"The Fatal Encounter" transcends the period genre to embrace gritty action. “The Fatal Encounter” can best be described as a hybrid of Korean film genres.While it is a period film, “The Fatal Encounter” is populated with intricate action sequences and bloody death scenes worthy of Korean film noir.With that said, many female audiences who came to the film for the attractive male leads Hyun Bin and Jung Jae Young, may leave questioning the degree of violence that is depicted.
There is beauty within the sequences that could be considered the most violent.Sword fighting and close combat contain an intimacy that is stripped from films which are set in modern times.“The Fatal Encounter” juxtaposes the ostentatious sensibility of the palace grounds with gritty mud pits where small children are trained as assassins through the most inhumane techniques.The depictions of the horrors that befall these children are a necessary plot device which sets the stage for the climax of the film.
Hyun Bin solemnly portrays the ill-fated King Jeongjo. “The Fatal Encounter” stars Hyun Bin in his first acting role since serving in the Korean military.Hyun Bin is visually arresting as he makes the transformation into King Jeongjo, an astute leader who dodged numerous assassination attempts.King Jeongjo was the twenty-second leader in the Joseon Period, with “The Fatal Encounter” detailing events surrounding an actual assassination attempt.“The Fatal Encounter” opens with an eye candy scene of King Jeongjo stretching, which provides context to the degree which military service has provided physical benefits for Hyun Bin.
Jung Jae Young presents a heart-wrenching performance as the eunuch Sang Chaek. Jung Jae Young, who most recently led the dark thriller “Broken”, is Sang Chaek.Sang Chaek operates within the palace under the guise of a royal eunuch. He is fiercely loyal to King Jeongjo, although circumstances would indicate otherwise.
Actor Jo Jung Suk portrays Sal Soo, a terrifying assassin who is dispersed to kill King Jeongjo, after others have failed.Sal Soo has a reputation for efficiency, however, he is compromised by his love for the female court servant, Wol Hye (Jung Eun Chae).
“The Fatal Encounter” provides commentary on strong male friendships, as well as the socioeconomic disparity between those who were within the palace and ordinary Korean citizens during the Joseon Period.While friendships are highlighted, the only strong romantic plot is between Sal Soo and Wol Hye.This does not detract from “The Fatal Encounter”, but allows the film to extend past the primarily female audience that Hyun Bin would normally reach outside of Korea.
"The Fatal Encounter" is currently screening throughout the United States.