksoon has one tough day after another.

Her daughter has her constantly questioning herself and adjusting as she takes in the school-honed lessons that are easy to preach when you’re a kid. She heaves parental guilt as she tries to maintain openness with her rapidly closing-off teenager. And is left figuring out how to applaud her daughter who wants to be true to herself, even if it’s not completely socially acceptable – perhaps jarring with the façade she was hoping to make real.

There’s quite a bit of girl-power in this film too, making female assassins – and other powerful women – a household concept. But even a Grade A assassin must follow rules and it’s getting tougher all the time. This is especially evident when Boksoon is clearly not just a killer but a thinker who takes her commitments to the company and her family seriously. You can watch her head whir as she anticipates potential outcomes in each murderous battle.

In the same manner, Boksoon anticipates conversations at home about smoking, friends, a potential expulsion from school. Being able to rip through a number of scenarios helps her land the most viable option, even if none of them are pretty. Her goal, of course, is to lead her daughter to a better life than she’s had. After all, one doesn’t really fall into Boksoon’s field without a predisposition.

Boksoon is played by Jeon Do-Yeon, who’s held key roles in recent films Ashfall, Beasts Clawing at Straws, Emergency Declaration, and led the K-drama version, The Good Wife among others. But the Cannes best actress award-winner is best known for The Housemaid.

Kim Si-a appears as her daughter, as well as in drama The Silent Sea (Netflix) movie Ashfall. The MK CEO of murderers is portrayed by Sol Kyung-gu. With a lengthy film career in his pocket, he’s won best actor for Kingmaker and Book of Fish among others. And Esom, always a powerful watch, plays the mischievous and freaky MK Director and sister of the CEO.

Director Byun Sung-hyun has also led political drama movie Kingmaker (Netflix) among others – you can almost imagine his top 10 movie list, starting around Kill Bill and maybe surfacing somewhere near the Deadpool franchise. Even with the blood-lust thrust of the film, he’s not above taking risks in the emotional stakes with complex relationships and well-rounded characters.

We’ve previously seen anti-hero villains with witty lines and faster swords so this isn’t new – but it is done brilliantly. It’s clever, it’s fast, it’s humorous with fantastic visuals and a bit of morals thrown in. It simultaneously glamorizes and brings home the grim reality of a lifestyle in the underworld.


Read: Kill Boksoon Ending Explained

  • Verdict - 8.5/10

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