Kill Boksoon

Kill Boksoon

Film Netflix
Watch Now
8.9

Great

A trained assassin must survive one last job if she wants to retire and re-connect with her daughter in the South Korean action film, Kill Boksoon.

Marketing is a strange tool. You need to advertise what you have made and therefore need to decide what kind of audience you think will like it.

Kill Boksoon’s Netflix trailer bigs up the hack ‘em slash ‘em fighting scenes and clearly has been angled towards action fans.

Inside this Trojan horse though hides an introspective movie where parenting and identity are just as important.


The first clue would be the run time: 137 minutes is fairly chunky for an all out action film. 

Kill Boksoon keeps its big ticket fights in the back pocket to deliver in cathartic moments to break up tension.

Set in a world of organised assassinations with strict monopolised rules, much of the movie plays out like a chess game where one player knows they already lost, but has to keep fighting.

What Is Kill Boksson About?

Gill Bok-soon (Jeon Do-yeon) is thinking of retiring. Despite years spent as MK. ENT’s top assassin (which earned her the nickname ‘Kill’) she wants to reconnect with her sullen teenage daughter (Kim Si-a).

With newcomers snapping at her heels and other companies resenting MK’s dominance, Bok-soon reluctantly takes on one last job.

Action fans are sated quickly with a wry opening battle between Bok-soon and a semi-naked Yakuza she has been contracted to kill. 

Knives, guns, chunky choreography – it’s all here as well as a recurring mechanic in which Bok-soon visually imagines her enemy’s next move (used infrequently enough to be a surprise when it turns up).

Once you are suckered in, Kill Boksoon slowly unwraps the main body of itself.

Played with excellent awkwardness and belligerence is daughter Jae-yeong (Kim Si-a – Kingdom: Ashin of the North, The Silent Sea), who struggles to hide her homosexuality whilst simultaneously resenting being kept in the dark about what her mother really does for a living.

Do-yeon is a superb lead who is equally adept in the action sequences and dramatic moments.

Her character clearly calls to mind Uma Thurman in Kill Bill but is equally any confused mother who can’t decide between showing vulnerability to her daughter or brusquely instructing them on how to live.

Kill Boksoon Official Trailer

Is Kill Boksoon Worth Watching?

That the ‘kitchen sink’ drama moments don’t drag is down to her ability to play out her internal battles, and Si-a’s skill at adding a dash of helplessness behind her snotty attitude.

Woven around all this is a carefully balanced plot about conflicting loyalties. Bok-soon’s history with MK boss Cha Min-kyu (Sol Kyung-gu) has given her leeway, but has garnered resentment from Min-kyu’s ambitious sister (Esom, Taxi Driver).

MK’s dominance means they have set the three rules that run professional assassination (No minors; Only kill as sanctioned by your company; You must attempt all jobs given to you) which handily – for them – bans freelancers too.

A political bubbling over where under the heel rival companies swing between private discontent and public kowtowing add to the increasing pressure of events.

Kill Boksoon puts in the time to give each of its characters sufficient emotional heft.

We are right there as they battle to decide what to do, and bite our lips as we know that it won’t be long before knives are drawn.

Particular praise must go to Koo Kyo-hwan in a supporting role as a talented but stifled killer whose internal battle between pride, responsibility, and morality gifts a tragic fatalism.

The slower pace may not be to the liking of some and the action sequences too spaced out or too few, but it would be a shame to dismiss Kill Boksoon for being coy with its marketing.

When the violence does spill over it is edited and choreographed with a satisfying wallop (and a touch of humour), but in between is an elevating and thoughtful drama with a knockout central performance.

The chess game may be decided before it has finished, but that doesn’t lessen the impact when the pieces fall one by one.

Words by Mike Record

Good

  • Well Rounded Characters
  • Great Action Sequences
  • Thoughtful Plot That Adds Rich Context

Bad

  • Slow Paced At Times
  • Blood VFX A Little OTT
  • Give Us A Sequel You Cowards
8.9

Great

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