When I first set my sights on the opening moments of Dae-min Park’s Special Delivery (특송; 特送; Teuksong), I was blown away by the cinematography, the music, and the electricity in the air that reminded me of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. While there are similarities in having an action-crime film following a speedy young driver accompanied with catchy tunes, this is where the similarities end. Special Delivery is far superior.
Park So-dam stars in this exciting action-thriller as Eun-ha, a junkyard employee who works predominantly as a driver specialising in unusual deliveries. Fast on the wheels, complete with catchy beats to set the scene, it isn’t long before you are hanging on the edge of your seat and holding your breath. This is just a snippet of how thrilling every moment of Special Delivery is, but this is also just the beginning. Things kick into overdrive when a delivery job goes wrong, and Eun-ha finds herself on the run and stuck with her client’s son Hyun-jun Jung’s character Seo-won.
The acting from the cast is fantastic. But even with a small cast, there are standouts. Hyun-jun Jung has a talent that is far beyond his years as young Seo-won, providing one of the strongest performances of the whole film. You really feel for his character Seo-won, having witnessed so many things a child shouldn’t, and yet Seo-won is portrayed wonderfully as a vulnerable, stubborn, and resilient young boy. The chemistry he has with Park So-dam is so convincing, you truly believe their relationship is real because of how natural and genuine their exchanges are.
For the brief moment that Yum Hye-Ran is on screen, I enjoyed her energy as Section Chief Han, first being employed to assist Song Sae-Byeok’s character Jo Kyung-Pil on the case, and then taking her own initiative. It may not be intentional, but sometimes her moments on screen were almost comedic with her frustrations, but in a good way. As was the performance of Song Sae Byeok who played the perfect villain as Jo Kyung-Pil, showcasing the perfect combination of calculative, driven, funny, and completely unhinged.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the talents of Kim Eui-Sung as junkyard boss CEO Baek, a father figure for Eun-ha, as well as Han Hyun-Min as fellow junkyard employee Asif. I loved the on-screen chemistry between the two, with young Hyun-jun Jung, and with Park So-dam. I wish they had more on-screen time together because every moment that they shared was so deep and endearing. I have also been a fan of Han Hyun-Min for his past works, so I was surprised and delighted to see him in this film. His comic timing is so natural, and I hope to see more of him in films in the not-too-distant future.
Special Delivery wouldn’t be as incredible as it is without the phenomenal acting talents of Park So-dam. Unlike many who noticed Park So-dam for the first time in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar award-winning 2019 film Parasite, my first exposure to Park So-dam’s acting talents was actually through the 2016 romantic-comedy TV series ‘Cinderella with Four Knights/Cinderella and the Four Knights’. While Park So-dam has always been insanely talented, it is an honour to have seen just how far she has come.
When Eun-ha’s past is slowly revealed, it is only spoken about, but it is enough for audiences to imagine that the character has gone through hell and back to establish the life she lives now, never losing herself in the process and maintaining the spirit and fight that not only helps her drive so fast but has helped her survive all these years. The moments that Park So-dam shares with Hyun-jun Jung, once again, feel very real. The way both Eun-ha and Seo-won grow together for the duration of film is masterful, and in the end, surprisingly moved me to tears. Park So-dam has quickly become one of my favourite actress over the years, I’m convinced that she can do anything in any genre, and I cannot wait to see what she does next.
Not only is the plot thoroughly well-thought out, extremely clever, and unpredictable, the incredible action sequences, impressive choreography and the well executed fight scenes of Special Delivery are enhanced by the brilliant soundtrack consisting of original compositions in 80s synth style, dance, and possible video game vibes from the talents of Hwang Sang Jun, Park Eun Ji, and Lee Tae Hyun. Honestly, the music on this soundtrack is so genius, it could rival that of Daft Punk’s work on Tron Legacy. It really is that good!
What I love about Special Delivery is that not only does it captivate you with its superb action sequences, hypnotises you with its music, and holds your attention from the beginning until the very end with its gripping story. But the film is excellently paced, successfully humanising its characters while taking you on the most exhilarating ride of your life without every really leaving your cinema seat.
With a talented strong, fast, feisty, female behind the wheel, there’s so much to love about Dae-min Park’s Special Delivery, that I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to experience it on a big screen, and I daresay it is my movie of the year.
Special Delivery had its Australian premiere, and screened in Melbourne as part of the 2022 Korean Film Festival in Australia thanks to Korean Cultural Centre Australia.
The film festival’s Melbourne season is on now at ACMI until Monday the 5th of September.
For more information, the festival program, and ticketing, visit: