Where better to stage a tense standoff between a North Korean national hero (Ha Jung-woo) and his pregnant wife (Gianna Jun), a South Korean intelligence operative (Han Suk-kyu) and a ruthless Communist fixer (Ryu Seung-beom) than Germany’s former epicenter of Cold War espionage? Filmmaker Ryoo Seung-wan (Crying Fist) has distinguished himself as a creator of slick, Hollywood-lite blockbusters full of quick cuts and itchy trigger-fingers. he’s more comfortable with choreographing carnage than maintaining a cloak-and-dagger narrative, which makes everything here, except the action scenes, feel sluggish and rote. Though the director includes a few brief humdingers—a fight that involves a Rube Goldberg–ish tangle of wires; some munitions-fueled mayhem in a farmhouse—it’s not enough to keep viewers from wishing they were thumbing through a John le Carré novel instead.
Follow David Fear on Twitter: @davidlfear