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Carter (2022): Movie Review & Ending Explained

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Netflix’s latest offering in the array of their many action-adventure productions, ‘Carter’, directed by Byung-gil Jung, is viscerally violent in its action. Sadly for the Korean film, it is equally violent in its visual aesthetics. Even for the more lenient fans of the action genre, which I consider myself as one, the film becomes the opposite of what it intended to be. Jarring and incoherent execution of high ambition makes the film exhaustive, not engrossing. The film’s flimsy excuse of a story could not be compensated by the relentless hammering of action sequences that provide very little thrills.




Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:

Carter starts off with a setting that is both familiar and conducive for its intention to go into a frenzy of actions. A virus has spread all over the world that makes the infected act with extreme violence. The infected are not exactly becoming zombies. They are shown to be able to use weapons as well. The cure of the DMZ virus (called such because it is deemed to be originated from the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a strip of land between the borders of North and South Korea) is invented by Dr. Jung, a South Korean doctor, who has cured his daughter, Ha-na. South Korea has become virus free. But, with an unprecedented liaison between North and South, Dr. Jung is asked to travel to North Korea to help them battle the Virus.

However, he goes missing. The only link is a video where an almost naked man tells and shows that he has taken Dr. Jung. This man is Carter (Joo Won). A team of CIA agents locates the location by tracing the video link and finds Carter alone, fast asleep, and covered in Blood. As Carter wakes up he cannot recall his memories, not even the recent one of kidnapping Dr. Jung or making the video. However, he quickly finds a voice giving him instructions through a chip planted inside his head.




The female voice inside Carter’s head introduces herself as Jung-Hee (Jeong So-Ri). She first guides him to escape the gang of CIA agents. This starts the madness of the film involving chase sequences and a plethora of fights. Jung-Hee tells Carter he has a daughter who is infected, and the only chance of her survival is Carter’s completion of the mission. The mission being rescuing Ha-Na from the clutches of the CIA.

Which Carter does, after many, many tiresome exchanges of blows. The next task is to get Ha-Na back to North Korea, where Dr. Jung is working to mass-produce the antidote. Ha-Na, being the only cured person, is key to developing that. However, the CIA is not going to make that job easy. Add to that the rumors of a coup within the North Korean ranks. After a series of fights and jumping from flights, chasing on motorbikes, and escaping infected; Carter and Ha-Na finally reaches their destination where they are greeted by Jung-Hee.




Carter Movie Review:

Director Byung-gil Jung’s last action venture ‘The Villainess’ traveled and garnered acclaim through a couple of festival circuits including Rotterdam and Fantasia. The international recognition brought Byung-gil an opportunity to go absolutely bonkers with Netflix-backed ‘Carter’. Sadly, the ambition to make a relentless action and violence-filled thriller, shot in one take, does not materialize as well as ‘Carter’ had hoped for.

The simplistic premise of the film provides Byung-gil to aim high, and aim high he does. ‘Carter’ is a film that tries to mimic the video game experience with a faux single-take format. However neither does it provide the immersive experience of a video game, nor does it achieve the excellence of such one take adventures, for instance, something akin to Sam Mendes’ “1917”. Byung-gil falls into the trap of repetitions without innovation. The repetitive action sequences work in a video game due to the vicarious enjoyment of the player. It does not work similarly without a joystick in audiences’ hands.




The unfortunate part is the earnestness of the efforts can be seen. From the actors, from the stunt department, the action choreographer, and from the cinematographer. There are some excellently thought out sequences. However, the pitfalls of generic filler shots weighed all of the excellence down. The commitment to the one-take treatment perhaps tied the hands of the editor. The result is a flurry of seemingly generic action sequences, which was not perhaps intended.

Talking about being generic, the story did not help either. However, that should not have been a problem if the experience was different. Something that the John Wick series did excellently. Rising above the scope of the story with meticulously crafted action sequences that would be a visual treat for the audience. ‘Carter’ falls way short of that.

Carter (2022) Movie Review Ending Explained (1)
@Netflix

Carter Movie Ending Explained: Who created the Virus?

After Carter delivers Ha-Na to Jung-Hee and her superior, a North Korean general name Kim Jong Hyeok. Kim quickly betrays Jung-Hee and Carter and takes Ha-Na away from them. He reveals to be the leader of the coup that wants to topple the existing North Korean regime. The coup planned the virus outbreak. As Kim orders his soldiers to take Carter away, he asks Jung-Hee to join him in his scheme. Meanwhile, Carter escapes, again. This time, from the clutches of Kim’s soldiers.




What is the relation between Carter and Jung-Hee?

Carter follows Kim and Jung-Hee to the headquarters of the rebel group, where Dr. Jung and Carter’s infected daughter are staying. It is revealed that Jung-Hee is Carter’s wife. Carter came to North Korea as a spy and fell in love with Jung-Hee, an officer in the North Korean army. The daughter is theirs. After a massive fight involving Kim’s soldiers and the prisoned infected patients, the Carter family, Dr. Jung and Ha-Na escape the headquarters on a jeep.

Jung-Hee and Dr.Jung get Carter his memory back and he remembers that it was him who suggested to Kim to fetch Dr. Jung. In order to get Kim to give Carter and his family their freedom back and allow them to leave.




Is Carter actually Michael Bane?

The CIA told Carter, before he got his memories back, that he is actually a US citizen, who emigrated from South Korea when he was eleven. He has studied in the US and served in US Army. He used to go by the name Michael Bane and he probably has undergone plastic surgery.

One of the CIA agents, Agnes (Camilla Belle) helps Carter escape during a chase with the CIA. Agnes and Michael probably used to be lovers or at least friends.




The cliff-hanger ending: What will happen to Carter and his family? The inevitability of a sequel:

In the end, after the final chase and fight, Carter, Jung-Hee, and their daughter leave North Korea on a train, with Dr. Jung and Ha-Na. Dr. Jung administers the antidote to Carter’s daughter and she is cured. However, a drone shot reveals that as the train is crossing a bridge, a bomb blast occurs. Making the train head for a fall. And the film ends in that cliffhanger.

It is obvious that there would be a sequel that would address that. Also, the fate of Agnes is unknown as she was shown to be shot but taken into an ambulance. The past life of Carter, especially what he did for the US provides scope for a prequel too. The story of his and Jung-Hee’s relationship is another avenue to explore. As a result, it seems inevitable that “Carter” is heading to become a franchise. We could only hope that the future installment would be an improvement over this one.

Read More: 7 Films to watch if you like Carter on Netflix

Trailer

Carter (2022) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Carter (2022) Movie Cast – Joo Won, Kim Bo-Min, Sung-Jae Lee, Camilla Belle, Mike Colter
Where to watch Carter

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