Action/Adventure Films (액션 영화)

Here you will find reviews of Korean action/adventure films (액션 영화). Please click on the picture, and you will be taken to the review.

The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량)

The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량)

The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량) – ★★★☆☆

The Admiral: Roaring Currents is arguably the most financially successful Korean film of all time. Director Kim Han-min’s war-drama featuring revered Admiral Yi Sun-shin is nothing short of a filmic sensation. The film itself however, while a well-made historical actioner and displaying a genuine stylistic evolution by director Kim, suffers from a poor script, weak characterisation and over-zealous nationalism, combining to make The Admiral less of a war epic and more of an entertaining matinee.”

Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon (AKA War of the Arrows) (최종병기 활)

Arrow, Ultimate Weapon(최종병기활)

 Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon (AKA War of the Arrows) (최종병기 활) – ★★★☆☆

Arrow The Ultimate Weapon(최종병기활) is an incredibly enjoyable action/adventure film that rises above most other examples of the genre thanks to the ingenuity of director Kim Han-min, who offers refreshing takes on generic conventions. The cynical reviewer would no doubt call Arrow a ‘commercial’ film, a label that Kim Han-min openly detests, preferring instead ‘popular’ film. The director is correct – it is indeed popular and fun, and is well worth watching.”

The City of Violence (짝패)

The City of Violence (짝패)

The City of Violence (짝패) – ★★★☆☆

The City of Violence (짝패) is an unapologetic homage to classic action films and while there is a certain level of nostalgia and enjoyment to be had, the film suffers from predictable, bland and uninspiring first and second acts. The final act is where the skills of the director and cast shine however, crafting an incredibly entertaining and postmodern finale that finishes on a high note and will have action fans wondering why the entire film doesn’t convey the same passion and finesse.

Duelist (형사)

Duelist (형사)

Duelist (형사) – ★★★★☆

“For cineastes with an appreciation of the aesthetics of cinema, Duelist (형사) is an incredible treat with its sumptuous visualization of the Joseon Dynasty era and the gendered role reversal of the leading protagonists. Rather than produce standardized mainstream fare, director Lee Myeong-se has crafted an elegant alternative of martial arts action, making Duelist one of the most impressive contributions to the genre.”

Fist of Legend (전설의 주먹)

Fists of Legend (전설의 주먹)

Fists of Legend (전설의 주먹) – ★★★☆☆

Fists of Legend, by veteran director Kang Woo-seok, is an odd action film that attempts to combine the themes within RockyWarrior and Korean classic Friend, in depicting a fighting tournament for middle-aged men. Yet with clunky dialogue, awful over-acting and an overly-long running time the film doesn’t achieve anything near the films from which it takes inspiration. Luckily Hwang Jeong-min’s performance is the saving grace of Fists of Legend, and his underdog story gives the film the compulsion it so sorely requires.”

Quick (퀵)

Quick (퀵)

Quick (퀵) – ★★☆☆☆

Quick (퀵) is an enjoyable, albeit mediocre, action comedy. With some entertaining stunt work and fun set-pieces, Quick is a fast paced and – thanks to the lead actors – an attractive viewing experience. However the film is weighed down by excessive narrative tangents and protagonists, and the resulting lack of character development detracts from creating empathy with the leads and portraying the intensity of their situation.”

R2B: Return to Base (R2B: 리턴투베이스)

R2B: Return to Base (R2B: 리턴투베이스)

R2B: Return to Base (AKA Soar Into The Sun) (R2B: 리턴투베이스) – ★★☆☆☆

R2B: Return to Base (R2B: 리턴투베이스) desperately wants to be ‘the Korean Top Gun’, and succeeds in as much as containing some highly thrilling and entertaining aerial sequences that convey the speed and danger of aerial dogfights. Yet such sparse combat scenes cannot hide the vacuous, TV drama-esque narrative and stereotypes that dominate most of the running time, as well as the lack of threat featured by the caricatured North Korean adversaries.”

The Target (표적)

The Target (표적)

The Target (표적) – ★★★☆☆

The Target is a remake of French thriller Point Blank by director Chang, and while he has constructed an entertaining action-thriller it’s one that fades from memory relatively easily. With competent yet uninspired action sequences, and an abundance of quality actors that serve to distract from the central story with their respective narrative arcs, The Target is an enjoyable action romp yet when that misses the mark.”

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