Publicity Stills of "Running Wild"
(Courtesy from Festive Films)

In Korean with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Park Jin-pyo
Starring: Kwon Sang-woo ("Love So Divine", Drama "Stairway to Heaven") & Yoo Ji-tae ("Oldboy")
RunTime: 2 hrs 4 mins
Released By: GV & Festive Films
Rating: NC16
Official Website: www.festivefilms.com/runningwild

Opening Day: 6 April 2006


A stylish film noir, a roller-coaster of action and emotion, "Running Wild" stars Korean heartthrob of "Stairway To Heaven", Kwon Sang-woo in a new challenging role, and acclaimed actor Yoo Ji-tae of "Oldboy". Synopsis: Jang Do-Young (Kwon Sang-woo) is a hot-blooded homicide detective who has lost faith in the law. Oh Jin-woo (Yoo Ji-tae) is a top prosecutor. Learning that they are after the same target, they decide to team up. As they get deeper into the investigation, a huge conspiracy awaits them, in which Yoo Kang-jin (Son Byung-ho), boss of the Kuryong Family is involved

Movie Review:

Ah, the power of Korean men. When a movie starring these sturdy stars reaches our shores, it never fails to make our female audiences go weak in their knees. Call it the art of spoiling local women, there seems to be a whole slew of movies from the Country of Kimchi lately, including the recent Typhoon starring Jang Dong-Gun, as well as the upcoming Daisy starring Jung Woo-Sung.

Good news for male audiences out there though – this crime thriller starring Kwon Sang-Woo will please the girls, as well as the guys.

Kwon (of TV series Stairways to Heaven fame) sheds his clean-boy image to play an angry and bitter homicide police officer who has lost confidence in the law system. It does not help that his half-brother gets killed by some mean-looking thugs, and he cannot do anything about it.

The movie also stars Yoo Ji-Tae, who was brilliant in Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy (2003) and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). Yoo plays a prosecution officer who appears to be calm and collected even at the most chaotic moments. These two very different men have to team up to nail down a ruthless mafia boss. Of course, things will not as simple as they seem because a complicated scheme involving betrayals and murders await them.

The plot may not be anything refreshing to the experienced movie-goer, but thanks to the top notch execution, this 124-minute crime flick will keep you at the edge of your seat. The adrenaline-filled action sequences are well-paced and will keep your eyes glued to the screen from start to finish. Evenly distributed throughout the movie, these car chase and gun fight scenes are innovatively edited with the use of innovative camera zooms and split screens.

Then there are the actors. Kwon plays his character with so much angst and intensity; you’d actually wonder whether the world is really such a bitter place. Providing a nice contrast is Yoo, who portrays the character of a quiet and thinking man with ease. When these two men are put together, there is perfect chemistry, and the sparks that fly are a joy to watch.

What is a typical Korean movie without the melodrama? This one provides loads of it, from the long-suffering girlfriend, the sick mother, the brotherhood between the two men, to the thirst of revenge. Each of these issues is tackled with the usual Korean style, which actually works if you are out to feel for the characters’ pain, anguish and rage.

Other than the somewhat unsatisfying melodramatic conclusion of the movie, there are a few scenes and lines which are affectively treated. Look out for the courtroom scene when Yoo’s character questions the law system. Also, another scene which will have more sentimental viewers whipping out their hankies is one where Yoo’s character gives Kwon’s character a Zippo lighter as a present. The relationship between the two men is truly moving without being cringing.

Sure, this is another typical Korean genre movie which will please the masses, but isn’t that what going to the movie is all about? What more can you ask for?

This movie is a complete package - giving you the adrenaline rush, the moving storyline, the high production values, and the good-looking Korean hunks to ogle at. Wait, that last part is only meant for the girls.

Movie Rating:

(Other than its cool cast, the movie also boasts of exciting action sequences and a decent storyline - a good popcorn drama-thriller for everyone)

Review by John Li









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