Debuting helmer and co-writer Huh Jong-ho’s “Countdown” tries to make a virtue of the presence of two of South Korea’s top actors, Jeon Do-yeon (“Secret Sunshine”) and Jeong Jae-young (“Welcome to Dongmakgol”), but a story crowded with implausible developments involving their respective characters — a high-style con artist and a dogged debt collection agent — makes for a busy movie but not an especially entertaining one. Names will help open the pic for impending local release, and Asian-themed fests are likely bookers.Tae Gun-ho (Jeong) literally climbs the sides of office buildings to make sure his targeted debtors pay up, but he’s faced with his own mortality when he learns he has liver cancer and must find a replacement organ in two weeks. Since his late, Down-syndrome son — whose tragic death he’s blocked from his guilty consciousness — has donated his organs, Tae looks to this donor bank for a liver match, leading to a fateful encounter with scam artist Cha Ha-yeon (Jeon), getting her prison release. She’s nothing but trouble, drawing Tae into an absurdly staged set of faceoffs with her various enemies.
A SidusFNH (in South Korea) release of a SidusFNH/New presentation of a Bom Film Prods. production. (International sales: Bom/People in Communications, Seoul.) Produced by Oh Jung-wan. Executive producers, Kang In-sik, Kim Woo-taek, Cho Kwang-hee. Directed by Huh Jong-ho. Screenplay, Huh, Lee Hyung-sok.
Camera (color, widescreen), Kim Tae-kyung; editor, Shin Min-kyung; music, Jang Young-kyu, Dalpalan; production designer, Yang Hong-sam. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentations), Sept. 12, 2011. Running time: 119 MIN.
Jeong Jae-young, Jeon Do-yeon, Tae Gun-ho, Cha Ha-yeon.