After his success of drama The Crying Fist, director Seung-wan Ryoo followed with this action packed crime drama The City of Violence (Jjakpae).
Four childhood friends meet up for the first time after a long time to attend a funeral of their friend Wang-jae (Kil-Kang Ahn), who has been murdered by a gang of street punks. They all have taken different roads in their lives, Tae-su (Doo-hong Jung) is a detective, Seok-hwan (played by director himself) is an ex-gangster, his brother Dong-hwan (Seok-yong Jeong) is a school teacher and Pil-ho (Beom-su Lee) is a big time mobster. Unsatisfied with official investigation results, Tae-su and Dong-hwan each investigate death of their friend. Soon clues lead them to land development project that both, Pi-ho and deceased Wang-jae had ties to, and now they have to confront their friend.
A really simple plot, that is explained and is quite obvious in early stages of movies, however you should not hold it against this movie, after all it's a great action film with some great martial arts demonstration in fights. Fights themselves are more like brawls, director never presents equal footing for main characters, they are always at disadvantage in numbers, and these numbers are huge.
Interesting camera work and more style than substance. Many are saying that Quentin Tarantino would approve of much that Seung-wan Ryoo is presenting, and I tend to agree, as there are many similarities.
If you like action movie with lot of fighting, driven by classic betrayal, that's not taking itself too seriously, it's right down you alley.
DVD from Amazon.
DVD (Ultimate Edition) from YesAsia.