‘Carter’ Finds an Enormous Divide Between Ambition and Execution

And you thought you’d seen the worst of what a Netflix Original motion film may ship.


By Rob Hunter · Published on August fifth, 2022

Anticipation is a double-edged sword. It’s good to stay up for one thing and have that pleasure construct earlier than being rewarded with a superb time. But hoo boy does it suck when that pleasure bites you within the ass with an inexplicably horrible movie from abilities you’ve seen achieve this significantly better. Writer/director Jung Byung-gil has earned all of the goodwill in a short while with simply three options. His 2008 debut, Action Boys, is a enjoyable documentary about wannabe stuntmen, 2012’s Confession of Murder is a wildly entertaining motion/thriller with a darkly comedic edge, and 2017’s The Villainess stays one of many final decade’s greatest and most creative motion movies. You’d have all the rationale on the earth to anticipate rather a lot from his newest, however Carter is as an alternative an aggressively in-your-face mess of digital fuckenings and untapped potential.

A person (Joo Won) wakes up in a elaborate condominium sporting solely his briefs and finds a number of Westerners with weapons pointed at his face. They ask questions that he can’t reply — his reminiscence is gone, and he doesn’t even know why there’s a recent surgical procedure scar on the again of his head — however issues develop much more complicated when a voice inside his head tells him his identify is Carter and he ought to soar out the window if he needs to reside. The leap lands him in a gangster-filled bathhouse, and the struggle for his life begins.

The plot appears as acquainted as they arrive — a extremely skilled fighter, both a retiree or an amnesiac, is focused by different assassins and should struggle his approach to the reality — however Carter provides an additional twist suggesting one thing recent is within the offing. A virus is popping folks into bald, animalistic killers (perhaps take this chance to go watch Jeff Lieberman’s 1977 oddity, Blue Sunshine) and we get a pair cool horror-lite sequences right here in consequence (together with the movie’s greatest visible exhibiting a post-crash waterfall). That surprising style factor, although, as with practically the entire motion in Carter, is often negated by Jung’s unhinged and visually unappealing method to capturing all of it in a fake one-shot “enhanced” by nonstop digital trickery.

The digicam nearly by no means stops shifting, with even static scenes glimpsed via a view that bobs and weaves like a drunk asshole in search of his automobile in a Chili’s parking zone. The precise motion scenes up the ante of their awfulness by slamming the digicam round, over, beneath, or via the carnage. What’s the issue you’re saying, Michael Bay flew drones beneath exploding automobiles and you really liked it! Well that’s as a result of Bay and his crew knew what the fuck they had been doing and captured the motion with out shedding sight of both the visible enchantment or the geography. Jung is able to such issues, however he reveals no curiosity right here and as an alternative crafts a number of the ugliest motion sequences to ever grace the display screen.

Digital cuts abound with zero effort to cover them, wirework is erased however nonetheless seen within the motion, and beats that ought to thrill as an alternative annoy as we zoom in and out to “complete” the phantasm of a single take. A zipper line between rooftops is a large number of CG and poorly stitched collectively edits. A struggle in a shifting truck with two enemy vans on both aspect teases chance, however the weak CG exteriors do nothing to persuade there’s really any motion in any respect leading to extra ugly antics. Jung even repeats himself with this identical gag later solely with a prepare as the center participant within the Chinese finger trap-like set-piece. A chase on a Papa John’s supply bike suggests enjoyable however is so clearly stitched collectively from forty totally different photographs that we lose all sense of momentum. Most of the doorways Carter strikes via reveal a visual, digital swap to a unique location on the opposite aspect.

This form of wild, go-for-broke, nonsense action-cinematography isn’t new, and in the precise palms (or with the precise intentions) it may possibly ship a enjoyable and/or competent time. Think some entries in Tsui Hark’s filmography or one-offs like Michael Davis’ Shoot ‘Em Up (2007) and Ilya Naishuller’s Hardcore Henry (2015) — the ultimate product may not be all that good on the entire, however irrespective of how loopy issues get there’s a movie literacy and tactile really feel to the motion photographs. Jung himself has beforehand proven an eye for such issues whereas nonetheless delivering banger films, but it surely appears he could have taken reward for The Villainess‘ prolonged one-shots and superbly chaotic motorbike struggle and come out the opposite finish with the flawed message. Why do higher when you’ll be able to simply do extra?

What’s most irritating with Carter is that the bones of legitimately cool set-pieces and expert motion performers/stunts are clearly seen beneath the noise. Step again from the bathhouse sequence and it’s each an uncommon locale and a visually fascinating one as steam, tattoo ink, and blood coil and spill throughout bare our bodies in violent movement. You instinctively know there are some thrilling struggle strikes unfolding earlier than you, however the jerky digicam motions — some bodily, others manufactured in submit — and butt-ugly digital cuts wash all of the expertise away. The stunt performers have clearly executed the work coming into this with Won himself exhibiting off a memorable bodily presence trapped in a one-dimensional expertise.

Carter performs out like online game — Carter is the participant shifting from motion to exposition then again to motion — however its frenetic and nonsensical execution leaves it feeling even much less of an accomplishment than one thing like Doom (2005). And Doom is trash! Our hero dispatches lots of of anonymous baddies whereas taking minimal injury himself. A giant set-piece involving a prepare and a number of helicopters needs to be cool (and most undoubtedly sounds cool on the web page), however the lethal severe but horrendously cartoonish approach it’s offered simply crashes and burns.

Ugh. Jung’s ambition appears considerably clear, however whether or not it’s as a consequence of budgetary restraints or the restrict of his personal skill-sets, Carter is a large misfire. A one-shot film the place the longest precise single shot is perhaps thirty seconds? Ugly digital work turning each motion scene right into a jumble of nothing? But hey, no less thanCamilla Belle discovered a fast gig whereas apparently vacationing in South Korea? I don’t know, it’s unclear. In the curiosity of going out on a notice of positivity, although, the ultimate shot within the movie is absolute aces, and Jung can solely return up from right here.

Related Topics: Netflix

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since earlier than you had been born, which is bizarre seeing as he is so rattling younger. He’s our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists ‘Broadcast News’ as his favourite movie of all time. Feel free to say hello if you happen to see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.


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