Is it weird to be this excited for Lee Jong-seok (W–Two Worlds) to play a sinister, amoral serial killer? I’ve just always thought he’d make a good villain, and I’m happy to say, I’m not disappointed by the first glimpse of his transformation in the new noir action thriller VIP.
The latest from director Park Hoon-jung of The Tiger and A New World is about an international manhunt to take down the son of a high-ranking North Korean official who is suspected of a string of gruesome killings. Lee Jong-seok plays the VIP who lives above the law, and the film is about the three men who are all after him for different reasons: one to cover up his crimes, one to catch him, and one to get revenge.
Kim Myung-min (A Day) plays a South Korean police detective who narrows in on Lee Jong-seok as his prime suspect in a murder case and is hellbent on catching him. But at every turn he’s thwarted by Jang Dong-gun (No Tears for the Dead), who is a secret agent for the National Intelligence Service and is responsible for bringing the VIP to South Korea in a joint covert operation with the CIA. (Peter Stormare makes a guest appearance as the CIA agent.) And of course they’re both at odds with Park Hee-soon (Age of Shadows), a North Korean agent with an agenda of his own.
The teaser opens with a hint of a gruesome murder, and detective Kim Myung-min telling his team to only focus on their suspect. Secret agent Jang Dong-gun is cold and calculating as he shoots people down and meets with his CIA contact who thinks they’re friends. (Jang Dong-gun mutters under his breath, “Son of a bitch.”) Park Sung-woong puts in an appearance to say that it would be very bad if Lee Jong-seok were the culprit, which really puts Kim Myung-min in the worst position of all, as the only man who desperately wants the VIP caught for his crimes.
But Kim Myung-min says, “You don’t know me very well, do you?” and proceeds to go after his target with everything in his arsenal. Lee Jong-seok doesn’t look fazed as he continues to slip right through their fingers, and even when Jang Dong-gun has him in his clutches and they’re both covered in blood, he just laughs like a creepy psychopath. Well, that’s disturbing. I guess it’s a good thing every cop, country, and spy is after him then.
VIP hits theaters in August.