While not as good as the first movie, this is a solid thriller with plenty of gratuitous violence and a compelling story.
Believer 2 was commissioned by Netflix after the first film’s theatrical success in 2018. Directed by Baek Jong-yul, the gritty action movie premiered last month at the 28th Busan International Film Festival before dropping on the streaming platform. Several stars from the first film reprise their roles, including Cho Jin-woong and Cha Seung-won.
This film isn’t exactly a sequel, as it shows the events leading up to that final scene in Believer. The movie follows Detective Won-ho and Rak’s relentless pursuit of the mysterious Mr. Lee. It also introduces a new villain with a close connection to the elusive drug lord.
Believer 2 review and plot summary
Where the ending of Believer heavily implied that Rak was Mr. Lee all along, Believer 2 starts by quickly dismissing the theory. The first few scenes show Rak and his two deaf-mute chemists, Dong-Young and Joo-Young, putting together a plan to get to the real drug kingpin by stealing raw materials from a now worse-for-wear Brian to make more of the Laika drug.
The police captain is content letting the public believe that a captured Brian was Mr. Lee all along and orders Won-ho to back off the investigation. But Won-ho is convinced Rak is the elusive drug lord and will stop at nothing to bring him to justice.
Brian is back in the game despite his injuries after his lackeys broke him out of hospital. The first thing he does is arrange for the deranged Seob So-chen, aka Big Knife, who works closely with Mr. Lee, to travel from China and help him get revenge on Rak for his injuries.
Believer 2 is a fast-paced and delightfully gritty thriller where obsession meets the dangerous underbelly of the drug trade. However, the first film was excellent and had what can only be described as a perfectly ambiguous ending. I’m unsure why this sequel needed to happen.
The film does jump around a lot between locations and timelines, making it a bit confusing to follow. While watching, I had to pause and re-watch certain parts, which wasn’t ideal.
Why Believer 2 is worth watching on Netflix
The performances are solid, especially Oh Seung-hoon, who replaced Ryu Jun-yeol as Rak. He does a great job portraying the character’s complex motives for wanting to find the elusive Mr. Lee.
The movie also introduces the “real” Mr. Lee, played by Tzi Ma, who does not get enough screen time. Considering how much time these characters spend looking for him, by the time we get to the big reveal, it feels like an afterthought.
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Arguably, the best performance of the feature goes to Han Hyo-joo as the violently deranged Big Knife with a penchant for decapitation. While the film never delves too deep into her character, Hyo-joo’s portrayal is unsettling and terrifying.
Like its predecessor, the film offers plenty of gratuitous violence while adding layers and twists to its story. The fight scenes look perfectly choreographed and there’s enough gore included to make the most hardened horror fans squirm. It may not be as good as the first movie, but it’s still a highly entertaining watch.
What did you think of Believer 2? Comment below.
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