What You Need To Know:
(H, B, AC, Acap, L, VVV, S, N, AA, D, M) Humanist worldview with a moral, anti-Communist theme of South Korean intelligence fending off a rogue communist revolutionary force where the leader of the North Korean force complains that the South Korean people enjoy the good fruit of capitalism while his own people starve; six obscenities (five are the "F" word) and two mild curses; extreme violence includes threatened mass destruction, car wrecks, special forces training with live prisoners of war, trainee freaks out over the blood and is shot in head by commander, live prisoners tied to posts and used for bayonet and knife practice, raids lead to bloody massacres with many necks broken on screen, one raider bites man in neck to sever his jugular vein; people literally dripping in blood, bloody images of sniper victims with head, neck and chest wounds, leftovers shown of person who shoots himself in the head; sniper victim shown on autopsy slab with wounds being examined, massive explosion causes burning bodies to fall from the sky onto the streets and many cars, woman commits suicide by swallowing a bomb rather than being taken into custody - goopy explosion shown, bodies ripped to shreds by machine gun fire, man's leg shot off at knee, and bloody knife fight in slow-motion; implied fornication with unmarried couple in bed cuddling; man without shirt in bed; alcoholic falls off the wagon, she is obviously drowning the sorrows of her guilty conscience; smoking; and, lying and political envy.
GENRE: Action Adventure/Thriller/Spy
SHIRI tells the story of a rogue North Korean Special Forces team that has forcefully stolen a new volatile explosive called CTX from the South Koreans. One gallon of the liquid explosive can take out an entire city. The communist bad guys intend to use the explosives to destroy the “corrupt politicians” attending the North and South Korean reunification meetings being celebrated at a special soccer match hosted by South Korea.
The reason for the violence, explained by the communist leader, is that while South Korea enjoys the fruit of capitalism, the North Koreans suffer under communism. He says that some actually eat their dead family members to survive. He is upset that prosperous South Korea does nothing to help, while his own leaders let the people die. In his view, all of the current batch of political leaders are corrupt and must die in order for a new set of leaders to rise.
In my regional political ignorance, I have to assume that the South Korean people hear this skewed reasoning all the time. The people under North Korean communism will blame everyone except the useless political system they are under. The rogue leader in SHIRI has decided to kill them all while hoping that bloody revolution (a tenet of communism) will sort it all out.
The movie starts out bloody and maintains a gruesome level of gore throughout. A female soldier named “Hee” (Yoon-jin Kim) is being trained in the North Korean 8th Special Forces. She is seen excelling beyond the abilities of most of the men around her. The training scenes are saturated with blood.
The Special Forces are shown raiding villages and viciously killing their enemies. Later, they are using their live prisoners in bayonet, knife and target practice — just gruesome. I guess the filmmakers are establishing just how formidable a warrior Hee is. She retires from the Special Forces with honors and disappears somewhere into South Korea reemerging as a sniper for her rogue leader.
South Korea’s “O.P.” intelligence agents, Yu (Suk-kyu Han) and his partner, Lee (Kang-ho Song), are well aware of Hee’s activities in their country and are doing their best to track her down as she extends her list of political kills. Their urgency is multiplied when it is discovered that Hee is working with the crew that hijacked the volatile South Korean explosive CTX.
The North Korean Special Forces team has placed deposits of CTX in the South Korean soccer stadium in order to kill all of the politicians involve in national reunification efforts. During the ensuing investigation and pursuit, O.P. agent Yu discovers that his problems are much closer to home than anticipated. He eventually has to choose between love and country. How will he choose? Will the angry North Korean Special Forces have their way and launch a bloody revolution that reunites the Koreas under more “capable” leadership?
SHIRI may be an interesting study on political perception, but wading through the violence and gore is not worth it. Excessive violence makes this movie unacceptable.
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SUMMARY: SHIRI is a film about a rogue North Korean Special Forces team, and their female super-sniper, that robs South Korea of the volatile explosive, “CTX,” threatening to use it in the annihilation of most of the city in order to eliminate “corrupt politicians” meeting to discuss their countries’ reunification. Gory from the start, this political thriller is excessively violent.