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Guest The Running Man

City of Violence (2006)

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Guest The Running Man

There was a bit of hype on this title before it's release in Korea and before it's release on DVD. Surprised that after it came out, no one here was making any noise about it. I guess it just means that they saw it and found nothing really to say about it. :b

But anyway, I'd figure I'd jump start a discussion on this flick. Just a word, this will be more of a post about the action than the actual movie itself.

Overall, it's okay. It's the story of a man (Jung Doo Hung) coming back to his old town (now a cop) and seeing his old friends after one of them has been murdered The film, directed Ryoo Seung Wan (who also is in the film), has a good energy with itself and knows how to move. It was promoted and hyped to be a top notch action movie, and if you are expecting that you will be disappointed. Again, it's pretty good, just not anything I'd really call memorable.

The thing with Korean cinema, when it comes to action, is that I see it as a sort cross between Hollywood and Hong Kong (and I don't mean that in a good way). While Korean cinema seems to be picking up on things from Hong Kong such as wire work and a bit of creative choreography, but when it comes to the filming of these scenes, they seem to have the ignorance of Hollywood. Bad angles and bad editing.

This is interesting especially when it comes to Ryoo Seung Wan, because I remember around the time it came to release this film, I heard about something he was doing like in a college or film school or whatever where he was conducting some sort of class on action film making. He brought some Hollywood films and also some Hong Kong films to discuss. The reason I find this interesting is because when I look at Mr. Ryoo's work as an action director, he doesn't seem to have really learned anything from watching Hong Kong action films.

Anyone who has a good eye for action film making will notice that the best action in Arahan was the fight scene in the cafe where Ryoo Seung Bum fights those bullies. The fight is about more a less a minute and in a movie that's filled, and created to be filled, with lots of epic, mystical battles, it turns out that the best action was a simple fight scene in a cafe. Lesser learned viewers would naively think it's because of the lack of wire work. It has nothing to do with that. The reason it is the best fight scene in the entire movie is because it is the only scene where the angles are the best and the editing is not screwed up. For anyone with the Arahan DVD, check out the deleted scenes. In one of them, it's a deleted camera angle to one of the sections of the final fight. It's an angle that basically stays close to the bad guy (Jung Doo Hung) and circles around him while the other two go at him with their swords. It's mostly all done with one shot and it's really good since you get to see the performance and the choreography of it all. This was totally discarded in the final cut of the movie for a bunch of weak angles and bad editing. Not only does this demonstrate that Ryoo Seung Wan is not a good action director, but it also demonstrates that the fight scene in the cafe was a fluke.

I feel sorry for Jung Doo Hung, who is the go to guy in Korea for action choreography. All of the films I have seen him that he worked on the action for, have all be badly directed and edited. This is too bad because from what I could tell, he is a talented choreography but unfortunately no film I have seen him do best shows that off on screen. As such, the same continues for City of Violence. Although it is better than Arahan which I found to be just weak overall, COV just barely rises above mediocrity. Again, the film does have a good energy to it and there are some bits here and there that are inspired, and some even in the action (for example a scene caught from a bird's eye view angle where Jung and Ryoo and fighting a bunch of opponents, they stop, and then continue again), but it's just ends up being mostly "ho hum".

I heard news that Ryoo Seung Wan declared that with City of Violence he has said everything he wants to say about action cinema. I guess he didn't have that much to say. :\

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Guest jmungus

moderately entertaining imo. fights scenes, hmmm.... not on par with the action in arahan; quite decent for a korean actioner, but sub par in a ma-movie context.

also agree with the above said about choreo and editing in korean flix, generally speaking.

it worked for me in arahan (which i appreciate so much in a way that i find it a solid, well rounded piece of popcorn cinema entertainment, that leaves little room for picking on some bad angles... or a bad acting performance, or ..., simply cuz its good fun all the way. the cafe-fight does stand out tho, thats true.).

'korean editing' worked extremely well for me in shadowless sword; then again it didnt work in sword in the moon (a 2003 period flick i watched last weekend), where the action choreo and fight scene editing happens to be a real letdown.

i`d rank the design of COV`s action scenes s/w between arahan and SITM.

since i have never watched a korean ma-actioner with flawless action choreo- and cinematography devoid of wires and weird editing/short bursts of crappiness throughout otherwise decent action sequences, i`ll assume there are none.

i mean, if i expected a good fight choreo with reasonable angles and editing in bichunmoo, the flick would become unwatchable to me.

approaching it as a whirlwind of extravagant period/fantasy action, then its not a bad movie at all.

suspending disbelief works for leaky, convoluted plots, it can also work for action (to a certain degree only of course).

rounding off my post with a score for COV, i give it 6/10 and recommend it to ppl who like their action flicks based in a realistic, modern environment, who are suckers for a bit of the typical korean melodramatic vibe, but who like the mood and flow of their flicks lighter than ie "SPL", "bittersweet life" or "dog bite dog". people who got a kick out of s/t like "attack the gas station" but wished there was some choreographed ma asskicking in it.

ppl who dislike basher-type streetfighting youngsters messing with triad mobsters stay away from COV.

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Guest D1 Ma

There's nothing to discuss, really. I totally agree with The Running Man. The plot is weak and has been done to death, bad acting and overacting, un-envolving characters and average action. I don't know about the angles, but I didn't like the editing and pacing. As for choreography, it was mostly taken from many other films,( like that "hair grab", which was stolen from Blonde Fury)...Not the worst movie ever made, but just average in any sense. Far less entertaining than Arahan

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Guest Chinatown Kid

What is the style of fight choreography in this film? Does it feature flashy style Taekwondo kicks and other martial art style techniques or is it more of a brawling type choreography like maybe Oldboy?

