City of Violence is a fun film. A detective returns to his home town for his friend’s funeral but ends up investigating the events behind his actual death while getting involved in some good kung fu fights. Thats it. Before I get into the meat and potatoes of what I liked and didn’t like about the film, check out the youtube video. I really enjoyed the action sequences where one or two good guys battle it out with swarms of bad guys. In a way it reminded me of Kill Bill.
Where City of Violence stands out as an actioner is in its fierce intelligence and awareness of itself as an action film. This is probably what makes the film so fun to watch. It takes a break from breaking faces every now and then and delivers some fine pieces of dramatic cinema that even has some humor in it at times. It’s a slick movie that has a great feel to it with some cool characters and a story that is interesting as well as it’s intense. However, and I am beginning to see a pattern with these types of films, I had a big problem with the script. Strange logic gaps and incomprehensible actions of the characters are everywhere in this movie.
City of Violence may not be wholly original, but it is proof that a film doesn’t need to be one to deliver an intense and entertaining experience. Unlike the Rush Hour films, the chemistry between the two main actors lacks the necessary buddy factor, which normally make these kind of movies work so well. But, I really expected a very simple point a to point b story. But there’s actually some depth to the character with a nice little narrative that invests you a little more in the story. With a soundtrack which jumps between jazz and 70s funk, City of Violence is a ballet of gymnastic violence.
Plain and simple, you see a lot of the throbbing heart of wonderful Korean filmmaking running rampant within this film. Off the bat, any action movie that bears a title like The City of Violence raises the bar in terms of expectation. As the film unfolds, the title turns out to be wholly appropriate. If you watch this film, ignore my minor gripes because having fun with this film is what it’s all about, and honestly…City of Violence is so swift and relentless that one only notices its flaws on later reflection. Track this film down and you’ll have a good time.