THE SHORT VERDICT:
Quite smartly written, but not quite so smartly paced, The Technicians might feel underwhelming for those looking for a zippy, jaunty caper movie.
Despite its relatively slow set-up and its consequently somewhat sluggish feel, though, Show boasts a cohesive narrative with heart, and it doesn’t even ever get too melodramatic while going about it either.
Add on a cast of likable main characters and a good dose of pretty (Woob! On my screen! Eee!!), and The Technicians is still a solidly entertaining watch.
THE LONG VERDICT:
With my big Woob love, you guys knew that I would check out The Technicians as soon I could get my eager little hands on it, right?
The Technicians, Criminal Designer, The Con Artists – this movie went through enough name changes to make it all a bit confusing, and maybe even make the film itself a little hard to hunt down.
Still, to mangle Shakespeare a little (or a lot, depending on where you’re coming from), this movie by any other name doth stay as appealing – as long as it serves me fresh Woob on my screen. 😉
So here’s the bottom line, in a nutshell.
I liked it.. but I would’ve liked it more, if the movie had done a couple of things slightly differently.
IN A HYPOTHETICAL DO-OVER, WHAT WOULD I WANT SHOW TO CHANGE?
1. A faster, tighter pace.
For a movie touted as a fun caper, this show actually felt quite slow, overall.
Perhaps it’s the dissonance between the expectations brought about by the fast-paced trailer, versus the actual, slower film experience that’s to blame.
I just kept waiting for it to speed up from a laid-back trot to a thrilling sprint, and it hardly did, although it did have a couple of better moments.
The pace wasn’t terrible, but I do think that tightening everything up, and moving things along a little faster, would’ve made this a more rousing watch.
2. A more concise narrative.
One thing that would’ve definitely helped to tighten up that pace, is a less indulgent, more succinct approach to the storytelling.
I liked that Show made efforts to set a solid context around our characters, and bothered to give our characters some backstory. I also think some of that could’ve been shaved down in order to get us to the main arena of our story faster and more efficiently.
3. A deeper sense of the relationships.
If Show had a chance to do it over, I’d want a stronger sense of the heart behind the relationships.
For one thing, I’d like to delve a little deeper into the bromantic bond between Ji Hyuk (Kim Woo Bin), Koo In (Ko Chang Seok) and Jong Bae (Lee Hyun Woo) – as a group, and in every possible permutation, as pairs.
The glue that bonds them together, and keeps them together, is something that I’d definitely like to have more insight into.
I also think this would’ve given our actors more room to shine. To be honest, even though I know that Woob dedicates himself deeply to every role, I found his capacity for emotional depth and resonance largely underused in this role.
The same goes for Lee Hyun Woo, whose potential for emotionally-rich delivery also went mostly untapped.
For another, I’d prefer to have a more definitive loveline, or none at all.
As it stands, the interactions between Ji Hyuk and Eun Ha (Jo Yoon Hee) occasionally hinted at something that leaned more romantic, but without a strong context to support it, I found myself unable to buy what Show kinda-sorta-sometimes appeared to be selling.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Story knows where it’s going.
For all its slightly sluggish pacing, this movie’s narrative always knew where it was going, and the deeper we got into the story, the more this showed. On top of that, it even served up some nice twists, which I thought were quite well done.
I especially appreciate the fact that on hindsight, more than a few scenes that had appeared throwaway, turned out to not be so random after all. I like that kind of well-mapped out, well-thought-out narrative.
2. The point of the story is grounded in heart, but doesn’t get too melo.
While The Thieves (2012) fared better than The Technicians in terms of its fun capery pacing in its first half, it’s The Technicians that does better, in terms of having a more cohesive tone throughout, and consistently keeping that tone from dipping into overly melodramatic territory.
I liked that in The Technicians, heart is built into Ji Hyuk’s motivations, which gave us a nice added layer of depth, without getting too melo about it.
3. Our main cast is likable.
Despite what I feel were missed opportunities in terms of giving our main cast room to shine, all 3 of our main “technicians” were likable.
Kim Woo Bin delivers nicely as our resident smirky, devil-may-care smarty-pants:
Lee Hyun Woo is likable and cute as our hacker maknae:
And Ko Chang Seok is lovable and often amusing, as our hapless and oh-so-loyal Ahjusshi engineer.
4. Im Joo Hwan is surprisingly badass.
Considering that Im Joo Hwan’s role is that of a relatively minor supporting character, the amount of quiet badassery he brought to the screen was a pleasant surprise indeed.