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Guest Daisho2004

I don't remember seeing a review of this movie but it looks really good, and lately most of the best fighting movies have been released by Korean film makers.

Here is a preview from Dragon Dynasty: dragondynasty.com/

Synopsis:

Returning home for his old pal Wang-jae's (Kil-Kang Ahn) funeral, police Detective Tae-su (Doo-hong Jung) reunites with former friends Pil-ho (Beom-su Lee), Dong-hwan (Seok-yong Jeong) and Seok-hwan (Seung-wan Ryoo). But when Tae-su begins to suspect there's something fishy about the death, he launches an informal investigation. He soon finds himself pitted against Pil-ho, whose shady business dealings may have played a role in Wang-jae's demise.

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Guest The Amazing Psychoper

I saw this one at Fantasia in Montreal this summer. I have read a lot of bad critics on this movie but I thought it was really good. It's by far the best martial arts movie to come out of Korea in recent years if not ever.

I can't really put my finger on what really prevent it from being really great, but something was missing... I don't know if it's the overall acting or the directing, but the first hour or so suffers a bit from a lack of spark. Maybe Tod Brown from Twitchfilm.net as the better explaination when he says there seems to be a lack of chemestry between the characters who are suppose to be buddies, and that the script could have afforded to tightened a little bit.

But as far as the fighting goes it's great. Usually I find martial arts sequences in Korean movies are badly shot

with to many close up, making it hard to figure out what is happening. City of violence is an improvement in that department, not perfect but a big improvement.

Of course what makes this one a winner is the final last man standing showdown :eek . I won't spoil it but believe me it's worth the hype and the admission ticket and puts Kill Bill's tea house brawl to shame...

lately most of the best fighting movies have been released by Korean film makers.

What movies are you refering to? I've seen a couple and in the fighting department they were all bad...

The Amazing Psycho Per :evil

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Guest GwaiLoMoFo

I really liked this one, and will be picking up the DD disc this weekend for sure. The action is good and the story is above average for this type of film (imo). There was a TON of hype for this movie prior to its release, which is why I believe it received luke warm reviews. But I dug it! And yes the climax of this one is a ripper.

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Guest Daisho2004

The Amazing Psychoper,

To answer your question, here is a couple that I liked:

Musa aka: The Warrior (2001)

Fighter in the Wind

Arahan

Sword in the Moon

There are a few more I'll try to add a new topic with some of them on it.

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Guest saberdjedi

The movie itself is decent at best, but it's the fights that make this film.

Jung Doo-hong needs to get a lot more recognition, because he's easily one of the best choreographer and star around these days.

The fights in CoV are shot close up and use lots of fast editing, but don't let that deter you. You can see everything that you need to still, and the fights have amazing intensity. Jung Doo-hong will really impress you with his kicking skills, but director Ryu Seung-wan also does quite good as well. If you liked SPL and Flashpoint, then you should probably like the fights in CoV. The only problem is that there isn't enough fighting in the movie (most of it's at the end of the film).

If you want to see other good Korean martial arts films I highly suggest Ryu Seung-wan's previous films, Arahan, Crying Fist and No Blood, No Tears. Fighter in the Wind is also good too, and also features Jung Doo Hong in a small role as well.

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Guest Yi Long

I watched the movie last month orso. It was an enjoyable but forgettable flick.

To me, the fightscenes didnt do much. I didnt care much for it. It was better then what I've seen in other Korean movies (which admittedly isnt much), but it's nowhere near as good as HK choreography, or as good as Tony Jaa's stuff.

It's 2 guys taking on lots of guys, wild wide-open punches and kicks, jumping and swinging...

Dont expect long combinations or exchanges.

I'd rate it a 3 outta 5. Story and acting was all just ok-ish. Fighting was nice, but never outstanding.

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Guest The Amazing Psychoper

I guess it's all a matter of taste because Sword in the moon and Fighter in the wind were two of the movies I had in mind talking about bad fighting korean movies... Not that that the movies themselves are that bad, it's just the way the fights are filmed that sucks... Wich tends to be a trend in korean movies (and american).

The Amazing Psycho Per :evil

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Guest Daisho2004

OK I finally got a chance to watch this movie and it was a good movie, not great but it was enjoyable the fight scenes were the best part of the movie. It did have a good storyline, so I would recommend watching this movie. I also would give it (3 out of 5 stars).

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Guest skulldugrey

I saw this about a year ago, mistakingly paying about 30 bucks for the Korean dvd hoping for a good film. unfortunately, I was dissapointed. it's very true that the movie lacks a spark, indeed it's quite boring. and the fights are also edited pretty fast. for some reason, I believe yesasia.com listed it as having a CAT III rating in Hong Kong, but I could never figure out why. except for one brief scene, it wasn't very violent, and as far as I remember there wasn't anything else that could warrant such a rating, so maybe that was a misprint.

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Guest oldeschool17

this film was mediocre. Some beautiful shots, lots of non-stop action, but virtually no character depth/development. This movie didnt really provoke any emotion for the viewer or create a connection to the characters. Its worth a rental though

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Guest FIST OF DEATH

I agree. This film was not really very interesting or even entertaining. I bought it and watch and will probably end up selling my copy someday. It's really nothing I can see watching over and over again.

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Guest Aeksis8742

I actually thought this movie was very well done. Although it didn't live up to all the hype surrounding it, it was still a good all around MA flick. The last scene where they are walking through the doors with the western music playing was especially good. My only real gripe with it is that could've spent a little more time on the end fight with the four fighters.

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I had a great time with this one, but not nearly as much as some of my friends. While not a great ganster film, some of those fights were pretty damn wild. Sure, we've seen more brutal, or more acrobatic, but for me it was the perfect blend of both.

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