Special Delivery (AKA Special Cargo), which recently made its North American debut at Fantasia, could best be described as a female-fronted cross between The Transporter and Leon the Professional. Eun-ha (So-dam Park, Parasite, The Silenced) is a courier working for Baek (Kim Eui-Sung, Train to Busan, Rampant) whose scrap yard is a front for a service delivering “anything the post office will not”.
That includes Kim Du-Sik (Yeon Woo-Jin, The Princess and the Matchmaker, Undercover) a former baseball player caught in a gambling scandal and trying to dodge the mob and the police. But when the mob gets to him before she can Eun-ha finds herself with his young son Seo-won (Jung Hyun-jun, Parasite, Beyond Evil) and a key fob that unlocks a $30,000,000 bank account in her car. She also has an army of goons led by corrupt cop Jo Kyung-Pil (Song Sae-Byeok, Night of 7 Years, Sector 7) who will do anything to get it back on her trail.
Writer/director Park Dae-min (Private Eye, Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River) opens the film with a wild chase that shows just how good of a driver she is before setting up the plot and introducing us to her mechanic Asif (Han Hyun-min, Hip Hop King, So Not Worth It) and her cat, Chubby. And it’s those scenes with her feline friend that are our first indication that she’s not as hard-bitten as she appears, and makes her decision not to abandon the boy to his fate more believable.
For what is, at its heart, a straightforward action film Special Delivery does have a fairly deep emotional core. There’s the expected scene where Seo-won sees the news of his father’s murder on TV and the attempt to find his mother, and its bruising results. But also the hints of what lies in Eun-ha’s past and the way the relationship between her and the boy is developed. It’s a much more realistic depiction than in something like 9 Bullets.
While that adds a nice depth to the story, it’s the action that is Special Delivery’s selling point and it more than delivers the goods. The opening chase not only manages to find a way to make parking a car nerve-racking it features a scene involving a train that I wondered how they were going to top.
Rest assured they do, but it takes a parking garage, a flying car door, and a sprinkler system to accomplish the feat. I should also add that most of the driving scenes look like they were pulled off with an excellent stunt crew rather than an excellent CGI department which makes for a refreshing change.
Apart from the road work, Special Delivery has plenty of gunfights and fistfights culminating in a wild brawl that involves everything from shotguns to nailguns and a forklift. It may not be as flashy and intricately choreographed as something like The Villainess or as over the top as The Roundup, but it more than makes up for it in terms of brutality and impact.
Special Delivery is an above-average film with well-developed characters as well as plenty of action of both the four-wheeled and two-fisted varieties. It’s also nice to see a Korean action film with a female lead as that’s something of a rarity, though, given her performance here, So-dam Park may be the actress who can change that.
Special Delivery has already been released in Korea and several other countries. Signature Entertainment will release it to Digital platforms in the UK on August 22nd. Hopefully the North American rights will be picked up soon, Netflix or Well Go USA would be likely candidates to grab it.