Strong, mostly silent, and yet impressively kickass, he reminded me of Kim Nam Gil’s role in Lovers (2007), where Kim Nam Gil played the strong silent right-hand man to Lee Seo Jin’s hot swoony gangster chief (Ahh.. memories).
Here’s a little bit more of that fierceness, just coz I think Im Joo Hwan looks cool.
5. Woob is Pretty.
Of course you guys knew this section was coming. You know me too well. 😉
Yes, I much prefer Woob’s hair in that movie poster up above (swoon, spazz, rinse, repeat), but I cannot deny that there was still lots of very agreeable Pretty to be had. My eyes; they did not complain.
So how could I pass up a chance to showcase the Woob Pretty, when Show served it up so readily, right?
Here, for the record, are some of the choicest, prettiest screenshots of Woob in the movie. And yes, that includes That Shower Scene.
While I don’t think that The Technicians quite lived up to its pre-release hype, it’s still a reasonably solid watch, in spite of its long (116 minutes!) running time.
And for the record, that’s not just because Woob’s in it either. 😉
THE FINAL VERDICT:
More mellow than jaunty, but still a solid, reasonably satisfying ride.
FINAL GRADE: B
I hv just watched The Technicians on DVD , Kfangurl , and I think I prefer Conman as its title than Technicians , overall it is entertaining. Woob is sweet, smart and handsome there 😉
Aw, great that you managed to enjoy this movie, djining!! 🙂 I felt like it definitely had its flaws, but I still liked it quite well in spite of said flaws. And it gave me Woob on my screen – I pretty much can’t complain about that. I mean, I even sat through all of Heirs and everything! XD
Hi, kfangurl! I watched this movie thanks to the link you mentioned above and I enjoyed the show. And KWB. I also read your review. and I want to say “Thank you!” for both. I have my own opinion regarding the movie, but I don’t think someone is interested. So, I’ll keep this for myself.
Anyway, I’m quite busy these days: I learn about translation and subtitling. I got more than 800 lines in five days and I really, really, really enjoy this. You’re probably asking yourself why am I telling you something like this. Because you always share all the pretty things you like with other people, that’s why I wanted to share my joy with you. Because I think of you as my friend from overseas and I know you have a special interest in foreign languages. I’m sure you’ll understand me. All the best!
Hi serena!! I’m glad you enjoyed this review, and yay that the movie link helped! 🙂 I also just want you to know that around here, everyone is welcome to share their opinions about the shows.. So if you feel like sharing about how you liked or didn’t like the show, you’re most welcome to do so – not only for this movie, but on other reviews of other shows too! Just wanted to make sure you know that! ^^
Also! You are so right, that I’m interested in languages (and also, that we’re friends 😉 ) How exciting, that you’re enjoying translation and subtitling work! May I ask what languages you’re working with, and how you got started with this new adventure? 🙂
Hi! Every replay from you makes me so happy! And I’m glad you ask me about my new hobby: I translate from English to Romanian (my native language).
About how I got started (this adventure, I mean): the Romanian team at viki was looking for new subbers, so they advertised it on fb. I sent a message and asked for more informations. That’s how I found out: for korean productions (wich I’m interested on) the translation is made from Korean to English and then from English to other languages. Silly me, I thought the translation was made from the original language to any other language! And I didn’t even know that all the people involved as translators, subbers and segmenters are volunteers! Actually, I never asked myself “How they made this?”. If I did it, maybe, I would figure it out earlier.
I’m just an apprentice, for the nonce, with only 1500 lines. I have lots of things to learn , especially about rules in subtitling. But I enjoy this experience a lot, it’s both interesting and fun. When I’ll be a part of an on-going project (a new drama), I’ll let you know.
But this is a page about KWB, it’s not about me, so I must say something about him: the movie was O.K., I enjoyed it, Woo Bin also. Untill now, it’s the first movie with KWB I watched. I’m waiting for the next one.
A few days ago, I saw him in some photos taken on an airport, probably Incheon, wearing black from head to toe and a brown jacket. I found him super handsome and sexy and I understood why you like him so much.
I wish you all the best!
P.S. I finished watching “Healer”.
Wow, that’s really cool, that you’re enjoying the subtitling journey as much as you are, serena!! I have very little experience with subtitling, having only ever dipped my toes in ever so slightly. I do know that it takes a lot of dedication and work, so kudos to you, for being so passionate about doing something for fellow Romanian fans!! Fighting~!! 😀
Yay that you see the Woob appeal <3 AND that you finished Healer! I plan to review it soon-ish; hope to exchange our thoughts on the show once that's done! 🙂