The Negotiation: Korean Movie Review

As I was watching Crash Landing on You, I became curious to see Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin’s first collaboration, a film called The Negotiation to see how well they jived together in the movie to generate this muvh chemistry in the drama. Unfortunately, I was more frustrated than impressed ny how this film turned out.

Synopsis: A Korean arms dealer identified as Min Tae Gu (Hyun Bin) takes an undercover journalist and a police officer hostage in Thailand. Inspector Ha Chae Yoon (Son Ye Jin)  is tapped as the chief negotiator shortly after her failed negotiation attempt that led to the death of a Korean couple several days earlier.

The Negotiation had a good premise. They introduce a main villain who terrorizes an entire situation room full of military, intelligence and police officers for a mysterious reason and systematically reveals the details of his vendetta.

To a point, I can relate with Chae Yoon’s character as she is treated like a pawn and asked to do complicated things without being told the reason behind it. I got that the film was trying to project her as a strong female career woman struggling in a mam’s world.

The problem was the film really sunk her character from the beginning. Tae Gu nailed it when he said Chae Yoon was a horrible negotiator because she was too passionate and a terrible liar. He was totally on point. Chae Yoon could not keep her cool to save her own life. She looked and sounded fake when she was lying and she had very very poor response to a crisis situation. Case in point, she was supposed to advise the newspaper owner what to do when he was asked a question by the hostage taker and instead of feeding him the answer, she panicked and barged into the screen.

That was only the tip of the iceberg for this poor excuse of a hostage negotiator. She tries to act cool but fails to back up her confident air. And what the hell? Her two man team of negotiating support are even better hackers than the combined powers of the police force and the NIS?

Believe it or not, I was rooting for the hostage takers the whole time. Hyun Bin tried his best to be an utter and menacing villain but his knowing smile kind of gave away the ace up his sleeve. From the beginning, it appeared that he had more hidden cards than he let on. And that was why he remained one step ahead throughout the entire movie.

I appreciated the fact that the film wanted to add layers to the story but they took their sweet time with the reveal. They could have done better to step up the revelation rather than focus on Chae Yoon’s work struggles. It truly presented an incompetent image of the police force overall.

There was a great interaction between Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin in the lone scene they had together but I must say for the record that I was Team Hyun Bin all the way because he seemed like the only character who used his brain throughout the movie. Special shoutout to that particular scene too because it really showed off the range and depth of acting of these two veterans. 

The film tried to introduce a character who seemed like a monster only to reveal that there were bigger monsters at work than the film’s flawed antagonist. It was a logical ending but I would have wanted the bad guys to outsmart the bumbling good guys in this instance ala Money Heist, for a change. After all they’ve been through, I believe they deserved it.