If you think a twisted thriller movie requires a complicated settings and a state-of-the-art computer graphic effects, director and writer Kim Byung-Woo would have proved you wrong with his movie The Terror, Live (Hangul: 더 테러 라이브). The movie followed a hectic and fast-paced setting about a news anchor trying to catch a bomb terrorist and managed to sneak in some interesting plot twists. What made this movie great was that the movie was thrilling and action-packed from the start to the finish, making the audience grip onto their seats tightly.

The Terror, Live follows the story of Yoon Young-Hwa (played by Ha Jung-Woo), a previously-successful news anchor at SNC network who got demoted into a radio announcer due to a scandal that led him to his divorce with his wife, Lee Ji-Soo (played by Kim So-Jin), who was also a news reporter. When Yoon was hosting his daily radio show, a caller who went by the name Park No-Kyu (voiced by Kim Dae-Myung) called the show and had to be hung up because he was straying from the topic of tax concerns. However, the call could not be disconnected and Park was threatening that he would bomb the Mapo Bridge, which was right in front of the SNC building. The threat was treated as a prank, until Park decided to prove his words and bombed the bridge.

It then quickly became the breaking news and all broadcasting stations across Korea were on a race to get the exclusive news. Yoon, who was about to report to the police, then realised that since he and his radio staffs were the only ones to know about Park, they were the ones who could get him on the phone and get that exclusive interview to gain more ratings. Yoon then quickly made a deal with his news producer, Cha Dae-Eun (Lee Geung-Young), who is a greedy and ratings-obsessed man, thus he quickly agreed to let Yoon report the news flash and negotiate a deal with Park so that they can get a higher rating.

The story moved along in the confinements of the radio broadcasting room, filled with hasty camera crew and Yoon as the news anchor to keep in contact with Park on the phone. Park was a middle-aged construction worker that felt that he was ill-treated by the government so he demanded a ransom of over $2 million and an apology directly from the President himself. He was one of the workers who built Mapo Bridge, therefore he decided to bomb it as a form of protest and to gain public attention. He bombed the bridge three times, and the third bomb caused some innocent civilians to get trapped in the bridge and were in grave danger. Yoon tried to negotiate and stall Park to wait until the President arrives, but in an off-air call, Park told Yoon that he planted a bomb in Yoon’s earpiece so that he could not move far from his desk and he also could not take out the earpiece. This cause Yoon to be strictly confined in his desk while producer Cha, chief police Park Jeong-Min (Jeon Hye-Jin), and the recording crew were the only ones who could actively contact the President to ask for his apology. The situation turned worse when Yoon realised that the President would not show up and Park was getting impatient. He then realised that even with the lack of control that he had, he would need to catch Park on his own no matter what.

The Terror, Live showed the hectic and fast-paced environment in news flash settings and how there is no time to rest for news reporter and the staff involved behind the cameras. Yoon was portrayed as an incredibly smart and sharp, yet slightly naive news anchor, while producer Cha, chief police Park Jeong-Min, and the staff from the Blue House (Korea’s official residence for the President) seemed to exploit the terrorist act to benefit their own agendas. Even though Yoon was the first person who thought of exploiting the terrorist act, he then changed his stances when innocent civilians, his ex-wife Lee Ji-Soo, who was the live news reporter, and himself were exposed to great danger. The story unveiled itself in a timely manner, and the plot twists were executed in the right places to keep surprising the audience. It also showed Ha Jung-Woo‘s acting skills, which was brilliant throughout the whole movie.

This movie is a great action thriller and would keep your heart pumping fast to follow its pace. It also leads director Kim Byung-Woo to be nominated for various awards in the Blue Dragon Film Awards and the Baeksang Arts Awards. If you enjoy a simple and fast-paced movie with good plot twists, you would definitely enjoy The Terror, Live. I personally enjoyed this movie very much and I was rather surprised with how brilliant it turned out. There were also some violent and slightly gory scenes but they were tastefully done and were a great add-on to the intensity of the story. The whole story shows how everyone has their own motives and agendas, and are sometimes not afraid to pull some strings to get what they want.


This film was originally reviewed at KOFFIA – Korean Film Festival in Australia – 2014. Visit www.koffia.com.au for more information.