As far as catching streamable rare titles goes, Tubi TV does catch on to some pretty good picks. One of its most recent quiet acquisitions includes Ha Won-joon’s sophomore directing debut, Fist & Furious; I agree, the title sounds like the name of a B-movie release a la The Asylum. Granted though, it hails the return of actor and action star Jung Doo-hung in a key action lead role for the first time since Ryoo Seung-wan’s The City Of Violence.
Ha directs from his own script, a story that tells of Kang Ki-man (Jung Doo-hung), a beleagured cop on a mission to bust major drug kingpin, Jung Tae-hwa (Jung Eui-gap). Ambushed and wounded, Kang is forced to live the rest of his life with a blade wedged deep into his brain, on top of the burden of his rookie partner’s sacrifice to save his life. Soon, a chance moment of inspiration arises for Kang to finally get his man when a beleagured video journalist named Nam Kuk-yun (Ryu Deok hwan) manages to pester his way into his life seeing as Kang’s survival has the potential to be a major story. Kang’s momentum then leads him to the disappearance of a woman, bringing the two together with the woman’s sister, Choi Seul-ran (Seo Eun-a). With the trio reluctantly together, their investigation takes them to the rural hills and alleyways of Heuksan Island, where Kang’s fateful battle hangs in the balance to save a young woman’s life, as well as the legacy of a colleague.
Save for any woes about the title, the fact that Fist & Furious is led by one of the global cinematic action and stunt industry’s biggest figures in Jung is the film’s major plus. There’s nothing really outstanding about the story – except perhaps for some of the sexual tension between Nam and Choi – or even the villains for that matter. The good news is that writer/director Ha fleshes out what he can to produce a story that can nourish itself and thrive for all ninety minutes, and of course, what works the most the action.
The cinematography and editing takes their cues from the exact formula most Hollywood films have exhibited in the field’s rehabilitated state. Indeed, the lensing is great, just as are the shots to accomodate the choreography, and the editing, much like in Hollywood nowadays, thrives less so on sequences than moments of technique. It’s this exact kind of formula that takes things just a little close to the edge for comfort, but the style and execution are pretty much no different from what you would enjoy in just about any of Jung’s work prior to this.
Fist & Furious is hit-or-miss at times, but it’s a worthwhile piece of action fan service to kill time with, and delightful entertainment for fans of Korean action on film, and of Jung.
See it now on Tubi TV!