Kill Boksoon is an entertaining assassin story with a progressive domestic drama.
Gil Bok-soon (Jeon Do-yeon) has successfully balanced her private life as a mom to 15-year-old daughter Jae-Yeong (Kim Si-a) and her professional career as a renowned killer. But just as she’s about to retire, tensions at home and complications at work threaten to destroy everything she’s built.
While this sounds like a typical assassin movie, Kill Boksoon adds flourishes to deliver a well-rounded movie with engaging action and emotional range.
Bok-soon finds it challenging to relate with a teen daughter as any mother would. But on top of keeping a secret job, she’s afraid that Jae-Yeong – who’s keeping a secret of her own – could turn out like her.
She deals with office politics like any other corporate employee at MK Enterprises. But in an agency for contract killers, having a jealous co-worker on top of an already dangerous job is perilous especially when it’s Cha Min-hee (Lee So-young), the director and sister of the CEO Cha Min-kyu (Sol Kyung-gu).
Like any other business, the company Bok-Soon works at is part of an industry. Director Byun Sung-hyun used the film industry as an inspiration for worldbuilding – trainees are evaluated in staged scenarios and hit jobs are called “shows”. But this regimented world is only three rules away from dissolving into chaos. When Bok-Soon defies one of the rules, Min-hee grabs the opportunity to make a fatal move.
These all sound like a lot for a story to cover, but the script manages to execute these plotlines in a consistently entertaining way. The beginning of the movie effectively sets the tone of the film.
The action is showy but creative to keep your attention. Camerawork and well-placed slow-motion shots keep things interesting. The choreography takes into account the efficiency of hired killers, which delivers some gritty scenes. Sleek tailoring and stylish sets add to the effortlessly cool vibe.
The domestic drama makes this plot-driven movie grounded. Anyone would certainly relate to the fact that often, a parent would tell their kids how to live their life even though they don’t live up to those standards. And how mothers can be fearful of sharing their world with their daughters without realizing that they both share the same fears and doubts.
Cast performances help compensate for stereotypical or simplified characters. There’s not much backstory about Bok-soon, but Jeon Do-yeon makes you sympathize with her.
The movie concludes with an ambiguous ending, but wait for the mid-credits scene.
Overall, Kill Bok-soon doesn’t offer anything new, but it manages to add an inventive riff to a stereotypical story and offers more than gun-fu.
Kill Boksoon is a slick action thriller with comforting drama thanks to its clever riff on a stereotypical assassin story.