04 January, 2012

City of Violence (Korean)

I always end up with this fuzzy feeling when I am about to watch a new Korean film. Lately, I have been furiously searching for new material and there seems to be a lot available. So far I have been lucky enough to have liked all (yes all) the Korean films that I have seen. City of Violence came very close to being the worst yet, but manages to rise like the phoenix towards the end.

When one of his friends is murdered, city cop Tae-su (Doo-hong Jung), travels back his to home town to pay respect and decides to stay on and find out who killed his friend. The story of five friends that moves between the past and present, is on one end a gangster flick, but simultaneously is more about friendship and honor and to an extent about revenge.

As Tae-su goes about finding the truth, he is accompanied by Seok-hwan and they initially have a pretty awesome showdown where they fight gangs of street dancers, BMX riders, baseball players, school uniform dressed girls, and a few others.

The film does get extremely slow in-between with too much emotional baggage. On hindsight, it might have been important to break the violent streak of the film in the beginning and one that is about to come.

City of Violence really makes an impact in the last 30-40 minutes. Finally figuring out the reason and person behind the death of their friend, the last half hour is full of great fight sequences and some heavy drama. I especially loved the way the film ends (sorry can't say much as it would spoil the movie).

City of Violence has a very basic story that is portrayed rather well with some great performances and fight sequences. The last few minutes remain its strong point and bring about the entire film together with its bleak yet courageous end.

A 4 out of 5 Star Rating          


  1. I've only seen one korean film yet, last year's remake of Hanyeo (The Housemaid). I loved the trailer, and the film was visually mindblowing as I had expected... it was quite exotic, though, especially the sex scenes.
    However, I was intrigued enough to want to watch more korean films in the future.

  2. I have not seen this but have seen a similar review at a friends site. Sounds like I am going to have to get a copy!!

    thanks Raghav

  3. Mette - I strongly urge you to view more Korean films. I've sort of dicovered them over the last year and have been blown away with how realistic they are. Like you said, be it blood, sex, or even acting... it's very much realistic cinema.

    Scott - I think Nostra is the one. I watched it after reading his review. But yeah, it's a tad awkward in the middle, but the end really makes up for everything for me.