‘Carter’ (2022) Review: Exhausting Action Sequences Ruins the Movie’s Quality

Jung Byung-gil’s Carter is a fast-paced, action movie that follows the titular character on a mission to save a kidnapped girl. Along with the movie’s head-spinning one-shot effects, the chaotic storyline and heavily choreographed action sequences make it an exhaustive watch. Byung-gil’s previous movies such as The Villainess also have fast-paced action sequences, but nothing about his latest feature is captivating. While the viewing experience is meant to be creative, the decision to make the movie into a one-shot effect worsens the quality.

The movie is set in the midst of an outbreak displaying violent tendencies and the growing conflict between North and South Korea, and Carter (Joo Woo) awakens in a bloody hotel with no memory. A faceless body feeds him information through an earpiece and lets him know that his life is in danger. With a device implanted inside his mouth, Carter listens to the voice instructing him to find the kidnapped girl named Ha-na (Kim Bo-min) and her father, Doctor Jung (Jung Jae-young), both of whom go missing during a transfer to North Korea. The doctor was supposed to further his research and find a cure for the violent outbreak in South Korea. Leaders from North and South Korea are working together to find a cure and end it altogether. Carter learns that his family is in danger too but he has no memory of his life. Due to the seriousness of the mission, he has no choice but to follow the mission.

One of the biggest issues of Carter is that it focuses more on action sequences than character development. The entire movie is one action sequence edited and blended, but it’s not executed properly. One-shot takes are not meant to show where the shot starts and ends. However, the effects make it obvious that it is just several shots edited into one action sequence. It moves from the bloody hotel room to a bathhouse to the bus and even more locations, and this continues in a disorienting manner and shows the lack of creativity.

The action sequences are even more bizarre. In a scene where Carter tries to escape a public bathhouse, he gets attacked by over 100 men. The camera zooms past the titular character, rotates and chases after him throughout the entire action sequence. The choreography is excellent, but it’s not enjoyable when viewers can barely comprehend what is happening on the screen. In another scene, to show how Byung-gil uses space in one-shot take effects, Carter tries to capture his assailants while jumping from a motorbike to a moving van and then attacking them inside that limited space. There isn’t much space for the action sequences to breathe in between and while technically, it shows great skill, the execution is far from perfect and exhausting.

Carter is a dizzying movie that shows violence with well-choreographed action sequences. However, these cinematic elements might not be perfect for home viewing, as it belongs to a bigger screen. The creative and stylistic decision to make this movie into a one-shot effect ruins the experience of watching what could have been a good action movie. Carter does focus on the importance of family, the state of technological advancements, and trying to figure out the main character’s place in all of this, but all of these elements are lost under the action sequences.

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