Killing the Target

"...KT could be described as Korea's answer to Thirteen Days"

- Equinox21

Killing the Target (2002)


Director: Junji Sakamoto

Screenplay: Haruhiko Arai, Eisuke Nakazono

Producer: Yukiko Shii

Cast: Choi Il-Hwa, Koichi Sato, Kim Gap-Su (Kim Kap-Su), Kim Byeong-Se, Akira Emoto, Kyoko Enami, Yoshio Harada, Riju Go

Running Time: 138 min.

Plot: In 1973, Kim Dae-jung was a strong opposition leader against then-president Park Chung-hee. KT is based on the actual 1973 abduction of Kim Dae-Jung from a Tokyo hotel where he was living.

Availability: This title is available at


EQUINOX21'S REVIEW: Killing the Target is (more or less) based on the true story of events that took place in Japan and Korea in 1973, in which future Korean President Kim Dae-jung (KT, as then-President Park dubbed him) is kidnapped by the KCIA. The movie is over 2 hours long of slow-moving, back room antics showing conspirators plotting the kidnapping and assassination of KT. I wouldn't go quite so far as to say the movie was boring, but it was neither action packed nor very exciting· but it was interesting.

In 1971, Kim Dae-jung ran against incumbent President Park Chung Hee in South Korea's presidential election. Park narrowly won, and continued instituting actions becoming of a dictator. There were a number of attempts on Kim's (now considered a political enemy) life (including one shown near the beginning of the movie where a heavy truck ran into his car, injuring him and leaving him with a permanent limp). Soon after, Park declared martial law, thus forcing Kim to leave the country and spend his time in Japan and the US fighting for freedom from a growing dictatorship in South Korea. It was in Tokyo that he was eventually kidnapped by the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.  Basically, it's all but impossible to simply describe the plot for a review of this movie, as the entire movie IS about the events leading up to Kim's kidnapping.

As stated earlier, it's very slow moving. There's not a lot of music, either, so I really can't comment on that. The acting was pretty good, throughout; though, there were TONS of characters to keep track of (thankfully, as new characters are introduced, their names and titles are displayed in subtitles so the viewers can figure out who is who). Thankfully, all the important characters are given ample screen time, so remembering them generally shouldn't be a problem.

Overall, I'd like to recommend this movie, but it would probably not be very interesting to anyone not interested in political thrillers or historical stories (think JFK or Thirteen Days, in fact, I think KT could be described as Korea's answer to Thirteen Days).  Not a bad movie, but I think it would have more of an impact on Korean viewers.