Fantasia 2016: The Phantom Detective

A private detective tries to solve a case, accompanied by the grandchildren of his rival in The Phantom Detective. Hong Gil-dong (Lee Je-Hoon) is a private detective, who has spent years tracking down Kim Byeong-Duk (Park Geun-Hyung), the man who killed his mother. However, Hong arrives to find the Kim has been kidnapped, leaving behind his two young grandchildren Dong-Yi (Roh Jeong-Eui) and Mal-Soon (Kim Ha-Na). Hong continues his search with the kids in town, with the investigation leading him to a secret society lead by corrupt cop Kang Sung-Il (Kim Sung-Kyun).

Directed by Jo Sung-hee (A Werewolf Boy), The Phantom Detective is an adventure that combines a hard boiled detective story with both comedy and modern action. At the centre of the story is Hong Gil-dong, a member of the HBD Agency, who has little memory of his past. Hong exists completely off the grid, as he searches for the “one eyed man” Kim Byeong-Duk, who killed Hong’s mother. However, Kim turns out to be only a small piece of a much larger conspiracy.

Probably the biggest joy that comes from watching The Phantom Detective is watching Hong Gil-dong’s reluctant interactions with Kim Byeong-Duk’s two grandchildren, particularly the youngest Mal-Soon, who is always speaking exactly what is on her mind. The Phantom Detective is a highly entertaining mystery/action hybrid, with some very enjoyable twists and turns. This film is quite recommended.

8 / 10 stars
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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).