His Arnie-starring 2013 Hollywood debut ‘The Last Stand’ was a bit of a misfire, so Korean action master Kim Jee-woon (‘I Saw the Devil’) has returned both to his home turf and to his favourite subject: morally compromised men shooting at each other in spectacular slow motion. Set in the 1930s during the Japanese occupation of Korea, ‘The Age of Shadows’ follows an embittered cop (played by ‘The Host’ star Song Kang-ho) whose investigation into a Seoul-based rebel cell makes him nostalgic for his own revolutionary past.
Packed with switchbacks, double-crosses and rather too many characters to keep track of, the film can feel frustratingly busy. But when the talking stops and the guns come out, Jee-woon’s true talents are revealed. From a showstopping opening chase across the rooftops of Seoul to a blood-spurting massacre at a train station, the action is fast, gorgeous and thrilling.