• Bereurlin / The Berlin File (2013) - Nothing more than a good average international conspiracy action-thriller - 7/10 (28/03/14)

    Bereurlin / The Berlin File (2013)

    "The Berlin File" is a South Korean version of action-thrillers with conspiracy and spy elements and twists in the key of "The Bourne Identity". The entire movie takes place in the German capital Berlin which gives the whole thing a more international flair even though some parts were clearly filmed in Latvia's capital Riga which feels a little bit goofy.

    The strongest points of the movie are the action scenes and in particular the brutal hand to hand combats. The special effects are also decent. The fast paced fighting sequences, the intriguing locations and the overall rather dark atmosphere of the movie quickly get you hooked.

    The acting is of an average quality. While the actors are good, the characters lack depth due to an average script quality. My favourite character is the evil North Korean agent because he really incarnates an unpredictable psycho that has a unique way to act and talk. The two main characters including a loyal North Korean agent and a rather straight South Korean agent are rather faceless on the other side.

    The weakest part of the movie is the conspiracy plot. The first thirty minutes of the film are pretty much confusing and introduce us to too many random different characters and stereotypical organizations: snobbish CIA agents, corrupt German politicians, brutal and closed- minded Islamist terrorists, intimidating Mossad agents, emotionless, loyal and silent on one side and loyal and pitiless North Korean agents on the other, bitter anti-communist agents from South Korea, Russian arms dealers and so on. The high amount of characters hides the fact that there isn't all too much going on concerning the story itself. The first half of the movie seems really promising but especially the last forty-five minutes are rather weak and mix overlong chasing and shooting scenes with wooden tearjerker moments.

    In the last five minutes, the movie pulls out a twist like a rabbit out of a hat. Usually, I like twisted endings and especially the South Korean cinema has come around with some promising closures in the past. This one here feels pretty much constructed though and only seems to be there to give some room for a possible sequel. I hope South Korea won't go this stretched Hollywood way. 


    In the end, I expected a much more original and twisted conspiracy thriller from a country that has come around with the world's most innovating movies in the past fifteen years. "The Berlin File" is though only a good average to good action-thriller that can't mess with the status of the James Bond or Jason Bourne series. The clash between North and South Korean agents has been portrayed in more detailed and convincing ways in movies such as "Shiri", "Joint Security Area" and "Typhoon" for example. These three films are all above the quality of this one. I would still recommend this movie to faithful fans of international action-thrillers but this film had the potential to be much more than just easy entertainment. My final rating would be situated somewhere between six and seven points. 

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