Special Delivery Review – 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival

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I’m a sucker for the illegal courier service in movies. They’re set up for quick thinking, faster driving, and adrenaline-pumping chases. On these fronts, Special delivery, well, book. Directed and written by Park Dae-min, Special delivery cleverly brings together the best parts of car-based action movies with a genre-opening main character.

If you’re in South Korea and need a package from place to place, human or otherwise, you turn to Jang Eun-ha (Park So-dam) and his sketchy boss Baek (Kim Eui -sung). On the fringes of Baek’s junkyard business, he negotiates special deliveries – anything, anywhere, anyhow. Getting there is the task of Jang, an ace pilot. When a former baseball player finds himself in hot water with gangsters, she finds herself with her son Seo-won (Jung Hyun-jun) in his car. The problem? The kid also has the key to a corrupt cop’s illicit funds in his pocket and a swarm of murderous goons are hunting him down.

As Jang, Park So-dam becomes the kind of person with the skill and tenacity to see a moving train blocking the track and immediately attempt a route around it, even on the tracks. She knows how her car moves, how she hugs the street, and how to annoy those around her. Stoic out of habit, her shiny hair and even brighter apartment offer a glimpse of a woman who isn’t as cold as she likes to appear. As the film continues and she spends more time with her young passenger, she begins to soften towards him, caring more about his happiness and safety than the job.

Jang is a role often reserved for men. Not just because of the driving, but because the action loves pairing chilly tracks with kids to watch them open up – while wreaking a lot of havoc along the way. Like Jang, Park So-dam is perfection. She’s smart, efficient, and damn good at what she does. Acting against an all-male cast, Jang never backs down in their presence, letting her drive most of the conversation and keeping to herself while going toe-to-toe if she has to. Their growing connection has heart and helps give this action movie an emotional core to revolve around.

Additionally, while Park is able to carry the film, Special deliveries the extended cast is filled with memorable characters with standout personalities. For his part, Seo-won never feels pressured to become an adult. Instead, he interacts with the world with childlike fear and curiosity that reward viewers of the film’s third act with emotional reward. Additionally, Baek is the reluctant but kind eldest, Asif is the cheery best friend and memorable presence (Han Hyun-min), and Jo Kyung-Pil (Song Sae-Byeok) is the absolutely despicable villain. All put together a film that fires on all cylinders and is nearly flawless.

But while the characters stand out, the scenes they inhabit are each planned with a specificity that ensures that every shot of a car chase, every moment of a fight, and every actor in the setting makes an on-screen impact. Excellent in every way, the car chases are backed by an 80s synth, and the action moments designed to accommodate the differences in size of the fighters help bring everything to life.

From beginning to end, Special delivery is an adrenaline-pumping action fun with a shiny core that sets him apart from other sleazy adults and finds a kid exposing his heart of golden deals. Park So-dam is a star. While we all know she has the dramatic flair of her past films, she absolutely fills that action role in a dynamic way that makes us want to see more of her.

Special delivery was screened at the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival.

Special delivery

9/10

TL;DR

From beginning to end, Special delivery is an adrenaline-pumping action fun with a shiny core that sets him apart from other sleazy adults and finds a kid exposing his heart of golden deals. Park So-dam is a star. While we all know she has the dramatic flair of her past films, she absolutely fills that action role in a dynamic way that makes us want to see more of her.

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