If there’s one country that has seen an incredible appetite grow for its cinema of late, it’s South Korea. It’s varied output has received much acclaim, for films such as 2016’s Train to Busan and The Handmaiden, 2018’s The Spy Gone North, and pretty much anything by Bong Joon-ho, director of such titles as 2006’s The Host, 2009’s Mother and the history-making Parasite, which became the first non-English feature to win the Best Picture Oscar in 2019.

Not bad for a country about the size of the U.S state of Indiana.

Another one to add to the ever-growing list is Jung Byung-gil’s action epic Carter.

boom reviews Carter
If I put my foot down, we can get to Mickey D's before breakfast ends.

Waking up in a hotel room with just his pants on is Carter Lee (Joo Won). He soon notices that his memory is a blur, and although normally a sign of a good night out before, it’s more serious than that. Carter has had his memory removed, and as he’s soon joined by a room full of agents trying to kill him, the timing isn’t great.

He’s not alone though, as he has a voiced in his head telling him what to do. And it’s not as if he has a choice, because they have his daughter – of course he’s only finding that out now – and she’s been injected with the deadly DMZ virus that is sweeping the nation, turning all that have it into rabid like zombies in about thirteen days of getting it.

He’s given a mission: a key to killing the virus is in the blood of the daughter of a scientist; retrieve the daughter and save his own. Simple. If only it were, as Carter soon faces a myriad of challenges that seem almost insurmountable, but he has to do what it takes if he wants to see his daughter alive again.

boom reviews Carter
Listen mate, my Oyster card is working!!!

There are some films that claim to be action films, but have no more than two or three scenes that might be mildly energetic, and that’s it. Not so Carter, with the pace setting off from the opening scenes, and very rarely slowing down, director Jung Byung-gil’s film almost completely redefines the action genre. So much so that it makes a Bond flick feel like an episode of the eighties The A—Team by comparison.

It is all wildly O-T-T and entertaining, as the film is in constant motion, much of it involving planes, trains and automobiles. There’s even one scene that must win the prize for the biggest fight scene ever with everyone in their pants.

This constant movement with such a kinetic camera comes at a price though; at no point does it feel as if a tripod was used with a camera, which may leave some suffering from a kind of motion sickness.

It’s just as well there’s so much action though, as good luck trying to get your head around the story. It’s pure, head-scratching material, that involves the north, and the CIA, and other groups, all out for a power grab. Just concentrate on the scientist’s daughter, and you’ll be fine.

There could be an argument made for their being too much action, in that an audience may suffer fatigue with an onslaught of action at breakneck speed. But with so many outrageously implausible set pieces, you can’t help but just soak it all in and marvel at how mental it all is.

It’s not clear what they’re putting in the water in South Korea – as long as it isn’t DMZ – but their film industry certainly appears to be benefitting from it.

Literally bursting at the seams with breath-taking set pieces, Carter is destined to be your next must-see cult classic.

we give this four out of five