Imagine driving into work and all of a sudden you receive a phone call telling you that there is a bomb in your car that will detonate the next you exit the vehicle?
It isn’t a bad concept for “Hard Hit” that ultimately dooms the film, it is a bloated runtime that brings the film to a screeching halt. In this South Korean thriller, A head of a bank center in Busan, Seong-gyu (Jo Woo-jin) goes to work in his car with his daughter Hye-in (Lee Jae-in) and his son. Suddenly, he gets a call from an unknown number and the caller states “There’s a bomb under your seat right now. And as soon as you stop and get out of the car, you’re told it’s going to explode.”
What happens next is a series of events in which will tear Seong-gyu’s life and family apart as someone from his past is looking for revenge and has the firepower to get it.
“Hard Hit” is at its best when the film lays the groundwork for the plot. There is a great deal of mystery into who is doing this and why they are targeting these people? Is this a terrorist organization or a grander conspiracy at play? The film ramps up the stakes by establishing the threat of its antagonist but that is where the film falls apart.
The film crashes and burns in the 2nd act by spending nearly 20 minutes of runtime grounding the film to a halt with exposition. Once you have put the wheels in motion, you never stop them because the pace of the film takes a major blow and once you have lost the audience, you won’t get them back.
Hard Hit may look like a high-octane thriller, but it quickly turns into a sluggish exposition-ridden Uber drive where a guy talks to himself in the car for half the film. Hard Hit is one of the biggest missed opportunities of 2021.