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A while back, I was going through the DVD bin at my local video store, to see if I could find a gem, in the pit of videos labelled $9.99. There in the middle, was "City of Violence" and it was the only copy. I've seen the title around, and I've been meaning to obtain it. But, I could never seem to find it for under $30.00. So, how could I not purchase this.
A hardcore, martial arts movie from Korea. How cool is that? It was also the winner of many awards (Public Prize, Bronze Fantasia, Best Asian Film, Fantasia 2007) and was recognised to be put on the "Dragon Dynasty" catalogue.
Boy, was I disappointed. In retrospect... Yeah, I kind of regret it, and I wish I had my $10.00 back. I should have rented it first. I hate it, when they show you ALL of the action in the trailer. Actually, I think there was more in the trailer, than in the movie.
Tae-su is a detective, who returns back to his hometown to attend his high school friend - Wang-jae's funeral. At the funeral, he is also reunited with the remaining members, Seok-hwan, and Pil-ho. It's the first time they've met in 20 years. They catch up with each other, and reminisce about the good old days. However, Tae-su & Soek-khan decide to investigate more into the case, and discover who was behind it. Turning the rest of the plot into a dynamic duo, investigation of sorts.
The acting was forgettable. Nothing corny, but nothing too outstanding either. I respect the filming techniques. There were some cool wipes, and a few neat angle set ups. Like the overhead view from the alley fight. Which lasted 20 seconds (no kidding). It had nice colour pallets - especially in the flashbacks clips when you see their younger selves. I find it difficult to find positive remarks. There wasn't really anything memorable, about this movie.
It's difficult to praise this film. It's humdrum, all across the board. In addition, for the lack of action, it teeters the scale, more towards disliking it. Too be fair, there wasn't anything that stood out.
The first action scene, which is gratefully welcomed - comes out of no where. When I think about it, it's just him walking down the street, then all of these gangs, from the Asian version of "The Warriors" just randomly want to beat this guy up?
The plot is pretty straightforward. But I was confused some of the time. I wasn't sure if it was the script, or perhaps the cultural differences. But, in many scenes, it didn't come across clearly what was happening story wise. I hate to give this the rating that I'm going to mark it, because it was evident that they put a valiant effort. It just wasn't that gratifying. But, I have seen worse.
In summary, with a title like "City of Violence" and a promising movie trailer, I wanted to see a lot of action. The problem is, there was very little, almost nothing in fact. So with that being said, I have to give it a low rating.