A film based on the 2007 South Korean hostage crisis where 23 Catholic missionaries were kidnapped by the Taliban in exchange for 200 captured Taliban soldiers provides an interesting look at an international incident.
From an American perspective, it is interesting to watch a film regarding the war in Afghanistan involving two countries that were not the United States. With South Korea being a US Ally during a time of War, the perspective of another country during this time in history provides a great pivot point for foreign audiences.
In the Middle East, it is considered a crime punishable by death for outsiders to attempt to convert citizens away from the religion of Islam. This means that being a Christian Missionary in these countries is a matter of life and death and just because the foreigners are Korean, doesn’t mean they will be spared in this instance.
‘The Point Men’ is a South Korean film about a high-stakes hostage negotiation gone wrong. A National Intelligence Service (NIS) agent who struggles and risks their life on foreign soil to save Korean hostages that have been abducted in the Middle East. Hyun Bin plays Park Dae-sik who conducts a rescue operation and negotiations with the help of a mysterious diplomat played by Hwang Jung-min.
The film is a well-done production that was shot mostly in the country of Jordan. The visuals are very impressive given the fact that we don’t have many films that are legitimately shot in this region. The film makes Afghanistan look beautiful by comparison despite the nature of the story.
For those who love International thrillers, The film is far from being the next Jason Bourne but it’s entertaining as it offers a different perspective for potential moviegoers. The tension of the film revolves around the Taliban’s threats to kill one hostage for every hour that their soldiers are not released.
Hwang Jung-min plays Dae-sik, who is first seen getting out of jail in Afghanistan, after serving a sentence of about three or four months for counterfeiting. The NIS needs him for his ability to negotiate within the area. The film drags on a bit in the 2nd act making it hard to stay engaged as the movie progresses. At one point the film takes a detour regarding an Afghan negotiator who turns out to be a criminal scam artist.
The Twist provides some interesting action scenes to wake audiences up; however, the detour has nothing to do with the story at hand making it pointless to the initial plot. Fortunately, the film finishes strong with a difficult negotiation between two sides that leads to an unconventional but strong ending.
‘The Point Men’ is an entertainment thriller with some flaws but worth a watch by foreign audiences.